Osborne’s Chopper Donor Benefits From Planning Reforms

Who paid for Osborne’s helicopter so he could fly around the country to schmooze the Tory grassroots? Anthony Gallagher is a property developer worth £500 million who is in the Leader’s Group of major Conservative donors. A member of the Chipping Norton set, Gallagher’s generosity earned him dinner with David Cameron at Chequers in 2014. His firm, Countywide Developments, stumped up the £8,000 for the Chancellor’s chopper. 

Gallagher makes his money by buying up vast land banks and then developing them into houses or retail parks. So he has directly benefited from Osborne’s “we are the builders” development drive. Not to mention the liberalisation of planning laws to make property development easier. Gallagher’s companies own 35,000 house-building plots throughout the UK, so an £8,000 chopper is a good investment to keep the housing-bubble inflating Chancellor sweet. Paging John McDonnell

What the Heli? Osborne Cops Copter Flak

George Osborne has bemused Tory MPs and amused leadership rivals by travelling to schmooze local Conservative associations… by helicopter. Osborne flew to Clearwell Castle in Gloustershire in November so he could deliver a speech to 138 guests at the Forest of Dean Conservative Association, over a dinner of duck confit, roast beef and cheesecake. Despite these fundraisers usually only raising a few grand, the cost of the helicopter ride came in at a staggering £8,000. It was paid for by Countywide Developments, a private donor.

Tory MPs suspect Osborne, or rather his financial backers, stumped up the exorbitant fee to help the Chancellor woo the grassroots on the so-called “rubber chicken circuit”. The idea of him choppering around the country to speak to associations has also gone down badly with the associations themselves, who would rather the donor just gave them the cash. Nothing says “I’m in touch and ready to lead the country” like flying to dinner in a helicopter…

Thornberry Declared Another Leigh Day Donation-in-Kind Last Week

EMILY

Emily Thornberry is unapologetic for accepting a £14,500 benefit-in-kind from the ambulance chasing law firm Leigh Day. Last Monday, the shameless Shadow Defence Secretary registered a second donation-in-kind from the firm which targets British soldiers, this time worth £4,800.

In 2012, the then Shadow Attorney General accepted a third donation-in-kind worth £19,125. That’s a total of £38,425 worth of donations from Leigh Day to Thornberry in the last four years.

Thornberry was grilled on the donations on the Sunday Politics, carefully explaining to Brillo that “there is no money to return”. She went on to tell how the disgraced firm, which is facing a disciplinary inquiry and the prospect of its lawyers being struck off, helped Labour be an “effective opposition”.

A lawyer’s answer from the former human rights barrister…

“Sh***ing All Over the Working Class” Labour MP Charged Taxpayer For Whirlpool Bath

Corbynista MP Dawn Butler indulged us with the “new, kinder politics” at PMQs:

Dawn would know all about “sh***ing all over the working class”.

Back in 2009, she was exposed in the expenses scandal for over-claiming £2,600 in rent for her constituency home.

She claimed claimed twice for the rent, deposit and charges relating to her second home.

Shamed Butler charged the taxpayer a whirlpool bath in a suite that cost £2,308.

She also claimed the full £23,000 second home allowance, despite her first home in Stratford being the same distance from Parliament.

Go on, Dawn, tell us more about “sh***ing all over the working class…”

God Bless the Girl: Mrs Miliband Main Breadwinner

Congratulations to Justine Thornton, aka Mrs Miliband, who has been appointed Queen’s Counsel. The rank will be bestowed by Lord Chancellor Michael Gove at a ceremony next month. The new gig means that, if she wasn’t already, Justine will certainly now be the main breadwinner in the Miliband household. The average QC earns in excess of £250,000-a-year, and the best take home over a million. Good news for Ed, whose £130,000 salary as Labour leader dropped to a relatively modest £67,000 when he quit in May. As the woman most responsible for the family finances, you won’t hear Justine whinging about a “millionaires’ tax cut”…

