Labour Minimum Wage Campaigner Pays Half Minimum Wage

Labour MP Alex Cunningham takes a special interest in youth issues and even has his own Youth Manifesto in which he vows to “support a change in legislation to eradicate the age banding for the minimum wage”. Cunningham tell us: “It is wrong for two people of different ages, who sit alongside each other doing the same job, to receive different wages.”

As Guido reported in yesterday’s Sun column, it was therefore bit of a surprise to see him advertising for office help to work a 37-hour week at £3.37 an hour, half the minimum wage rate. He gets away with paying £125 a week because the job is described as an apprenticeship. What was that about paying younger people less being wrong?

Warsi Wars: Questions for ‘Senior’ Minister of State and Chum
“It’s a Tale of Dodgy and Dodgier”

Once again there is a growing list of questions for Sayeeda Warsi over one of her friends. The bitter former Tory Chairman has been keeping schtum after eyebrows were raised when her ally got a lucrative contract from Department of Local Governement that was not publicly put out to tender. The Curzon Institute’s sole director is Afzal Amin and was awarded £120,000 last year, despite him being the Tory candidate in Dudley. It was covered by Warsi’s patch as Minister for Faith and Communities.

As Guido revealed in the Sun yesterday, mysteriously, no minutes were kept of three meetings Amin attended at the DCLG before the contract was awarded last summer so we have no idea how or why the decision was made to award his company the cash.

“It’s a tale of dodgy and dodgier,” whispers one Tory source, weary of yet another scandal involving the bungling Baroness, “but no doubt this one will be scrubbed from her upcoming diaries.” Amin has since endeared himself to the party leadership by accusing the Tories of not doing enough for ethnic minorities, in a very public attack that insiders say has Warsi’s fingerprints all over it.

All of this leaves Guido wondering:

  • What were the criteria for awarding the Curzon Institute the contract?
  • What experience did the company have providing government services?
  • How many times did Warsi meet Mr Amin privately before meetings at DCLG?
  • How many staff does the Curzon Institute employ to implement this government contract, and who are they?
  • By how much is Tory candidate Mr Amin renumerated Curzon Institute?

If anyone can find the ‘Senior’ Minister of State, perhaps they might like to have a word…

Guy News Special: Quango Street

Meet White Suzi, “Red” Linda, 63 year old Chris and pensioner Tom, the residents of Quango Street. 200 have been evicted. 700 remain. Costing the taxpayer £80 billion a year. Tune into Quango Street. Every day, on Guido Fawkes.

Labour MP Claims Thousands for Spinner on Expenses

Andy Burnham’s gaffe prone PPS Debbie Abrahams has a public profile of little note, readers will probably only remember her for the time she repeated loony ‘Dr’ Eoin Clarke’s fibs in the House and was forced to apologise for accusing Cameron of “genocide“. She barely got through last night’s painful Newsnight discussion on benefit sanctions either. You might say she could do with a comms guru to sort out her image.

Guido can reveal that Abrahams charges the taxpayer £2,099 on expenses for the “communications and media” services of “creative media and PR” consultant John Ramsden. Who, judging by the photos on his website, is clearly the real deal. Away from juggling lightbulbs, Ramsden boasts on his site that “I managed to get Debbie Abrahams on to the BBC Today programme yesterday”. So remember the next time you hear Debbie on the radio that you’re paying for the spinner who got her the gig…

Maria Miller Makes Six Figure Profit on Second Home
Claimed Double the Amount David Laws Did for Mortgage 

Maria Miller is set to be condemned by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for claiming £90,000 in expenses for the mortgage payments of a second home lived in by her parents. This was an open shut case as IPSA rules require second homes to be used exclusively by MPs. Claiming for a property lived in by an MP’s parents is “specifically prohibited”. 

miller2

Back in 2012 Guido revealed that Miller has two properties in her name: a cottage in her Basingstoke constituency, and the property pictured above in Wimbledon. The Wimbledon property was purchased by Miller and her husband in 1996 for £234,000. A quick browse of the Zoopla property website values similar houses on the same street at between £400,000 and £1,000,000. If Miller was to sell the property, for which she has charged the taxpayer for the mortgage payments, she would make a profit well into six figures.

Miller’s defence is that her parents moved to the home to help her look after her children. It is worth considering that David Laws was kicked out of Cabinet for claiming less than half the money Miller has, and was found, incorrectly in Guido’s view, to have not benefited personally by a Standards and Privileges Committee investigation. Miller’s case is arguably more serious. Cabinet ministers have gone for far less, but will being one of only four women save her?

