IPSA have forced a trough-full of greedy MPs to repay £40,000 worth of expenses for claims that were in breach of the rules. New figures for October and November last year show 50 MPs were made to pay back cash. Some of the weirder repayments include £1,300 from Jack Straw for a year-long sublet of his constituency office for the Blackburn Labour Party and £1,250 from Vince Cable for subletting his office. Eric Joyce tried to get away with claiming hundreds of pounds for hotels which were not allowed under the IPSA scheme. Cheapskate Jamie Reed was told nine of his £3 claims for petrol would not be granted. Several MPs blew their expenses budget allowance and had to pay back the overspend, including £4,010 from Mike Crockart, £4,551 from Daniel Kawczynski and £933 from Debbie Abrahams. Still, who can blame a greedy expenses trougher for trying…
Doctors’ trade union the BMA has been getting very upset about “cuts” to the NHS recently, moaning to the government that funding changes could force GP practices to close. One thing in particular they don’t want to cut is their very own in-house wine list, which offers posh plonk such as a £52 Pol Roger advertised as “Winston Churchill’s favourite champagne”.
Figures obtained by Guido reveal that Transport for London has spent over a quarter of a million pounds on boosting its Twitter followers and Facebook likes. TfL has a grand total of 26 Twitter feeds and two Facebook pages. Since 2012 it has spent £254,322 on paying for “promotion” – so their tweets and statuses appear in Londoners’ timelines – with the aim of getting them more followers and likes. TfL defend the spending by saying that in the last year their overall social media following has increased by one million as a result. What would Bob Crow have said?
Strange goings on down in Enfield Southgate, where Labour have chosen Bambos Charalambous over Ibrahim Dogus in a fiercely contested battle for the selection. Labour sources on the ground tell Guido that Dogus is furious at the result and is throwing around claims that there were voting irregularities concerning postal voting. Guido is told that Keith Vaz is leaning on the national party to look into the result. Surely nothing to do with Vaz being a long term friend of Dogus and being his main endorser during the selection. Or the fact that Dogus has been doing the legwork for Vaz’s £1,000-a-ticket Labour Sports Dinner, the party’s annual flagship fundraising event which brings in thousands in donations. In an email seen by Guido, Vaz even let slip that one of the main reasons for his endorsement was the fact that Dogus is an “amazing fundraiser”. Now he’s still trying to get him selected as a candidate even though he was beaten. Vaz has not responded to a request for comment. Fishy…
Her jealous Labour colleagues call power hungry Stella Creasy “St. Ella”, however when it comes to expenses Stella is no saint. Guido has come across this recent Tesco expenses claim submitted by the Labour MP:
How does she keep her slim figure?
UPDATE: Stella would like to make clear the snacks were for her volunteers. She has generously invited Guido to Walthamstow for a biscuit. Though the taxpayer will be paying.
Lobbyists and spinmeisters who coined it on the back of Viktor Yanukovych’s authoritarian Ukrainian regime are getting jumpy. Meet James Wilson, a leading light at city spin shop FIPRA (Finsbury International Policy & Regulatory Advisers) who looks after firm’s Ukrainian clients. Oddly enough Wilson’s work at FIPRA Ukraine is not declared on the EU Transparency register. That despite FIPRA’s own website confirming that he is in charge of spinning for the Federation of Employers of Ukraine, who are backed by Yanukovych ally Serhiy Kurchenko, one of only 18 Ukranian kleptocrats to be hit with an EU asset freeze and travel ban. Possibly to do with him defrauding the Ukraine’s coffers of more than $1 billion…
Wilson is listed as a representative of the innocuous sounding “EU Ukraine Business Council” set up to “promote trade, economic and business links between Ukraine and the EU and initiate projects that contribute to the development of Ukraine”. The Chamber, whose offices are located in Viktor Yanukovych’s powerbase of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine, holds regular conferences in the European Parliament, where it euphemistically claims to “help to solve market access difficulties”. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink…
Also among Wilson’s clients is shady pharma firm Alcon, who have been embroiled in several bribery scandals, to top it all, he also spins for the State Administration of Sevastopol – who have just declared independence from Kiev, backed up by Russian troops. Presumably they’re going to start paying him in roubles…
Another reason to want the EU to buzz off. New figures revealed this morning show that DEFRA and the EU have stung the taxpayer with a £1 million bill… for looking at bees. The £1,009,861 funding from the bumbling European Commission has gone to “projects relating to bees” such as the National Bee Unit, the Bee Health Inspectorate and BeeBase, an IT system which catalogues information about bees. Are they pollen our leg?
That’ll be £1.5 million please, Mr Tony…
The £10,000-a-week expenses Gordon gets from his company are clearly not enough for the Prime Mentalist, who new figures reveal has claimed £215,000 in public duties cost allowance in the last two financial years. The money is offered so ex-PMs can “fulfil their public duties”, though since Gordon has said he is an “ex-politician”, barely bothers attending parliament and spends most of his time flying around the word giving speeches for huge sums of money, Guido is struggling to work out why the taxpayer is still topping him up.[…] Read the rest
‘Comedian’ turned wannabe politician Rufus Hound embarrassed himself when he said “David Cameron wants your kids to die” while announcing his decision to run for the European Parliament last month. Moralising Hound summed up his policies as:
“We all pay our little bit of tax and our fair share, and for that we expect schools, hospitals, police, fire service and a little bit of defence.”
But does Rufus himself pay his ‘fair share’?[…] Read the rest
This week Guido reported GCHQ’s sophisticated plans to infiltrate social media and blogs, presumably with the aim of fomenting revolution overseas. Now the EU is plotting something even more sinister, spending £2 million on internet trolls to subvert online Eurosceptic debate.[…] Read the rest
The Times splashes on Peter Bone being questioned under caution over a £100,000 benefit fraud involving Mrs’ Bone’s mum. It is alleged that taxpayers’ money was used to fund her care after her assets were apparently deliberately concealed. The real figure for how much money the Bones cream off the taxpayer could actually be double that at £200,000.[…] Read the rest
Labour MP Alex Cunningham takes a special interest in youth issues and even has his own “Youth Manifesto” in which he vows to “support a change in legislation to eradicate the age banding for the minimum wage”. Cunningham tell us: “It is wrong for two people of different ages, who sit alongside each other doing the same job, to receive different wages.”
As Guido reported in yesterday’s Sun column, it was therefore bit of a surprise to see him advertising for office help to work a 37-hour week at £3.37 an hour, half the minimum wage rate.[…] Read the rest
Once again there is a growing list of questions for Sayeeda Warsi over one of her friends. The bitter former Tory Chairman has been keeping schtum after eyebrows were raised when her ally got a lucrative contract from Department of Local Governement that was not publicly put out to tender. […] Read the rest