Tuesday, September 16, 2014

EXCLUSIVE:
Minister Funnels Expenses Cash to Firm Run By Former Agent

Energy minister Amber Rudd has channelled thousands of pounds of taxpayer cash to a Tory-linked company run by her former agent. Over the last two years Rudd has claimed £6,000 on expenses for “professional services” to organise several local jobs fairs in her constituency. The jobs fairs were organised by Events Office, a company run by Terri Lock, who is a Rudd’s former agent and a Tory council candidate in Hastings. Terri is married to Matthew Lock, former leader of Hastings Conservative group. Events Office seem to get a lot of business from the Tories, having organised a number of jobs fairs in the constituencies of other Tory MPs including Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Charities minister Brooks Newmark.

Guido’s favourite Labour MP Karl Turner says:

“Amber Rudd has serious questions to answer about whether the rules have been upheld. There can be no question of funnelling taxpayers’ cash to cronies against the rules. I hope David Cameron will investigate the behaviour of his new Minister.”

Fishy…

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nigel Evans Makes £21,000 From Post-Sex Trial Media Interviews

Cleared Nigel Evans was paid £21,000 for selling the story of his trial to the press. Evans is being paid £1762.50 a month until June 2015 by management company Exclusive Press & Publicity, in respect of three media engagements with the Mail on Sunday, Mirror and ITV. Following his not guilty verdict, Evans gave emotional interviews to the MoS, Sunday Mirror and ITV’s Daybreak. He says he spent three hours with each outlet, so it wasn’t a bad way of helping towards paying his £130,000 legal bills. If he’d been found guilty he would have got a column in the Guardian…

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Charities Minister Warns Third Sector to Stay Out of Politics

A welcome move from the new charities minister Brooks Newmark, who has this afternoon launched a stinging attack on partisan charity sock-puppets:

“We really want to try and keep charities and voluntary groups out of the realms of politics. 99.9 per cent do exactly that. When they stray into the realm of politics that is not what they are about and that is not why people give them money. The important thing charities should be doing is sticking to their knitting and doing the best they can to promote their agenda, which should be about helping others.”

Predictably a minister daring to suggest anyone in the third sector might possibly do anything wrong has gone down like a cup of cold sick among charities themselves. Newmark is however making an important point and speaks from experience too, having himself set up his own charity in Rwanda. Guido has written previously on how sections of the third sector are stuffed full of Labour acolytes, spin for Labour and even write policy for political parties. Good to see the new charities minister is on board with the campaign to get charities out of politics…

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Through the Keyhole With Lindsay Hoyle

If things do take a turn for the worse for Bercow, the favourite to succeed him is Lindsay Hoyle. With all the grace and favour perks that come with the Speakership – including a huge apartment in Parliament – it’s easy to see why anyone would want the job, and Lindsay has a taste for luxury already. Take a look through the keyhole and see what is to live like a Labour MP (turned Deputy Speaker).

Let no one question Lindsay’s taste, he has decorated his house to look like a House of Commons bar. Guido is pretty sure that bar (complete with snooker table) is a replica of a Commons drinking hole. The grand piano is a classy touch too, it goes nicely with the carpet. All in all Lindsay’s humble abode boasts 5 bedrooms, 2 reception Rooms plus a music room, games room and “leisure complex with swimming pool”.

And it doesn’t stop there. Even though Hoyle says he is “seeing so many families” in his Chorley constituency “in dire straits” using food banks, that hasn’t stopped him from applying for planning permission for a grand orangery and “a single storey rear glazed link” to his pool. It is clearly not tough for everyone in Chorley.

Chuka’s Taxing Spin

Chuka Umunna is spinning hard in the Times this morning over Guido’s revelations about his tax avoidance adviser donor. A spokesman for two-faced Chuka says with a straight face:

“There’s no link [between Mr Umunna and Signature Tax]; there are Labour supporters in all walks of life who share the values of the party and donations do not influence policy. The donation has been made and declared in the normal way, in accordance with the rules.”

“No link between Mr Umunna and Signature Tax”, apart from the £2,500 they gave him. Chuka’s spinner says of the donor: “there are Labour supporters in all walks of life who share the values of the party”, Guido wonders if this refers to their penchant for offshore tax arrangements.

Incidentally, Signature Tax itself has a rather odd whiff about it too. No one answers when you call their phone number and their website could have been designed in five minutes by anyone with a laptop. Yet they found £2,500 to bung to Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary…

Monday, September 1, 2014

Chuka Takes Donation From Tax Avoidance Firm

Chuka Umunna has received a £2,500 donation from a firm which advises its clients on how to swerve HMRC rules to help them avoid tax. Signature Tax paid the sum two weeks ago, with the money “received through the Labour Party to support the office of Chuka Umunna”.

