Re-Renting: Davey Claims Expenses for LibDem Owned OfficeMoney Paid to Company of Which Wife is Director

Dozens of  MPs claims for their constituency office on expenses even though it is already owned by their local party or a friendly donor. Taxpayers end up effectively making a donation to party funds or refunding donations given privately. Parliamentary authorities have cottoned on to the “re-renting” scam and are preparing a report which will once again out dozens with their snouts in the trough. Yet another round of expenses scandals…

Guido can reveal one of the big name ministers set to be exposed is the LibDems’ Ed Davey. He claims £12,352 for 2012/13 on expenses for his constituency office rent in Surbiton – which is more than enough to cover any mortgage. As revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, deeds seen by Guido show that the property is already owned by the Kingston Liberal Democrat Property Company Ltd, and his wife Emily is a director of the company. The building is also being used by local LibDems as their headquarters for party political activity, subsidised nicely by the taxpayer.

We put the £200,000 mortgage borrowing into our calculator with a standard 25-year term and found the LibDems should have been paying just over £900 a month in mortgage repayments, yet Davey is claiming for over £1,000 a month towards rent. The rules state that for an office shared between party political and constituency work the costs should be apportioned to fairly reflect the dual use. So how is he is claiming not just a proportion of the property cost for rent, but more than the entire property costs to mortgage?

A quick browse of comparable local offices available to rent shows that Davey is charging taxpayers double the market rate for office space. The cash is being recycled from the taxpayer into party funds. There is no chance of the Energy Secretary or local LibDems going cold this winter either. Davey claims for the office’s gas and electricity bills on expenses as well.

Labour Owe Troubled Co-Operative Bank £3,391,000

The Co-Op bank’s £1.5 billion black hole will see 50 branches closed after the ‘ethical’ bank went cap in hand to hedge funds rescuers.

In 1999 the Labour Party borrowed £3,580,000 from the bank and only £189,000 has been repaid.

Miliband and Balls owe the troubled lenders £3,391,000. How many jobs could they save if they paid it back?

Ed Balls’ £5 Million State Subsidy For The Guardian

Guido isn’t sure who this one is more embarrassing for. While in office, Ed Balls used taxpayers’ money to subsidise the Guardian to the tune of 1% of its turnover. As Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Balls bunged Kings Place £4,899,688 between 2007 and 2010. The money went on services ranging from advertising to training courses. Guardian News & Media had a turnover of £261.9 million in 2007/2008, that year they were the lucky recipients of £2,445,787 from Balls’ department or 1% of their annual turnover. Someone had to help keep them afloat, turns out it was the taxpayer…

Judgement Day for Wandsworth Tories

Wandsworth Conservatives were once a flagship campaigning force, whose success was emulated across the country. They were held up as a shining example of  what the Tories could do in local government. Fast forward five years and it stands on the brink; riddled with infighting and shamed by accusations of corruption and cover ups. The scandal is centred around the group’s agent at the last election Rob Morritt who was exposed for fraudulently cooking the books to hide more than £30,000 in missing money and a secret £25,000 Addison Lee bill. Blank cheques, dodgy expenses and lies – Morritt used every trick in the book.

When this was exposed internally in 2010 it was ignored and NDAs were drawn up to try make the issue go away, yet Guido exposed the truth. Three years later and Morritt has managed to get himself elected as a Putney councillor but tonight he finally faces losing the whip when the Tory council group meet to determine his fate. They have been shamed into action by an independent report that confirmed the allegations Guido made. The vote tonight requires a two thirds majority to remove the whip. Despite the council leader Ravi Govindia kicking the stool away from his former campaign manager, plus the evidence of two investigations piled up against Morritt, it’s expected to go to the wire. Bizarrely there are still those willing to defend him. It’s time to lance this boil.

You can see all of Guido’s stories on the Wandsworth cover up here.

Flint’s “Only” Gaffe Today

Caroline Flint claimed in her response to Ed Davey’s energy statement that green taxes and levies “only” costs households £120 a year. Only £120?

Easy for someone to afford on MP’s salary, with a Minister’s pension and expenses to bung bills on, but talk about the mask slipping…

 Only £120?

The Global Race

Always keen to support a good cause, Guido was browsing the Just Giving website when he came across Craig Oliver’s 10k fun run page. He’s already raised over two thousand pounds, thanks mostly to eager hacks opening their wallets for stories. Who said chequebook journalism was dead?

The Mail’s Tim Shipman will double his donation if Craig wears his infamous Dre headphones, Simon Walters “wouldn’t want you to fall flat on your face in the mud”, Jeremy Vine wonders “if you can beat your time last year of 7 hours” and Matthew d’Ancona asks if he has become a Tory donor chipping in a ton.  Sky News have whipped around for another £100 and it seems Mark Easton, the BBC’s home editor who was singled out by the Tories at the weekend for being a pinko-under-the-bed, is not sore enough to hold a grudge.

Number 10’s very own Andrew Cooper wins with “I think you’re taking the global race too seriously.” George Osborne has chipped in £50, plus £12.50 gift aid of course from the rest of us. Though no sign of the PM…

Guido was feeling generous:

Joking apart, you can donate here.

