Fire Flack Fires Himself in LFB Slash and Burn

Well how is this for devotion to the cause of efficiency? In order to help his department achieve 20% budget cuts, London Fire Brigade comms chief Richard Stokoe has given himself the sack. Stokoe says that when he was looking at how to make savings he found that his own job was the one that should face the chop:

“When I looked at it, any other staff leaving would have had a direct impact. I set the strategy, which is now in place, so strategists are not needed.”

Though the PR Week spin fails to neglect that this isn’t the first time Stokoe’s original management style has raised eyebrows. Back in January 2010, when he was at the LGA, 13 PR staff were made redundant. Stokoe simply changed his job title from Head of News to Head of Media to delay his departure. Guido will be watching to make sure he does not pull a similar wheeze this time…

UPDATE: Stokoe gets in touch to say that he did not delay his departure from the LGA, but merely had a three month notice period and wanted to take a small break. He describes the move as “jiggery pokery”. Guido is happy to clarify.

Cam Family Nemesis Donates £10,000 to Andrew Mitchell

Sir Doug Ellis is a name more familiar with the footballing world than the Westminster bubble, yet the former chairman of Aston Villa football club has just opened his cheque book to donate £10,000 to Andrew Mitchell.

Word of an interesting tale from Ellis’ Villa tenure reaches Guido – back in the day the authoritarian chairman was engaged in fairly brutal boardroom battles with his arch-nemesis Bill Dugdale. And just who is Sir William “Bill” Dugdale?

None other than David Cameron’s uncle…

How Ed and Yvette Helped Out Ellie With Taxpayer Cash
Balls Leaves Cooper Stranded in the Snow

Spare a thought for poor old Yvette Cooper. As Guido reported in his Daily Star Sunday column, the Shadow Home Secretary was left stranded in the snow by her husband this weekend:

“YVETTE Cooper, the MP and wife of Ed Balls, tweeted early yesterday about the “beautiful, sun rising over a snowy Castleford” and said she would not be deterred by several inches of snow from setting out for Pontefract in her West Yorks constituency to go knocking on doors with “walking boots, ski gloves and a bacon sandwich”. A few minutes later she tweeted a pic of a snow-covered car and commented: “Hmm. Seems car has other ideas. V embarrassing. Am going to have to get @EdBallsMP to help push.” At least the sun was shining and if anyone is experienced at pushing someone out, it is Ed Balls. Just ask Tony Blair.”

She never made the journey…

Meanwhile Guido has uncovered some intriguing details over Cooper’s expenses claims. At the end of 2011 Yvette charged the taxpayer over £600 for the “specialist internet support” of an undisclosed computer ‘expert’. Guido has learned that the money was paid to one Ellie Gellard, the very same famous-for-twitter Ellie Gellard who worked as Balls’ speech-writer and bag carrier.

The claim was made in the very month that Balls unsuccessfully tried to convince his Shadow Cabinet colleagues to take Gellard on as a Political Adviser. Labour have always seen taxpayers’ cash as a way to help out their friends…

Tory MP Demands Khan Cash Investigation

sadiqStill no answers from Sadiq Khan over his missing money. Now Tory MP Andrew Stephenson has written to Sir John Lyon asking him to investigate. This should move things along nicely:

It is now in the hands of the authorities…

UPDATE: Just a small FYI for the Tories – Sir John Lyon is no longer the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, it is now Kathryn Hudson. Oh dear…

No Prospects: Lefty Mag’s Three-Year Plan Blows £500,000

Back in 2009 the publisher of lefty snooze-fest vanity project Prospect had high hopes for his monthly magazine. David Hanger boasted of a new £500,000 investment from venture capitalists and hedge fund managers that he pledged would double Prospect’s circulation, saying he “hoped that by the end of the three years, the magazine’s circulation would almost double from its current total of about 27,000 to more than 50,000″. Now those three years are well and truly up, Guido has decided to see if the investment came good.