According to their website, Signature Tax specialise in “non-DOTAS tax schemes”, structures designed to avoid HMRC’s Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes regulations, which require those using tax avoidance schemes to inform the taxman. Accountancy Age explains how non-DOTAS schemes offered by Chuka’s donor bend the rules:

“Some of the (tax avoidance) promoters who used DOTAS numbers as tacit approval from HMRC initially, are now promoting schemes outside the DOTAS system. Some promoters are looking hard at their product lines and designing versions that escape the rules. Those rules have become so prescriptive, advisers say, that the longer they become, the easier they are to find holes in. For example, class action group Rebus claims to know of at least two promoters looking for non-DOTAS versions of old products.”

Signature Tax’s website also offers advice on “off shore” tax arrangements. Chuka has been a staunch opponent of such schemes, famously grilling former Barclay’s boss Bob Diamond over his bank’s offshore subsidiaries and urging him to close them down.

And who can forget when he called “on the chancellor to close in on tax avoidance, close in on tax loopholes and deliver greater tax justice.” Adding that: “It is time to close in on tax avoiders, recoup public money and ensure everyone in society pays their fair share.”

In light of this new information about his donor, will Chuka give the money back to avoid any allegations of massive hypocrisy?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MacShame Uses Rotherham Scandal to Plug New Book

Rotherham’s former Labour MP has broken his silence on the child abuse scandal, from the comfort of the Dordogne:

Or you could just read the 160 page report which covers the time Denis was the local Labour MP and seemingly oblivious to what was happening on his patch and the failings of his friends and allies on the local Labour council.

Far more insightful, and free.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gravy Train Stops at No. 10 for Transport Super Salary
No. 10’s Head of News Heads to Siberia

Three weeks ago Guido reported:

“DfT are offering a budget-busting £770-a-day to their new Director of Communications, which, if he or she works 240 days a year, puts the successful applicant on £184,800. Making them considerably better paid than the Secretary of State. Talk about jumping on the high-speed gravy train…”

Well all aboard for Scot Marchbank, one time Deputy Spokesman to the PM and latterly N0. 10’s Head of News. It’s one heck of a promotion in cash terms and into the Whitehall wilderness in terms of power. Guido is suspicious of the timing. Jumped, or pushed? You choo-choose.

‘Canberra Caterer’ Missed Catering Scandal on Her Watch
Expensive Scandals on CV of Potential Commons Chief Exec

The limited defenders of Carol Mills, who go under the name ‘friends of Bercow’ in the press, point to her experience running the Department for Parliamentary Services of the Australian parliament, as well as the enormity of the ‘Chief Executive’ role of the Common’s clerk – who essentially runs the parliamentary estate. Leaving aside allegations of spying on both politicians and hacks alike, apparently Mills would make an excellent Chief Executive if the role was split. Yet, does her track record really back up that claim?

In February of this year Mills was forced to admit that the DPS had missed an ongoing catering fraud. She told a Senate hearing it “was likely” that “inappropriate practice” had been going on for two years through a $550,000-a-year contract. It was found that W Catering had been using parliamentary facilities to cater for other events they were running, outside of parliament. There was political consternation over the fact that instead of calling in the cops, Mills took the decision to bring in “an external organisation look at all the material that I could find in terms of the accounts, the proceedings, etc.” At a cost to the taxpayer, natch.

Nor was this the first time that Mills had reached for the expensive outside consultants instead of dealing with matters through traditional internal channels and the law. Back in 2012, after a major security breach on her watch that saw an intruder enter the Parliament and get within touching distance of the Aussie PM, Mills shifted the blame by commissioning a $30,000 report by an external bureaucrat. Again, it turned out to be a matter for the police to deal with, but not before the money was wasted. 

Missed fraud scandals and security breaches don’t look great on Mills’ CV, but how she ultimately dealt with these problems – expensively – will really irritate MPs. Lots to discuss at a pre-selection hearing…

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Government Front Group Hires Lobbyist to Lobby Government

Save the Children is an organisation that gets 53% of its money from the government. You probably think of it is as a charity, yet it’s funding structure looks more like a quango that does a little fundraising on the side.

The group, that is dependent on handouts from the government, is looking to recruit somebody with a lavish salary and pension to lobby the same very government.

Round and round the money goes…


Seen Elsewhere

5 Things We Learned From Guido’s Party | GQ
Revealed: Guido Fawkes Anniversary Dinner Guestlist | Peter Oborne
More Owen Jones Errors | Michael Ezra
Why Should Men Get Equal Maternity Leave? | Laura Keynes
Dentists Have Last Laugh Over Sneering Keynes | FT
Why’s Clegg Giving Men Paternity Leave? | Conservative Women
Cam Cannot Stem EU Immigration | David Keighley
9 Mansion Tax Questions for Ed Balls | TPA
Politicians are Lying to You About Immigration | Alex Wickham
Give Journalists Public Interest Defence in Law | Guardian
Cameron is Going to Have to Deal With UKIP | Dan Hodges


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Chris Bryant talks to the Times Diary about a famous gay actor:

“I don’t think I’ve had sex with him. He says we had sex in Clapham. I’m fairly certain I’ve never had sex south of the river”



Progressive Inclusion Champion says:

Great to hear Carswell call for inclusive policies and that UKIP must stand for first and second generation immigrants as much as the English.


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