Tory Meltdown in Wandsworth Greening, Hammond and Ellison Facing Questions

Guido hears that it’s been a busy old day in SW18 and down the road in Putney.  As revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Justine Greening’s former agent Rob Morritt, aka the Wandsworth Fraudster, will face a crunch vote on Halloween which should see him thrown out of Wandsworth Council Conservative Group over the allegations that he defrauded his local party of £60,000 while acting as electoral agent to no less than three Tory Minsters. Justine Greening, Stephen Hammond and Jane Ellison are yet to comment publicly on their agent’s alleged fraud, yet Guido hears that pressure is mounting for Morritt to accept that the game is up.

Surprisingly, Greening’s Association Chairman Mark Elliot is organising support for Morritt ahead of Thursday’s vote. As it stands, Greening has not yet publicly distanced herself from the accused fraudster, despite the fact that her own council leader is trying to force him out. Morritt used to be Greening’s deputy Association Chairman, though that is kept quiet these days. Local sources claim that Morritt spoke to Greening on the phone last week, but this has not been officially confirmed or denied. As for her Association Chairman, a regional-level party source points out: “it’s hardly going to help Elliot’s own political ambitions when his behaviour forces us to put the association into special measures and kick out his entire team.”  Guido understands that is a very real possibility if Morritt is not given the boot from the local party.

Guido has asked for comment from Greening, Ellison and Hammond. As of yet they declining the opportunity to tell their side of the story. Why?

This is a man that stands accused of stealing funds directly from their election campaigns, and a man who potentially misfiled their election expenses to cover up his own fraudulent activity. The Tories have tried to ignore this story since 2010, yet it has never gone away. Why do they still look like they are protecting their agent? What does he have on them?

Yet Another MPs Expenses Scandal Coming Don’t Say Guido Didn’t Warn You…

Next month the rental agreements for MPs’ constituency offices will be published, exposing just how many MPs are bunging taxpayer cash to trade unions and their local parties by claiming rent for properties they could have access to for free. Regular readers will be aware of the potential for troughing here…

It may not be for personal gain, but if the parties are taking money from the taxpayer in murky circumstances, that does not make it any better. Back in 2010 Sarah Teather’s back-door party funding was revealed in a Guy News investigation:

Unions are often major beneficiaries of rental trickery. Luciana Berger claims £1,750 per quarter for her constituency office rent, her office is the UCATT building in Liverpool. They’re donors…

Geoffery Robinson does the same for Unite:

This is a scam used by Labour MPs to, perfectly legally, funnel taxpayer cash to a donor who then gives money back to the party. Next month we will find out if the Tories are pulling an equivalent stunt; claiming taxpayers’ money to pay rent to a private donor, who then gave money back to the party, it would be a major scandal. Where there’s a rule to bend, there’s a will…

Morally Barron

The good news is IPSA says MPs should no longer be able to claim for:

  • A £15 evening meal when Parliament sits after 1930
  • Hospitality tea and biscuits
  • Hotels before 0100
  • Taxis home before 2300
  • Contents insurance for a second home
  • Installing a TV in a second home

The bad news is they think that should come with a bribe of a £7,000 pay rise.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Taxpayer Still Subsidising Guardian

Back when they were in government Labour used to give the Guardian a helping hand by bunging them taxpayer cash for advertising departmental jobs in the paper. It was one example of government waste the Tories vowed to crack down on.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Diane Abbott Ate My Donation

As revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Diane Abbott took her mind off losing her shadow front-bench job last week by appearing on ITV’s Saturday night gameshow The Chase, alongside celebs Anton du Beke, Denise van Outen, and Matt Le Tissier. She didn’t do too badly, losing in the final round.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Crunch Vote Coming for Tory Fraudster Greening’s Agent Finally Losing Support of Council

The clock is ticking for Tory fraudster Cllr Rob Morritt on Wandsworth Council. As exposed by Guido, Justine Greening’s 2010 agent stands accused of fraudulently helping himself of over £50,000 of party funds through cheques and taxis during the campaign. After a cover up and a inquiry was followed by a cover up and another inquiry, Morritt is finally losing the confidence of his colleagues.  […]

+ READ MORE +

Eleanor Laing: the MPs’ MP

Eleanor Laing is the still the front-runner in Deputy-Speaker election. She has public support from Labour’s side; Kevin Barron has written to Labour colleagues calling on them to support Laing and Chris Bryant is sounding out support for her. If Chris is her campaign manager on the Labour side, his own failure to win election to the Shadow Cabinet doesn’t bode too well.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Too Many Tweets From Our Tax

David Cameron famously quipped that “too many tweets make a tw*t”, but that hasn’t stopped his government from spending over £100,000 of taxpayers’ money on learning how to use Twitter.

As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, the Foreign Office are the worst offenders, forking out £92,594 to send officials on social media courses.[…]

+ READ MORE +

If Go Home Vans Send Home Just One Person…

The figures are in, and the Home Office ‘Go Home’ ad vans saw a grand total of one illegal immigrant come forward and voluntarily leave the country. And he didn’t even see the van himself, but actually read about them in the Guardian.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Ed Admitted Cost of Living Would Be Increased By His PoliciesWilling to “Lose Six Months of Economic Growth”

Ed Miliband admitted in 2009 that his green taxes would have a direct negative effect on the cost of living.

When pushed by Andrew Marr about the impact of green measures “on the price of energy” and “the price of basic living necessities”, the then Energy Secretary replied: “there are upward pressures on prices, yes”:

Andrew Marr Show, July 13th 2009

AM: A very simple question  when it comes to the price of energy, when it comes to the price of basic living necessities, it may not be £230-a-year as the Sunday Mirror says, but are we or are we not going to have to pay more.

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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