Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mr and Mrs Bone’s £100,000 Taxpayer Bonanza

Peter Bone manages to shoehorn his wife “Mrs Bone” into almost every speech or question in the House. “Mrs Bone” has almost become a PMQs institution. What you might not know is you are paying for that dubious pleasure. New IPSA data reveals that Mrs Bone was paid between £45,000 and £49,999 last year. Meaning that between them the Bones are pocketing more than £100,000 from the taxpayer. Not so funny now, is it?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Rory Stewart’s Latest Trek

Despite advising the Prime Minister on international affairs, Tory MP Rory Stewart missed the crucial Commons vote over bombing Syria. His sheepish explanation is that he was at his sister’s wedding. As Guido revealed in the Sun yesterday, Rory almost made it back though he got stuck in traffic in Chiswick on the outskirts of London. Given he took a taxi from the West Country at a cost of £360 it was an expensive cock-up. Cameron sacked Jesse Norman for missing the vote so this might cost him yet. He certainly can’t justify making an expense claim if he didn’t vote. Guido understands he only missed the train by three minutes…

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Where Does “Most of the Money” for Labour Come From?

Yesterday the Labour press team were very insistent that Guido got his a story wrong when he claimed that Rachel Reeves was being less than honest when she said: “most of the money that the Labour Party receives comes from small donations and members”. When Guido pointed them to the last quarter’s donation figures, they split hairs:

They have subsequently refused to give any breakdown of the percentage of their income that comes from  donations and membership contributions, so Guido has crunched the numbers from their 2012 accounts. Last year Labour’s income was £33,024,000. That includes £8.8 million from the Trade Unions and £7.2 million from the taxpayer through opposition Short Money. When you add to that company donations above £7,000, plus the income from LLPs, trusts and Friendly Societies you get £17,023,243.79. This leaves, at most, £16,000,756.21 to come from individual donations, CLP contributions and membership fees – 48% of Labour’s income. This is likely a generous figure as it includes smaller donations from companies below the threshold for Electoral Commission registration.

As a self-proclaimed economist, Reeves will know 48% does not equal “most of the money that the Labour Party receives.”

UPDATE: Labour General Secretary has admitted “28% of party income is from membership subscriptions and small donations, 30% from commercial and fund-raising activities, 18% from grants and 23% from affiliated unions” according to Minutes of an NEC meeting.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bercow Rents Out London Home Thanks to Taxpayer

One of the many perks of grace and favour pads is the additional chance to trough that they give those in high office through rental income. Despite being a record expense claimer in his days on the backbenches, John Bercow promised to clean up the system when he was appointed Speaker. Four years later Guido can reveal that he has cheekily rented out his London home, earning cash purely from the fact that the taxpayer houses him in Parliament. Is John all in it together?

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Loony Express

Hats off to the People’s Assembly for their money making wheeze. Organising a protest at Tory conference the left-field rainbow group of moaners and communists are selling train tickets from London Euston to Manchester on the opening Sunday of conference for £43.70. Which is odd given that Guido just went online and found a ticket for the same morning and return that evening for £32.50.

Canny little earner, that.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tories: Jean Edwards’ Cash Will Go to Debt Reduction

The Tories have announced that the £520,000 donation from Jean Edwards “will be used to reduce the national debt.”

Given that we owe more than £1,390,000,000,000 and rising, Tory MP Douglas Carswell points out:

“We’d need over 200,000 bequests like Ms Edwards’ this year just to stop national debt from continuing to rise.”

What a mess.

Estate-Gate: Clegg and Cameron Backtrack

And so the War of Joan’s Donation was all over before elevensies. First the LibDems and then very swiftly the Tories declared they would be paying the money to the Treasury. The Tories are blaming the executors of the will for telling them it was a party donation, but someone should have spotted this giant comm-tastrophe on the horizon and done some further due diligence. Questions still remain about how this decision was really reached. Congratulations to Clegg for sensing the backlash marginally quicker than his coalition partners, not that it stopped the cash-strapped LibDems from snatching up the money straight away. They need it…

So now Nick Clegg has set a precedent for paying back inappropriate money received, perhaps he would now like to  give back the money from dodgy fraudster Michael Brown? And maybe the Tories could pay the money Asil Nadir donated to the Department for Justice to cover his legal aid bills? Well played to the Mail, not least for getting Polly Toynbee to sing their praises this morning.

Estate-Gate: Joan’s Will

Where is the word party?

Via the Guardian.

Joan’s Estate-Gate

The Mail have tracked down the will of Joan Edwards, Q2’s second largest donor and things have got a little murky for the Tories and the LibDems. Where it was briefed yesterday that the 90 year old deceased nurse had left the money to the party of government, the will actually states she wanted to leave her entire estate to: ‘whichever Government is in office at the date of my death for the Government in their absolute discretion to use as they may think fit’. That is not the same as giving to parties even if a friend of the late Ms Edwards says she made the money trough shares and was a Tory…

It is very hard to give money not owed to the government though. A row between the Treasury lawyers and Dominic Grieve the Tory Attorney General has broken out with the learned beancounters claiming Grieve said it should be party political donations. Grieve says the opposite and the parties are playing dumb. Guido is sceptical that they let half a million wander into their accounts without picking up a phone though. If they did not then that is a very worrying state of affairs. So if they did ask questions it stinks and if they did not it stinks. So which is it?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Q2 Party Funding Figures – Everything You Need To Know

The party funding figures are out for Quarter 2 of the year. The Tories are out front with £4,116,006 while Labour’s £3,136,447 is almost entirely from the unions. The LibDems have struggled to even raise a million with £801,448, while UKIP’s £160,289 was double what they raised in Q1.

The biggest donors were:

Unite the Union £772,195 to Labour
Ms Joan L B Edwards £420,576 to Tories
Ms Joan L B Edwards £99,423 to LibDems
GMB £485,830 to Labour
UNISON £458,080 to Labour
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers £411,147 to Labour
Mr Michael S Farmer £280,770 to Tories
Mr James R Lupton £263,600 To Tories
National Conservative Draws Society £165,000 to Tories
CWU £143,121 to Labour
Offshore Group Newcastle Limited £117,300 to Tories

Clearly whoever Joan L B Edwards is, she really really likes the coalition. Labour got another £2,241,419 in short money, yet despite this have gone cap in hand to the bank again:

Let’s hope the Co-op bank will be able to keep up their support. Labour still have more than £12 million in outstanding loans, while the Tories owe £2m. Ker-ching.

UPDATE: According to City AM Ms Joan Edwards left half a million “to whoever was the party in government of the day”. This was then divided down the MP/Ministerial split of the coalition.


Seen Elsewhere

David Cameron’s Draft Resignation Letter | Speccie
Labour HQ to Be Demolished | Asa Bennett
Dirty Politics is a Good Thing | Harry Cole
Media Fear and Loathing in Scotland, Labour Next | Owen Jones
UK Top 10 Influencer Political Blogs | Cision
Redwood Exposes Constitutional Vandalism | Nick Wood
No Campaign Has Been Inept | Mail
PM Faces Friday Bloodbath | Mail
Will Miliband Bottle English Devolution? | Mary Riddell
Why Pollsters Could Be Wrong | John McDermott
Cameron Faces Vote of No Confidence or Rebellion | FT


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