Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Exclusive: Electoral Commission Investigating Luciana Berger
Labour MP Faces Dormant Donation Questions

The Electoral Commission have confirmed to Guido that they have asked the Labour Party for an explanation as to why Luciana Berger accepted an apparently illegal donation from a dormant company. Guido previously revealed how Berger’s CLP received a £5,000 donation from Purple Apple Facilities Management in April 2011, despite the company being declared dormant the previous year. Last night the Electoral Commission confirmed it had received a letter from Tory MP Karen Lumley enquiring as to whether Berger had broken the law on political donations:

When Guido first put the charge to Luciana she refused to respond. Now she doesn’t have a choice…

Monday, October 29, 2012

May We Have a Short £200,000 Recess, Your Honour?

You’ve got to hand it to Geoffrey Cox QC MP. The Tory member for Torridge and West Devon has almost quadrupled his yearly wage as an MP by moonlighting as a Queen’s Counsel.

In the last month Cox declared earnings of over £200,000 through his work as a barrister. His clients include none other than the Government of Mauritius and Greek mythology-quoting tax experts Aegis, from whom he has just trousered a six-figure sum for a few days’ work. The good news is that Cox’s £4,000-a-day rate means that he still has plenty of time left over to look after his constituents. No further questions…

Yeo’s £40,000 From Bust Black Cab Firm Beneficiaries

Regular readers will remember how back in September Tim Yeo quit his lucrative job as chairman of Eco City Vehicles following Guido’s conflict of interest revelations over the summer. There’s nothing like an early resignation to head off increasing scrutiny.

The latest Register of Members’ Interests shows that Yeo pocketed £40,000 for 91 hours work at Eco City over the last year, a generous £440-an-hour. Unlike in previous years, strangely Yeo omitted to declare earnings from Eco City month by month, only to reveal them in bulk when Number 10 came calling. On top of the Eco City cash, Yeo trousered another £15,000 from his green interests in the last month alone. And still he remains as chair of the Energy and Climate Change select committee…

Coincidently Eco City, who make green taxis, will benefit hugely from black cab firm Manganese Bronze going into administration. Stay tuned…

Cameron’s €uro-Frankenstorm
Labour and Tories Throw Halloween Budget Grenade

The call in the Times this morning from Douglas Alexander and Ed Balls for a “real-terms cut” in the EU budget would have been uncomfortable enough for the PM, who is proposing an by-inflation rise, if it were not for a coordinated sting from his own party. Leaving aside the irony of Labour  jumping on this bandwagon after a decade and a half of surrendering the rebate and rubber stamping vast increases in the EU budget, a perfect storm is brewing for the PM.

When the tediously titled “EU budget simplification and the multi annual financial framework motion” reaches the Commons on Wednesday, both Mark Reckless and Mark Pritchard, the doyens of the new Tory awkward squad, are throwing very large spanners in the works. Pritchard’s amendment will call for no rise at all, while Reckless will argue for a cut. A purple plot is forming with Labour going through the lobby with the Tory rebels. A source close to the fun and games on the Tory side coughed this morning that the storm is “not entirely uncoordinated.”

UPDATE: Reckless has written at length on the plan:

“I and other Conservative colleagues are supporting an amendment to say that there must be at least some constraint on EU spending. Although many of us would wish to see a substantial reduction in EU spending, at least in line with cuts at home, today we are only asking the government to strengthen its stance so that there is some real terms reduction in the EU budget.”

Which is pretty much what Labour said this morning…

Friday, October 26, 2012

The MP Who Only Travels First Class

George Osborne wasn’t giving any answers on camera when Ed Conway asked him if he had ever travelled in standard class yesterday, though he did confirm “of course I have” off the record afterwards. But can the same be said for all Tory MPs? Step forward Daniel Kawczynski, the unpaid intern exploiting tallest man in Parliament. Shameless Kawczynski charged the taxpayer for first class tickets for every single one of the 72 train journeys he made between his Shropshire constituency and London since March 2011.

That adds up to almost £4,000 of our cash helping Kawczynski avoid the plebs over the last year. At the least the Chancellor pays his own way…

£20 Million-a-Year Blair Refuses to Pay Interns

Last year jet-setting former Prime Minister Tony Blair trousered an eye-watering £20 million from his foreign interests advising the likes of JP Morgan and the authoritarian Kazakhstan government. He is even sniffing round a £70 billion deal involving the Qatari royal family in the hope of taking home a slice of the pie. Surely the man who introduced the minimum wage to these shores can afford to put his millions where his mouth is and pay his interns?

The Office of Tony Blair runs an internship programme promising “valuable experience in a high profile and fast moving work environment”. The scheme runs for three months and it very much looks like a real, if temporary, job. Just how much is Tony coughing up for the lucky candidates? Merely a few quid a day for lunch and a bus ticket – the position in the multi-millionaire’s office is expenses only. Those who can’t afford to work unpaid are swiftly told where to go.

