CCHQ’s Battle Bus Guidance Revealed

battlebus

Where do the Tories stand on the election fraud scandal? They are bang to rights on failing to declare £38,000 of hotel bills for Tory activists, blaming an “administrative error”. The issue of transport – the fabled “battle buses” – is contested. There are three outcomes here. Are CCHQ right when they say they’ve done nothing wrong? Did they breach the rules on national and local spending? Or was there a conspiracy to hide spending from the official declarations?

Leaked emails reveal CCHQ told their local campaign teams that the cost of hotels and battle buses would be “accounted for out of central campaign spend”. It stressed transport within the seat was not included: “For legal reasons the Battlebus cannot ferry people around the seat”.

The arrangement had the “personal sponsorship” of Grant Shapps, was “signed off” by Lynton Crosby, Stephen Gilbert and Lord Feldman, and was “supported by Deborah Feldman’s Team in CCHQ“. That’s Lord Feldman’s sister.

The good news for the Tories is this shows they did see battle buses as part of the national campaign all along, and demonstrates they were taking steps to abide by spending laws. So they can argue there wasn’t a conspiracy to hide the cash. The bad news? If the cops find it should have gone down as local spend, the party chairman and his sister are implicated…

EU Paid €160 Million to Pro-Remain Groups

Osborne-and-Lagarde-008

Christine Lagarde is making yet another doom-mongering ‘major intervention’ at 10am, with that €400 million fraud trial still looming over her. The IMF chief will again warn against Brexit during a meeting with Osborne at the Treasury, a geo-political courtesy return favour to the Chancellor, who campaigned hard for her to get the job. Like pretty much every group Remain have wheeled out, the IMF has received funding from the European Commission. Pro-Remain groups which have made referendum interventions have received €160 million from the Commission in the last nine years:

PwC warned leaving would cause a “serious shock” – no kidding, they’re bankrolled by the Commission to the tune of €16 million. LSE say we’re better off Remaining – they certainly are having received €18 million. The WWF says EU membership “benefits our environment” – it benefits theirs by €46 million.

Remain have barely named a group supporting them which hasn’t received huge amounts from the Commission. He who pays the piper…

UPDATE: RSPB get in touch to stress they do not have a position on the referendum because neither side is campaigning on the environment.

Scandal-Hit Lavery’s Shredding Expenses Splurge

Readers will be aware that shadow minister Ian Lavery has been mired in a scandal over how he benefited from a miners’ benevolent fund – catch up here if not. The Labour union man has dodged questions on this for weeks and lost the support of many colleagues, who’ve been angered by the revelations involving a £250,000 loan, £60,000 of redundancy pay and £85,426 in additional redundancy costs. Guido is amused by another sum of money: the £283.50 Lavery recently claimed on expenses for services from Shred-It, a company which “provides the most secure and efficient confidential information destruction service in the industry.” If only he’d used them back in the day he wouldn’t have all this grief…

Electoral Commission Takes Tories to High Court

battlebus

The Electoral Commission is taking the Tories to the High Court to force them to disclose documents pertaining to the electoral expenses scandal:

“The Commission issued the Conservative and Unionist Party with two statutory notices requiring the provision of material relevant to its investigation. However, the Party has only provided limited disclosure of material in response to the first notice (issued on 18 February 2016) and no material in response to the second notice (issued on 23 March 2016). That follows the Commission granting extensions of time to comply… We are today asking the court to require the Party to fully disclose the documents and information we regard as necessary to effectively progress our investigation into the Party’s campaign spending returns.”

Revenge of the Clarke…

UPDATE: A Tory spokesman says the Electoral Commission have jumped the gun:

“We advised the Electoral Commission on 29th April that we would comply with their notices by 1pm today – and we will do so. There was no need for them to make this application to the High Court.”

Taxpayer-Funded Lloyds Loan to Remain

The new Electoral Commission release shows that Lloyds Bank, which is still in part state-owned, has given a £20,000 loan to the Remain campaign at a rate of 1%. Awkward…

Vote Leave are all over it, and David Owen notes BSE have also taken cash from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Citi as well. The Lloyds loan however is just a charge card with no interest incurred if they settle up on time. After all, Lloyds Bank chairman Lord Blackwell is a Brexiteer who says our relationship with the EU is “unsustainable“…

Remain Spending Twice as Much as Leave, Thanks to Taxpayer

times red box EDITED

The Electoral Commission have released the first batch of pre-poll referendum campaign donations today:

