Lord Oakeshott Wears a Red Rosette

Knocking on doors in Thurrock yesterday alongside Labour’s candidate Polly Billington: ‘independent’ former LibDem peer Lord Oakeshott. Complete with red rosette. Making it official…

UPDATE: Local UKIP opponent Tim Aker is quick to pile in: “Labour’s campaign in Thurrock seems to amount to drafting in London activists and LibDem millionaires”

Greens Condemn Blair’s “Blood Money”

Yesterday Guido suggested that the Green Party should capitalise on the hypocrisy of Labour’s candidates in Brighton, who protested the Iraq War yet remain silent on why they are accepting cash from Tony Blair. It’s not like the Greens, bless ’em, to get punchy, but their Brighton Kemptown candidate Davy Jones this morning steps up and twists the knife into his Labour opponent Nancy Platts. He tells Guido:

“It is blood money and if I were Nancy, I’d definitely be sending it back.”

Meanwhile, a third Labour candidate has rejected Blair’s donation. Gloucestershire candidate Sophy Gardner served in the RAF and says:

“I have taken a personal decision that given my criticism of the Iraq war, in which I served, it would be hypocritical of me to accept it. Therefore, I can confirm I would decline this money.”

Of the hypocritical Labour candidates Guido contacted yesterday to ask if they will give the money back, none responded…

Cut Out and Keep: Miliband In Your Pocket

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Need the perfect gift for the union baron in your life? First it was Len McCluskey, then Alex Salmond and now everyone seems keen to get in on the Miliband-in-my-top-pocket craze:

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Don’t bother spending £12 million in donations to the Labour Party, simply print off the above picture, cut along the dotted line, then tuck the black tab into your suit pocket. Pro tip – mounting Ed on cardboard will make him seem more lifelike.

Khan Questions Mount Over CAGE Cash Link

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust has been forced to halt funding to Jihadi John’s friends at CAGE after it faced widespread condemnation and pressure from the Charity Commission. Both the JRCT and the Roddick Foundation were warned they faced an inquiry over why they gave hundreds of thousands of pounds in grants to CAGE in recent years. Perhaps it is also worth the Charity Commission looking at the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust – a different branch of the same organisation – who also gave £5,000 to Sadiq Khan’s Labour Campaign for Human Rights. Which looks especially murky when you consider Khan spoke at an event in parliament hosted by CAGE in 2012. Why was the key funder of a pro-terror campaign group also bankrolling a human rights organisation run by a man who wants to be Mayor of London? 

John Woodcock: Stationery Investigation Moving Fast

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has launched an investigation into Labour MP John Woodcock’s expenses.

As Guido reported last week, Woodcock is under fire for his use of official stationary and flogging access to Parliament as raffle prizes.

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The ever so transparent process gives only the vaguest of details regarding the fast moving investigation: ‘stationary’. 

Worth noting that the Commissioner has also decided to take up Rifkind and Straw’s self-referrals, though given the snail’s pace that things happen over there, it seems unlikely any investigation will be concluded before the two party grandees leave the Commons. Perhaps in time for the 2016 New Year’s Honours…

Labour Candidate Begs For Blair’s Blood Money

Labour’s target seat candidates are either handing back Blair’s cash on principle or have been shamed into silence. Down in South Thanet, however, which is not a target seat and so hasn’t landed any cash, the Labour candidate has a different approach:

Please, sir, can I have some more?

Blair’s Bloody Money: More Candidates Say No

The fallout from Tony Blair’s £106,000 donation to Labour target seat candidates continues as a second candidate refuses to take his blood money. Yesterday Guido revealed in the Sun on Sunday that Northampton candidate (and former Blairite) Sally Keeble was in line to receive Blair’s cash despite being a vocal critic of the former PM. She has now given the money back:

“The £1,000 donations are being offered to key seats – of which we were one. I have emailed them back to say we won’t be accepting.”

Yesterday Labour’s Dundee East candidate also said thanks but no thanks:

Attention seeking she may be, but it’s not like she lied to start a war, eh Al?

Before he was taking Blair’s cash, Labour’s Norwich South candidate Clive Lewis said of the former PM: “History will be his judge.” He sneered: “Tony, baby – stick to your fluffy Christmas cards. You had your chance.”

Rupa Huq, Labour’s candidate in Ealing, was also a fierce Blair critic, arguing the “legitimacy” of the Iraq War has been “demolished”.

Caitlin Bisknell, who is running in High Peak, admits “we didn’t have the evidence at the time”, while Brighton Kemptown candidate Nancy Platts warns “the Iraq War was the tipping point… some Labour voters, members and activists were lost for good”.

Brighton Pavilion candidate Purna Sen even went on marches in London, Oslo and the Middle East protesting against the war.

Several of the aspiring MPs given cash by Blair have sat in the Commons before: Bob Blizzard, David Drew and John Grogan all voted against the war in 2003.

How many more will stick to their principles and hand back the cash – which Blair is effectively laundering from foreign dictatorships – before the day is out?

GOD Delusion: Pampered Panjandrum Strikes Back

There’s a punchy interview with the departed head of the civil service Gus O’Donnell on the front page of the Indy. The former Cabinet Office bigwig has settled a few old scores with ‘out of touch’ ministers:

“There are still a few out there [who say:] ‘We send our kids to public schools, we have private health care, we travel by car or chauffeur, we don’t go on public transport… There are unfortunately too many people in politics who just don’t get it; who just don’t understand what life on benefits would be like… we need to really care about public services”.

While Guido likes GOD’s idea for primaries, it would be remiss for him not to point out that Gus sent his own daughter Kirsty to Alleyn’s, the private school in Dulwich. He also enjoyed the spoils of the Government Car Pool chauffeur service when in office, and was on a higher salary (and pension) than the PM. Just sayin’… 

John Woodcock Referred to Standards Commissioner

The long campaign is well underway, meaning candidate spending is limited to £30,700 and MPs are looking for ways to bend the rules to keep costs down. John Woodcock, for example, has sent his constituents a letter backing a ‘non-partisan’ third-party charity which, coincidentally, […]

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HMRC Paid 600 Staff to Sit at Home in IT Bungle

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HMRC wasted £2 million paying staff to sit at home because a spanking new IT system didn’t work for three months. According to Accountancy Age, 600 newly recruited staff were paid 75% of their wages to clock in to […]

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Strange Jowell Movements

Among those walking through the Aye lobby as Labour voted to ban MPs from holding paid directorships and consultancies was Dame Tessa Jowell. So strongly does Tessa feel about MPs’ “double jobbing” at consultancy firms, that she is paid £1,000 […]

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Top 100 Charity Fat Cats on £145,000 Median Pay

According to research by Third Sector magazine the median salary for each top earner among general charities such as Save the Children, Cancer Research UK and the British Red Cross was £145,000 – more than the British Prime Minister […]

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Quote of the Day

Andy Burnham finally repents on the deficit…

“If we are to win back trust we have to start by admitting that we should not have been running a significant deficit in the years before the crash.”

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