If we use the £20 million-a-year figure Guido has calculated that Blair would have to work for just twenty minutes to earn enough to pay a young staffer minimum wage for three months. That’s twenty minutes too long for our Tone…

H/T Graduate Fog.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Treasury’s £1 Million Stimulus

Just as the Q3 GDP figures were announced this morning a perfectly-timed FOI response landed in Guido’s inbox. Between January and October this year the Treasury spent almost £1 million of taxpayers’ money renovating their Horse Guards Road offices. The cash was spent on a project to “optimise usable space”, with hundreds of thousands spent on building brand new workstations, receptions and infrastructure and buying new furniture. That’s one way of softening the construction downturn

UPDATE: Treasury sources get in touch to stress that the project will double the occupancy of the building, freeing up space elsewhere and so saving money. Twice as many Treasury officials under one roof, what a thought…

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Exclusive: Rent-Swapping Tories’ £34,000 Rule Bending Pad Jessica Lee and Stuart Andrew’s Cosy Rent Arrangement

The Register of Members’ Interests reveals that Dominic Grieve’s PPS Jessica Lee owns a flat in London from which rental income is received. In spite of this Lee bills the taxpayer £1,430-a-month to rent another house in London. A rent-swapper caught red-handed. But this one does not end there…

Lee shares the expenses-funded flat with fellow Tory MP Stuart Andrew, who in turn owns another property (albeit in Leeds) from which he receives rental income. Both Lee and Andrew claim a hefty £1,430-a-month each – his people have confirmed to Guido that the total rent for the London property stands at £2,860-a-month. With MPs limited to claiming £1,666-a-month for London accommodation, that’s a clever way of getting round the rules for a nice pad…

Guido has contacted Lee’s office at least five times over the last few days, but despite repeated assurances of a response, she is refusing to comment. George Osborne says households should not receive more than £26,000-a-year in benefits. The Lee-Andrew household is raking in over £34,000-a-year of our cash in benefits…

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Two Home Tory Bills Taxpayer for Hotel High Life

The rent-swappers who own one London home are bad enough, but it takes a certain kind of trougher to bill the taxpayer for hotel stays when he already has two properties in the capital to choose from. Back during the original expenses scandal David Amess hid in a hairdressers after being doorstepped over his greedy second home claims. Once again the Tory MP has been caught red handed.

Amess owns a flat in east London which he rents out, claiming over £7,000 in expenses for the rent on a south west London flat in which he lives. But being a rent-swapper who makes money from the taxpayer isn’t enough for Amess. Despite charging us for the rent on the home he is registered as living in, the Tory MP has claimed another £8,000 expenses to stay in London hotels over the last year. All the while his taxpayer-funded rented home is left empty. Amess has been in parliament for nearly thirty years. Now would be a good time for him to announce his retirement…

Labour MP Paid Shad-Cab Minister’s Rent With Our Cash
Rent Swapper Kevin Barron on the Disciplinary Committee

Now we get to the greediest, most repulsive rent-swappers of all. Guido called out troughing Kevin Barron live on Sky in 2009, and once again the expenses-hungry Labour MP has been taking the taxpayer for a ride. This time the little piggy has had a little help from a friend.

Barron charged us £1,500-a-month to rent a three-bedroom London home owned by shadow cabinet office minister John Trickett. Barron began renting his fellow Labour MP’s home after flogging his own taxpayer-funded house for a £500,000 profit. Not content with sorting himself out at our expense, now Barron is funnelling taxpayers’ money straight into the bank account of his oinking pal Trickett. As soon as Trickett got wind the story was about to break he put the property up for sale.

Barron, unbelievably, is still the chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee, while Trickett is responsible for shining light on government sleaze. These two are some of the most disgraceful rent-swappers of all. They know they can get away with it due to their safe Labour seats.

It’s down to Ed to make them pay…


Seen Elsewhere

Polling Averages Trend | PoliticalBetting.com
Speaker Faces Questions Over Pass for Donor | Sun
Tory MPs’ Visit to Israel Condemned | Guardian
Labour Was Too Slow for the Squeezed Middle | FT
Papers Pan Cam’s Immigration Pledge | ConHome
Deane of St Edmundsbury? | Times
Pay Volunteers and They Become Cheap Labour | Jill Kirby
UKIP Fundraiser Was Jailed for Running Brothels | Times
Bercow Faces Probe Over Pass Mystery | Mirror
Harman Breaks Rules on Paying Staff | Express
Labour Whinge About Sandi Toksvig Joke | Mail


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John McTernan told Channel 4 News

“You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, you don’t win in politics without breaking legs.”



Rob Wilson says:

Without Predujice

Darling

What time will dinner be ready this evening?

Yours

Rob Wilson MP

In the interests of me I am placing a copy of this email in the public domain.


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