UPDATE: Marina Wheeler, Mrs Mayor of London, also makes silk. She is however still some way behind Boris’ reported £600,000 earnings from City Hall, Westminster, the Telegraph and his publishers…

Thornberry Paid Thousands By Firm Behind Claims Against Our Boys

EMILY

The new Shadow Defence Secretary is going to have difficulty explaining why she accepted thousands of pounds in donations from a law firm which was condemned over false legal claims made against British soldiers. In December 2014, Thornberry took a £14,500 donation-in-kind from Leigh Day & Co. The firm was blasted by the inquiry into allegations of torture against UK troops, which found the claims were “wholly and entirely without merit” and based on “deliberate and calculated lies”. Last night it emerged Leigh Day is now facing a disciplinary inquiry and the prospect of its lawyers being struck off. How will it go down with soldiers to know that the Shadow Defence Secretary took donations from the law firm behind false claims against our boys… 

The top-brass at the Ministry of Defence will not be impressed either with the CND supporter who voted against Trident in 2007. Which should encourage the Tories in 2020 to re-issue this nostalgic campaign poster:

They’ve never seen a minister like it… 

Hat-tip: @wallaceme

Mary Macleod’s Reverse Career Trajectory

The stereotypical Westminster career trajectory is from bag-carrier to MP, yet for Mary Macleod the opposite is true. Macleod was one of the ten Tory MPs who lost their seat in May when she was beaten by Labour in Brentford. Do not fear for her bank balance, though. Within weeks she landed a cushy new gig as Special Adviser to the Secretary of Scotland, David Mundell. Macleod did the job unpaid until August as she had just pocketed her ex-MP’s resettlement grant, though now she is being paid a full taxpayer-funded salary, which is undeclared though will be around what she earned as a Member of Parliament. Don’t say the Tories don’t look after their own…

Osborne Cuts Opposition Funding

4024

Hidden away towards the back of the Autumn Statement was the section on “Reducing the cost of politics”, which consists of a modest 19% reduction in Short money allocations. This means the taxpayer-funded wedge to which opposition parties are entitled will be cut by millions. Good news for the taxpayer, bad news for the already massively in debt Labour Party.

Below is the sum each party was previously due to receive in each year of this parliament. In brackets is what a 19% cut would potentially look like:

Labour: £6.2 million (£1,178,000 CUT)

SNP: £1.2 million (£228,000 CUT)

UKIP: £650,000 (£123,500 CUT)

LibDems:  £540,000 (£102,600 CUT)

Greens: £212,000 (£40,280 CUT)

A handy benefit of being a Chancellor with an eye on the next election is you can severely wound your opponents where it hurts: in the pocket…

Sturgeon on McGarry: Watch This Space

Nicola Sturgeon is considering action against scandal-hit Nat Natalie McGarry. The SNP leader told the BBC:

“Obviously I’m aware of the concern that Women for Independence has raised and has reported to the police about alleged discrepancies in their

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Pressure Mounts on SNP to Suspend ‘Missing Money’ MP

The SNP wasted no time in throwing their disgraced MP Michelle Thomson under a bus during her property scandal back in September. The allegations surfacing against Natalie McGarry yesterday have also warranted a police investigation, so Scottish Labour have demanded[…]

+ READ MORE +

SNP MP Hides Tweets Amid Police Probe

A very curious story developing up in Scotland, where an SNP MP is cooperating with the police after thousands of pounds went missing from her pro-Indy campaign group. Unpopular Natalie McGarry, the MP for Glasgow East, was one of the […]

+ READ MORE +

UKIP’s Financial Woes Worsen

party donations

The financial woes of cash-strapped UKIP have been doing the rounds for a while, and now we know why. The party took just £49,334 in donations in the last quarter, as Arron Banks’ money goes towards the Leave.EU campaign instead. […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Liam Fox shreds Cameron’s Calais scaremongering:

“Sad and disappointed to see our Prime Minister stoop to this level of scaremongering, especially as he knows the Calais agreement is nothing to do with the EU and agreed between the two govts”

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