Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Don’t Yeo Forget It

yeo4

Conflicted Energy and Climate Change select committee chairman Tim Yeo is at it again today:

“Lumbering the economy with a centralised power system largely reliant on gas would be like running an office using a fax machine in the age of the iPad. I think the choice facing Britain is clear. We can embrace the technology of the future, set a target to reduce our present heavy dependence on fossil fuels and upgrade our electricity system, or we can cling to the combustion-based technologies of the past, gamble the future on assumptions about the availability of abundant cheap gas and slow down the process of decarbonising our economy.”

Tim Yeo’s green interests in full:

  • Chairman of AFC Energy, company developing alkaline fuel cell technology. Wage: £4,340-a-month.
  • Chairman of TMO Renewables, which develops and supplies technology for second generation biofuels. Wage: £5,832-a-month.
  • Director of ITI Energy, manufacturer of environmentally friendly ‘clean’ gasification technology.

Let it never be forgotten…

Monday, December 17, 2012

David Miliband and the Ugandan Tax Row

milibandDavid Miliband’s links to a controversial oil company that makes its billions in Uganda are back in the news today. The £500,000-a-year globe-trotter has faced scrutiny for his role in securing sponsorship for Sunderland FC from Tullow Oil, an oil giant that has in the past been accused of driving villagers from their homes and bribing officials. Today the Ugandan government is alleging that they have taken huge sums of money out of the poverty-stricken country by allegedly not paying an 18% tax imposed on its mining machinery. Tullow is requesting that the dispute be referred for arbitration.

Maybe a certain former Foreign Secretary can use his diplomacy expertise to help them reach a resolution…

New Statesman Internship Auctioned for £1,000
Intern Aware Say Staggers Should be “Ashamed”

At the recent Olympics Ball raising money for Britain’s young athletes, the New Statesman, that paragon of equality of opportunity, auctioned off internships £1,000-a-pop. A great scoop from Dave Lee this lunchtime. “You will have the chance to contribute your ideas and writing to their hugely popular website” gushed Lot 75 with a starting bid of £1,000. Guido is currently trying to find out exactly how much the slave ship ticket actually went for.

Seeing as the Staggers would be getting the free labour from whichever champagne-swilling parent that coughed up for their lucky child’s week of work experience, would they be contributing anything to the deal? “No travel included”.

Last year Helen Lewis gleefully reported on Tom Watson’s attack on the Tories when they tried a similar wheeze:

“The Labour MP Tom Watson told the Mail: “This is a crass example of rich Tories buying privilege. Most young people could only dream of this opportunity. The Conservatives flog them like baubles and fill their coffers with the profits. It is obscene.”” 

Though perhaps it is Laurie Penny, naturally writing in the Staggers, who put it best:

“The Telegraph reports that across the country hundreds of placements are being sold or brokered, often at similar auctions for the wealthy, where the fact that proceeds go to charity gives the new nobility yet another reason to be smug about giving themselves the life chances that previous generations enjoyed for free. For the few of us who are wealthy enough to finance ourselves through work placements, only a firm push is needed to force open the doors of opportunity. Without a co-ordinated effort to reverse this regressive trend, the years to come will be littered with wasted potential and filled with disappointment for young people with nothing to bring to the table but talent, creativity and ambition.”

Intern Aware have slammed the Staggers this afternoon:

“Most people can’t afford to work for free and even fewer people can afford to pay thousands of pounds for the privilege of interning. The New Statesman should be ashamed of operating a practice than puts opportunities out of the hands of hardworking and talented young people.”

They also estimate that “around 1/3 of the editorial staff at any one time are unpaid. Not only do they readily do all the necessary drudgework, they help to depress the wages of paid journalists there.” Shame on them.

Read Dave Lee’s original posting here.

UPDATE: A source tells Guido that the internship went for close to £1,250.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Moran Given Two-Year Treatment Order

Expenses cheat Margaret Moran was “too depressed” to attend court to hear her sentence this morning, but she faces a two-year supervision and treatment order as ‘punishment’ for her £53,000 swindle. This expenses piggie was found to have committed 15 counts of false accounting. The judge says some will say “she got away with it”Moran isn’t the first expenses cheat to dodge jail, and she won’t be the last…

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Miller Car Crash Interview Raises More Expenses Questions

Maria Miller has been well and truly skewered by the Standard this afternoon during an interview in which she tried to play down allegations about her expenses. Did Sir Thomas Legg, the man who carried out the first independent audit into her second home claims, know that her parents lived in the property? “I obviously spoke to the Fees Office about my claims and they were happy that everything was in order”. Hardly a yes.

