Khan Questions Mount Over CAGE Cash Link

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust has been forced to halt funding to Jihadi John’s friends at CAGE after it faced widespread condemnation and pressure from the Charity Commission. Both the JRCT and the Roddick Foundation were warned they faced an inquiry over why they gave hundreds of thousands of pounds in grants to CAGE in recent years. Perhaps it is also worth the Charity Commission looking at the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust – a different branch of the same organisation – who also gave £5,000 to Sadiq Khan’s Labour Campaign for Human Rights. Which looks especially murky when you consider Khan spoke at an event in parliament hosted by CAGE in 2012. Why was the key funder of a pro-terror campaign group also bankrolling a human rights organisation run by a man who wants to be Mayor of London? 

John Woodcock: Stationery Investigation Moving Fast

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has launched an investigation into Labour MP John Woodcock’s expenses.

As Guido reported last week, Woodcock is under fire for his use of official stationary and flogging access to Parliament as raffle prizes.

IMG_2102

The ever so transparent process gives only the vaguest of details regarding the fast moving investigation: ‘stationary’. 

Worth noting that the Commissioner has also decided to take up Rifkind and Straw’s self-referrals, though given the snail’s pace that things happen over there, it seems unlikely any investigation will be concluded before the two party grandees leave the Commons. Perhaps in time for the 2016 New Year’s Honours…

Labour Candidate Begs For Blair’s Blood Money

Labour’s target seat candidates are either handing back Blair’s cash on principle or have been shamed into silence. Down in South Thanet, however, which is not a target seat and so hasn’t landed any cash, the Labour candidate has a different approach:

Please, sir, can I have some more?

Blair’s Bloody Money: More Candidates Say No

The fallout from Tony Blair’s £106,000 donation to Labour target seat candidates continues as a second candidate refuses to take his blood money. Yesterday Guido revealed in the Sun on Sunday that Northampton candidate (and former Blairite) Sally Keeble was in line to receive Blair’s cash despite being a vocal critic of the former PM. She has now given the money back:

“The £1,000 donations are being offered to key seats – of which we were one. I have emailed them back to say we won’t be accepting.”

Yesterday Labour’s Dundee East candidate also said thanks but no thanks:

Attention seeking she may be, but it’s not like she lied to start a war, eh Al?

Before he was taking Blair’s cash, Labour’s Norwich South candidate Clive Lewis said of the former PM: “History will be his judge.” He sneered: “Tony, baby – stick to your fluffy Christmas cards. You had your chance.”

Rupa Huq, Labour’s candidate in Ealing, was also a fierce Blair critic, arguing the “legitimacy” of the Iraq War has been “demolished”.

Caitlin Bisknell, who is running in High Peak, admits “we didn’t have the evidence at the time”, while Brighton Kemptown candidate Nancy Platts warns “the Iraq War was the tipping point… some Labour voters, members and activists were lost for good”.

Brighton Pavilion candidate Purna Sen even went on marches in London, Oslo and the Middle East protesting against the war.

Several of the aspiring MPs given cash by Blair have sat in the Commons before: Bob Blizzard, David Drew and John Grogan all voted against the war in 2003.

How many more will stick to their principles and hand back the cash – which Blair is effectively laundering from foreign dictatorships – before the day is out?

GOD Delusion: Pampered Panjandrum Strikes Back

There’s a punchy interview with the departed head of the civil service Gus O’Donnell on the front page of the Indy. The former Cabinet Office bigwig has settled a few old scores with ‘out of touch’ ministers:

“There are still a few out there [who say:] ‘We send our kids to public schools, we have private health care, we travel by car or chauffeur, we don’t go on public transport… There are unfortunately too many people in politics who just don’t get it; who just don’t understand what life on benefits would be like… we need to really care about public services”.

While Guido likes GOD’s idea for primaries, it would be remiss for him not to point out that Gus sent his own daughter Kirsty to Alleyn’s, the private school in Dulwich. He also enjoyed the spoils of the Government Car Pool chauffeur service when in office, and was on a higher salary (and pension) than the PM. Just sayin’… 

John Woodcock Referred to Standards Commissioner

The long campaign is well underway, meaning candidate spending is limited to £30,700 and MPs are looking for ways to bend the rules to keep costs down. John Woodcock, for example, has sent his constituents a letter backing a ‘non-partisan’ third-party charity which, coincidentally, he has also made a central focus of his campaign for re-election. Pre-paid Commons envelopes are not allowed to be used “in a way that can be construed as campaign expenditure”, despite Woodcock using the word “campaign” four times in his letter backing the ‘Save Our Hospital’ group. The taxpayer is picking up the bill.



He is also auctioning off tickets to tours of parliament to raise cash for the ‘charity’. As you can see from Woodcock’s website, Save Our Hospital is a key part of his re-election campaign, listed as one of his main six re-election campaign pledges, so it is hardly independent. Tory MP David Morris has written to Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson asking her to investigate. Where is the money really going?

HMRC Paid 600 Staff to Sit at Home in IT Bungle

tax-hmrc_2358937b

HMRC wasted £2 million paying staff to sit at home because a spanking new IT system didn’t work for three months. According to Accountancy Age, 600 newly recruited staff were paid 75% of their wages to clock in to the office just once a week to see “if the system was operational yet“.

The staff were taken on as part of a £75 million, three-year contract by HMRC with service provider Concentrix. Tasked with looking for fraudulent working tax credit payments, they couldn’t work from September to November last year because their computers couldn’t “talk” to HMRC’s computer network from Concentrix’s offices in Belfast.

Nice work if you can get it…

UPDATE: HMRC say the IT cock-up was entirely Concentrix’s fault and the company will be shouldering the costs.

Strange Jowell Movements

Among those walking through the Aye lobby as Labour voted to ban MPs from holding paid directorships and consultancies was Dame Tessa Jowell. So strongly does Tessa feel about MPs’ “double jobbing” at consultancy firms, that she is paid £1,000 an hour working for… Mentore Consulting. On their website Jowell’s services are advertised to clients: “she has a great commitment to the development of talent and sharing the lessons of experience”, “making a difference to the diversity of senior leadership”. Of course, any clampdown on outside earnings won’t affect Tessa because she’s standing down at the election. Leaving her free to tell colleagues: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Top 100 Charity Fat Cats on £145,000 Median Pay

According to research by Third Sector magazine the median salary for each top earner among general charities such as Save the Children, Cancer Research UK and the British Red Cross was £145,000 – more than the British Prime Minister […]

+ READ MORE +

SHAMELESS: Labour Candidate Withdraws After Benefit Overclaiming Exposed

They don’t call it the party of benefits for nowt. Hanna Toms, the Labour candidate for Truro, has withdrawn from the race after it emerged she had ‘inadvertently’ over-claimed her benefits:

“In the last few months, I was contacted concerning

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Malcolm Rifkind Steps Down as ISC Chair and MP

The Chairman of the ISC, the Rt. Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind has this morning issued the following statement:

None of the current controversy with which I am associated is relevant to my work as Chairman of the Intelligence and Security

[…]

+ READ MORE +

POLL: Should Rifkind Resign From Intelligence Select Committee?

Should Sir Malcolm Rifkind stand down to spend more time with the lifestyle to which he aspires?[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Labour candidate Clive Lewis tells the Staggers:

“I mean, in the multiverse there’s still three universes in a hundred where there’s a Green MP in Norwich, so anything could happen. I could be caught with my pants down behind a goat with Ed Miliband at the other end – well, hopefully that won’t happen.”

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