Remain

  • Conservatives IN Ltd – £362,534
  • European Movement of the UK Ltd – £57,494
  • Michelle Ovens Ltd – £95,000
  • Scientists for EU Limited – £60,000
  • The IN Campaign Ltd (‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ – designated lead campaigner) – £6,883,684

Total: £7,458,712

Leave

  • GO Movement Ltd – £12,000
  • Grassroots Out Ltd – £2,039,925
  • Leave.EU Group Ltd – £3,200,000
  • The Bruges Group – £10,000
  • Trade Unionists Against The European Union – £22,000
  • Vote Leave Limited (designated lead campaigner) – £2,786,500
  • WAGTV Limited – £110,000

Total: £8,180,425

Of course they neglected to mention the extra £9 million the government spent on remain’s leaflets, or the £135,000 a week worth of ads, or the loan of the British museum etc etc. Taxpayer funding means Remain is spending well over double what Leave is…

Named and Shamed: Full List of MPs Shagging Their Secretaries

This morning IPSA revealed MPs had sent £21 million of taxpayer cash to family members in the last five years. Guido names and shames the MPs who employ wives, husbands and children on the public payroll below…

MPs who currently employ their spouse/partner according to the Register of Members Interests:

  1. Nigel Adams employs his wife
  2. David Amess employs his wife
  3. Caroline Ansell employs her husband
  4. Richard Arkless employs his wife
  5. Adrian Bailey employs his wife
  6. Margaret Beckett employs her husband
  7. Henry Bellingham employs his wife
  8. Hilary Benn employs his wife
  9. Paul Beresford employs his wife
  10. Clive Betts employs his partner
  11. Bob Blackman employs his wife
  12. Peter Bone employs his wife
  13. Karen Bradley employs her husband
  14. Graham Brady employs his wife
  15. Julian Brazier employs his wife
  16. Alistair Burt employs his wife
  17. Liam Byrne employs his wife
  18. Gregory Campbell employs his wife
  19. Ronnie Campbell employs his wife
  20. Douglas Carswell employs his wife
  21. William Cash employs his wife
  22. Maria Caulfield employs her partner
  23. Christopher Chope employs his wife
  24. Alberto Costa employs his wife
  25. Stephen Crabb employs his wife
  26. David Crausby employs his wife
  27. Byron Davies employs his wife
  28. David Davies employs his wife
  29. Glyn Davies employs his wife
  30. Jeffrey Donaldson employs his wife
  31. Steve Double employs his wife
  32. Jackie Doyle-Price employs her partner
  33. Michael Dugher employs his wife
  34. Graham Evans employs his wife
  35. Michael Fallon employs his wife
  36. Caroline Flint employs her husband
  37. Paul Flynn employs his wife
  38. Yvonne Fovargue employs her husband
  39. Roger Gale employs his wife
  40. Barry Gardiner employs his wife
  41. Mark Garnier employs his wife
  42. Cheryl Gillan employs her husband
  43. John Glen employs his wife
  44. Robert Goodwill employs his wife
  45. Helen Grant employs her husband
  46. James Gray employs his wife
  47. Chris Grayling employs his wife
  48. Stephen Hammond employs his wife
  49. Simon Hart employs his wife
  50. Alan Haselhurst employs his wife
  51. John Hayes employs his wife
  52. Oliver Heald employs his wife
  53. John Healey employs his wife
  54. Simon Hoare employs his wife
  55. Sharon Hodgson employs her husband
  56. Kelvin Hopkins employs his wife
  57. George Howarth employs his wife
  58. Lindsay Hoyle employs his wife
  59. Dan Jarvis employs his wife
  60. Diana Johnson employs her partner
  61. Gareth Johnson employs his wife
  62. Gerald Jones employs his partner
  63. Helen Jones employs her husband
  64. George Kerevan employs his wife
  65. Greg Knight employs his wife
  66. Ian Lavery employs his wife
  67. Edward Leigh employs his wife
  68. Emma Lewell-Buck employs her husband
  69. Ian Liddell-Grainger employs his wife
  70. Tim Loughton employs his wife
  71. Ian Lucas employs his wife
  72. Angus MacNeil employs his wife
  73. John Mann employs his wife
  74. Karl McCartney employs his wife
  75. Patrick McLoughlin employs his wife
  76. Alan Meale employs his wife
  77. Johnny Mercer employs his wife
  78. Grahame Morris employs his wife
  79. James Morris employs his wife
  80. Sheryll Murray employs her partner
  81. Andrew Murrison employs his wife
  82. Brendan O’Hara employs his wife
  83. Neil Parish employs his wife
  84. Priti Patel employs her husband
  85. Owen Paterson employs his wife
  86. Teresa Pearce employs her partner
  87. Mike Penning employs his wife
  88. Jess Phillips employs her husband
  89. Stephen Pound employs his wife
  90. Yasmin Qureshi employs her husband
  91. Jonathan Reynolds employs his wife
  92. Laurence Robertson employs his wife
  93. Alec Shelbrooke employs his wife
  94. Dennis Skinner employs his partner
  95. Angela Smith employs her husband
  96. Henry Smith employs his wife
  97. John Stevenson employs his partner
  98. Bob Stewart employs his wife
  99. Gary Streeter employs his wife
  100. Julian Sturdy employs his wife
  101. Desmond Swayne employs his wife
  102. Hugo Swire employs his wife
  103. Robert Syms employs his wife
  104. Mark Tami employs his wife
  105. Michael Tomlinson employs his wife
  106. Derek Twigg employs his wife
  107. Valerie Vaz employs her husband
  108. Martin Vickers employs his wife
  109. Charles Walker employs his wife
  110. Ben Wallace employs his wife
  111. David Warburton employs his wife
  112. Iain Wright employs his wife