Another LibDem Donor Nicked

Scoop from the FT this morning: arms dealer and LibDem donor Sudhir Choudhrie has been arrested by cops from the Serious Fraud Office over allegations he was involved in alleged bribery by Rolls-Royce in the Far East. Along with bent trader Michael Brown that makes two of the LibDems’ largest donors implicated in major financial scandals. LibDem sex scandals were becoming ten a penny so nice to see them returning to old fashioned funny money. Don’t bet on them giving any of it back…

Leaked Tory Memo Tells MPs to Dodge Minimum Wage Laws
MPs Told “Don’t Mention Work” in Adverts to Bend Rules

Click to enlarge.

A leaked internal Tory memo advises MPs on how to get away with exploiting their unpaid interns without breaking the very same minimum wage laws those MPs insist other employers adhere to. Unpaid intern campaign website Graduate Fog has got hold of the memo which urges MPs to seek out loopholes in their own legislation:

Swap the phrase “You will be expected to…” for “The kind of activities it would be great to get some help with include…”

– Don’t mention ”work”, “worker”, “tasks” or “hours” – but instead ask applicants to offer their “help” with “campaigning administration”

– Instead, use the words “volunteer” and “volunteering”

– Take care only to reimburse expenses for actual bought items, as opposed to a flat rate per week. This is because “regular payments of expenses are likely to give the volunteer the right to the minimum wage” and create a “risk” that they will be “classed as a worker” and therefore must be paid.

So the Tories tell employers that they must pay employees doing work the minimum wage, yet advise their own MPs on how to dodge the rules. Which has to win the hypocrisy of the day award…

Gordon Funds Jet-Set Lifestyle With £10,000-a-Week ‘Expenses’
Brown Office Gives Just 1 in 4 Pounds Raised to Charity

UPDATE 21 March 2014:  The above video was removed from the BBC iPlayer archive at Gordon Brown’s insistence. This is a copy hosted on our own offshore server rather than any third party provider.

———————-

Since 2010 Gordon Brown has submitted more Press Complaints Commission complaints than he has delivered speeches in the House, meaning you won’t read about the financial affairs of the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown in the papers. So Guido was pleased to have the opportunity to share the story with a wider audience on the Daily Politics this lunchtime.

  • Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown has £10,000-a-week expenses
  • Not a registered charity, two thirds of funds raised spent on expenses
  • Less than  £1 million given to charity out of over £3 million raised
  • Vanity project lets  Gordon and Sarah enjoy jet-set premier life-style of first class flights and five star hotels

Brillo asked the pertinent question of Gordon: “Mentally, is he out of it?”

See also: EXC: Gordon Brown Office Has £10,000-a-Week “Expenses”, Raises Over £3 Million, Gives Less Than £1 Million to Charity

Gordon in Commons, But Not for Constituents

The last piece of business in the House before half term tomorrow will be an Adjournment Debate by the member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. Dropping in for a rare ten minute speech, you might have thought the former Prime Mentalist […]

+ READ MORE +

White Dee Might Vote UKIP
Party’s “Protect Your Benefits” Message Getting Through?

Deirdre Kelly, AKA White Dee from Benefits Street, has written this week’s Diary for the Spectator:

“Last time, I voted Liberal Democrat. And why? Because we’ve been Labour-governed for quite a while in Birmingham. Nothing was being done,

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Staff Cuts are Not the Problem at the Environment Agency
Whistleblower: “Management Just Want to Expand Kingdom”

With slithering Chris Smith fighting for his job, the gloves are off and the cuts are being blamed for the fact that the Environment Agency is an over-staffed, badly managed graveyard for Labour figures of little note. 10% of the […]

+ READ MORE +

How Charities Spend Taxpayer Millions on Political Lobbying

The Institute of Economic Affairs has done the leg work to expose how charities spend millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on political campaigns and lobbying. As Guido mentioned earlier in the week, several leading charities are now run by […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Boris tells the Sun:

“I think it’s a measure of his desperation, isn’t it, that yesterday we had one of the most absurd political spectacles that this country has ever seen. Not since the Tsar and Tsarina prostrated themselves and asked for economic guidance from Grigori Rasputin, has there been such a ridiculous political pilgrimages as the mission of Ed Miliband – the heir of Keir Hardie for heavens sake – to seek economic guidance from Russell Brand.”

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