Prospect’s ABC figures for March 2009 put their net total circulation at 27,623. The magazine’s all-important goal of 50,000 has turned out to be a distant pipe dream. The latest available figures put its circulation at just 32,115 three years on, a rise of just 16%. The real cause for concern is the the UK paid-for number. In 2009 they sold 18,122 copies every six months, but last year that number fell to just 16,555. Not even the box office hire James Macintyre could turn things around as their Political Editor. And as for David Hanger? He has seemingly been demoted from publisher to “publishing consultant”. Half-a-million pounds down the drain and nothing to show for it. Those venture capitalists and hedge fund managers really should have known better…

Sadiq Khan’s Missing £3,000 Donation Declaration

As Guido reported in Sunday’s column, Labour backs have been put up by the promotion of Sadiq Khan to Shadow London Minister. The “No He Khant” slogan for Khan’s anticipated 2016 London Mayoral campaign is catching on. Meanwhile Guido has been passed some irregularities in Khan’s donations and Register of Members Interests. Fancy that…

According to Khan’s Register of Interests he took £3,000 at the last election from Matthew Ryder, the lefty lawyer at Matrix who lost the case bought by Chris Huhne’s former bi-sexual lover against the Mail, for calling her former bi-sexual. However, by the time Khan got round to declaring this donation to the Electoral Commission, it had doubled to £6,000. Which is odd…

Commons rules state that “Members are responsible for making a full disclosure of their interests” and regular readers will remember Harriet Harman’s husband Jack Dromey had to apologise to the House for incorrectly declaring payments this time last year. Like when he was busted with dubious expenses receipts, Khan will likely play the clerical error card. However the question remains – what happened to the other £3,000?

Speaker Says Bye Bye to £1.5 Million Barber

Outgoing TUC fat cat Brendan Barber is still hanging around like a bad smell. Guido understands that last night the Speaker held a leaving party in his taxpayer-funded state apartment for the £100,000-a-year union baron. The drink was flowing as the usual union thugs like Ian Lavery and John Bercow’s old pal Jack Dromey said goodbye to their strike-happy former boss. Tories are spitting feathers this morning that union-lover Rob Halfon was also in attendance. As if Barber’s £1.5 million golden goodbye was not enough…

Balls’ Financial Slip

Showing a characteristic display of financial carelessness, the Shadow Chancellor is literally throwing his money about. A co-conspirator passed Guido a paying-in slip for £6,500 that was dropped on the ground by Ed Balls last week, it got the Guy News team digging. Especially as Balls had been spotted before paying in similar amounts that do not match anything in the Register of Members Interests. Team Balls argue he was simply transferring his money between his building society savings account and his current account to deal with his personal deficit. With cheques. Guido would recommend online banking, safer and secure. Balls has always been so reckless when it comes to banks and money…

BBC HQ Revamp Blew £6 Million in 6 Months

BBC-b

Over a hundred million pounds over budget, four years late and the subject of a National Audit Office investigation, the BBC’s revamp of Broadcasting House was a disaster from start to finish. The ten year renovation project, which was […]

Where There’s Muck There’s Brass

draculaLabour attack dog Michael Dugher went off on one in the Mirror this weekend, slating the “snobbery” of government arts cuts and the decision to award the British Federation of Brass Bands a grant of of just £23,000 last year. […]

Long Arms in the MoD

deal

Employees from arms dealers and defence firms that have recently signed huge government contracts are currently working at the MoD. Guido has learned that BAE Systems and Rolls Royce, who have been awarded billions of pounds worth of MoD contracts […]

Chuka’s £1.7 Million Soundbite

chukaEver heard of the USDAW? New figures released show that the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers have quietly become Labour’s second biggest donor over the last year, generously pushing nearly £2 million Ed’s way. As with every union […]



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Andrew Neil on the dying Dead Tree Press

“I read more bloggers now than mainstream columnists, because they’ve got more interesting things to say. Too many columnists today make you think, ‘Yeah, I think you’ve said that 10 times before and I’ve just noticed your column has not go a single fact in it’”.

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