MPs who currently employ other family members:

  1. Ian Blackford employs his step-son
  2. Rehman Chishti employs his sister
  3. Thérèse Coffey employs her sister
  4. Alex Cunningham employs his son
  5. Nadine Dorries employs her daughter
  6. Jim Dowd employs his nephew
  7. Julie Elliott employs her son
  8. Pat Glass employs her niece
  9. Neil Gray employs his brother-in-law
  10. John Howell employs his daughter
  11. Simon Kirby employs his sister
  12. Paul Monaghan employs his brother
  13. Kate Osamor employs her son
  14. Albert Owen employs his son-in-law
  15. Dan Poulter employs his mother
  16. Graham Stringer employs his step-daughter
  17. Graham Stuart employs his sister
  18. Craid Whittaker employs his daughter
  19. Corri Wilson employs her son

MPs are doing to the taxpayer what they do to their secretaries…

MPs Pay Family Members £21 Million

snouts

+ 139 MPs’ family members employed on the public payroll +

+ 1 in 4 MPs have employed a relative +

+ Relatives’ salaries “significantly higher” than other employees +

+ Pay rises awarded “at twice the rate” +

IPSA releases its consultation on MPs’ expenses this morning – the most eye-catching revelation is that MPs pay family members more than other staff, and are more likely to give pay rises to family members. As of March this year a total of 139 “connected parties”, which means MPs’ family members and those with a close business association, were on the payroll as secretaries and assistants. 1 in 4 MPs employed a connected party in the last parliament. £21 million of taxpayers’ money was sent by MPs into the bank accounts of relatives…

IPSA admits that “controls to prevent misuse of funding on employing connected parties were limited”, adding:

“their salaries were significantly higher than the average across all MPs’ staff. Salaries of connected parties had also risen at twice the rate of other staff”

Family members are paid on average £5,600 more than other staff.

IPSA are so concerned that they are consulting again on the issue of connected parties, but only for new staff. MPs already had a 10% pay rise and earn three times the average wage, yet a quarter of them have employed family members on up to £55,000-a-year on top. Stay tuned – Guido will name and shame the piggies shortly…

Tory MPs’ Parliamentary Ski Week Freebie

skiiers blunt spelman copy

During the Tory turmoil of the March recess, journalists calling up MPs’ mobile phones were met with a chorus of foreign dial tones. Some of the backbenchers briefing hacks from ski slopes at least paid for their holidays themselves. Crispin […]

+ READ MORE +

Miliband’s Museum Speech Swerved Spending Rules

LBC made a good point this morning – does David Miliband’s speech at the British Museum yesterday mean Britain Stronger in Europe flouted campaign spending rules? This is what the Museum, a public body, says:

“The British Museum has followed

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Disgraced Nat Pays Out Over “Holocaust” Smear

Readers will remember Natalie McGarry, the SNP MP who resigned the whip amid a police probe into her campaign’s financial irregularities. She’s the one who was questioned by Turkish special forces for recording the sound of bombs falling in Syria […]

+ READ MORE +

Labour Leadership Rivals Rake in Huge Donations

The Corbynista line this morning is that Jezza is safe from a coup, several “hostile” MPs agree with Tom Watson that he should be “given time” and judged on the next set of local elections in 12 months.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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