Who was the second independent auditor? Joe Murphy reports that “The Culture Secretary replied that it was the Conservative Party which “audited all Conservative MPs’ expenses”.  Her definition of independent may raise some eyebrows as the Tory panel was headed by the then Chief Whip and David Cameron’s chief of staff”. Most suspect of all was Miller’s answer to the charge that her decision to stop claiming just as the expenses scandal broke was more than coincidence:

“”I think there was a lot of concern about the rules and, er, a lot of concern about, you know, the whole issue, and it’s something I felt that I didn’t want to be, sort of, mixed up in, the fact that I …”  Mrs Miller finally stopped trying to explain herself, and simply said:  “I just made that decision.””

She will have to do better than that when John Lyon comes calling…

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Labour MP Reports Miller to Standards Commissioner

Labour rent-a-quote John Mann has this afternoon registered a complaint with John Lyon, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, over reports that Maria Miller breached expenses rules by claiming £90,000 for a second home lived in by her parents.

“Maria Millar’s (sic) circumstances are identical to those of Tony McNulty who allowed his parents to live in his second home rent free and the Committee on Standards and Privileges ruled that he had broken the rules.”

People close to Miller point out that her arrangements have been cleared twice as being wholly proper, as well as pointing out that it’s not her parents home, stressing that it’s her own property that her parents live in, with her, and have done for 20 years. Could it be a strange case of breaking the letter of the law but not the spirit? Mysterious…

Why Is Tim Yeo Backing Fracking?

If Tim Yeo is doing the rounds in television studios professing his support for an idea, it’s usually not unfair to assume there must be a vested interest in there somewhere. This morning the conflicted chairman of the Energy and Climate Change select committee decided he was backing fracking, so Guido crowd-sourced his possible financial interests. The results were hardly shocking.

yeof

ITI Energy supplies equipment for a variety of methods of producing energy from gases. Add that to his other interests in energy investment, energy efficient vehicles and fuel cell technology, and you get the picture. Whiffy once again…

£90,000 Question For Maria Miller
Suspicious Timing and Suspicious Arrangement

A busy day for Maria Miller today, and not least because this morning’s Telegraph reports that the Culture Secretary has claimed £90,000 in expenses for the mortgage payments and other costs of a second home lived in by her parents. IPSA rules require second homes to be used exclusively by MPs.

Claiming for a property lived in by an MP’s parents is “specifically prohibited”. 

Guido can reveal that Miller has two properties in her name: a cottage in her Basingstoke constituency, and the property pictured above in Wimbledon.

miller2

The Wimbledon property was purchased by Miller and her husband in 1996 for £234,000, and will be worth at least three times that now. Although expenses rules clearly state that second homes must be lived in exclusively by MPs, Miller’s parents lived in the property while she spent most of her time in Basingstoke main home between 2005 and 2011. She stopped claiming in 2009, days before the expenses scandal broke.

The Telegraph story coming out on this day of all days is surely nothing more than coincidence…

Monday, December 10, 2012

Yeo’s Lump for Dump

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Believe it or not, David Willetts gave an interview that caught Guido’s eye in the Times this weekend. Speaking about what the government was doing to boost Britain’s scientific standing in the world, Two Brains let the cat out of the bag regarding a certain conflicted MP:

“A new scientific field known as “synthetic biology”, which finds ways of using specifically-designed bacteria to solve medical and industrial problems, will be handed £50 million of the new money. Mr Willetts said that he had been particularly taken by one company, TMO Renewables, that had designed a micro-organism capable of turning human waste into biofuels.”

Tim Yeo, the man in charge of the Energy and Climate Change select committee, is paid £5,400 per month as chairman of TMO. His company lobbies the government for funding and Willetts signs off a tranche of taxpayers’ cash for them to turn poo into fuel. Whiffy…

Gordon Brown Declares £300,000 in One Month
Miliband Facing Calls to Sack Prime Mentalist

SACK-HIM

It has been a month to be proud of our globe-trotting former Prime Mentalist. Not only did he manage to make it a year since he last spoke in Parliament but he has also declared over £300,000 in December’s Register of Members’ Interests, all held by the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown and not going into his own pocket, of course. While Kirkcaldy goes unrepresented those lucky enough to have Gordon grace them with his presence include the Chinese, Koreans, Americans and Ukrainians. The total £305,037 declaration for the last month is for sixteen hours’ work, or £19,064-an-hour. More than many of his constituents earn in a whole year.

gordonA letter has gone out from the Tories to Ed Miliband calling for the Labour leader to sack his former boss. Brown is jet-setting around the world, refusing to speak up for those he is paid £65,000-a-year of taxpayers’ money to represent, while earning vast sums of money that is being “held” by his company to “support (my) ongoing involvement in public life”. Surely it is time for that “public life” to be lived away from the House of Commons…


Seen Elsewhere

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
Opinions on Key Issues By Constituency | Red Box


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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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