Shapps Throws Feldman Under the Battle Bus

The Tory election expenses scandal is ramping up a notch. Grant Shapps made it crystal clear on the Daily Politics which of the two Tory co-chairman was responsible:

“I can tell you absolutely that compliance was not my area… compliance wasn’t my side of things, campaigning side was my side of things but not the money or the finance”

Asked who was responsible, Shapps replied: “Other people at CCHQ”. The co-chairman in charge of the other “side of things” was Lord Feldman…

Meanwhile the Electoral Commission is meeting with the CPS and police today to decide on applying to extend the limit on prosecuting election expense allegations. Stay tuned…

£500,000 Expenses Fraudster MEP Jailed

skinner peter

Remember Peter Skinner, the Labour MEP who clocked up £500,000 on “expenses” while enjoying a lifestyle of lavish Hawaiian scuba diving holidays, expensive jewellery, and stays in top class hotels? The crook was jailed today for four years. He claimed he had simply been confused about the EU’s generous expenses rules. Brussels is rotten to the core…

Junior Doctors: It’s All About the Money

In the words of Meja, it is all about the money:

Cg9AnwWWIAUq5px

The FT graphic explains the negotiating positions – the government is offering more money for a 7-day NHS, the junior doctors want more still. Struggling on their not undeserved triple average earnings, their strike is not about “saving the NHS”. Who are they kidding? They are diverting taxpayers’ money from the same cash-pot that funds treatments and life-saving drugs into their pockets. They are playing on the natural sympathies of the grateful beneficiaries of their treatments.

Through all this it is important to remember this is not about “stopping the cuts”, there are none, this is not about “the NHS in crisis”. It is all about the money…

10% of Corbyn’s Inheritance Set Aside For CND

10% of Jeremy Corbyn’s significant inheritance was set aside for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Guido can reveal. When the Labour leader’s mother passed away in 1989, she left Jezza and his three brothers a hugely valuable estate worth the equivalent of nearly £600,000 in today’s money. Mrs Corbyn expressed a “hope” that, after taxes, her sons would give one tenth of their inheritance to organisations including the CND and Greenpeace. So that’s where Jeremy got his strong unilateralist principles from. More awkwardly, did Piers Corbyn, the famous climate change denier, really give thousands to Greenpeace as mum wished?

So how much did Corbyn inherit? After taxes Jezza received the equivalent of around £100,000 in today’s money. Dave isn’t the only leader who enjoyed the privilege of well-off parents…

Rotten Robertson at the Races

Robertson Race Course

Last month Guido looked at the murky goings on around Tory MP Laurence Robertson, who was then referred to the Standards Commissioner over allegations of cash-for-access. Well, he’s at it again…

Robertson has received four fully-funded racecourse trips from bookmakers Gala Coral, Ladbrokes and William Hill, as well as two further trips from course owners The Jockey Club. In total, that’s £3,466 of free trips to Aintree, Cheltenham and Chepstow, with the priciest trip costing a whopping £800. Such generosity is only to be expected – in December Robertson raised a couple of helpful questions in the Commons in favour of the so-called “racing right”, a key issue for the racing industry and large bookmakers.

Last month it was cash-for-access claims, this month it’s completely coincidental freebies. Time for a stewards’ inquiry…

Will Corbyn Take £30,000 of Trident Cash?

bae

The photo above shows BAE Systems, the main Trident contractor, advertising at Labour Party conference in Brighton last year. “We are agile in responding to change” they told Corbynistas in a conciliatory approach. Traditionally BAE advertise with Labour every year, paying £30,000 for a stand in the exhibition room. A Labour spokesman says they do not comment on commercial issues. Corbyn won’t take money from McDonald’s, will he line Labour’s coffers with cash from the firm responsible for maintaining our nuclear deterrent?

IPSA: MPs Can Use Expenses to Campaign on Referendum

expenses

Cameron has imposed strict rules on the campaign activities of ministers and SpAds during the referendum, and CCHQ have banned Tory associations from using party resources to campaign for Leave. So Eurosceptic MPs are delighted with a ruling by IPSA last night allowing them to use their office and business costs to campaign on the referendum. The expenses watchdog says MPs’ staff, office resources, websites and casework capacity may be used for campaigning:

“Our approach to MPs’ claims for costs and expenses relating to the EU referendum will be, in essence, no different to claims relating to MPs expressing their views or attending events relating to, for example, the environment. It is a cross-party matter of great importance to the future of the United Kingdom, and, therefore MPs will be expected by their constituents to have a view on the matter and to be making arguments either for remaining or for leaving.”

The only exception will be leaflet production, which remains prohibited. In light of the strict rules imposed on them by their government and party, Eurosceptic Tory MPs are delighted with the ruling. They see it as “game on”. It does of course also mean yet more taxpayer money will be spent on the Remain campaign too…

Osborne Exempts “Politically Exposed Persons” From Money Laundering Checks

MPs complained earlier this year that they are being hounded “like African despots” following anti-money laundering checks from banks like HSBC. These checks are designed to ensure money isn’t being funnelled into criminal gangs or other corrupt arrangements. Charles Walker was furious that MPs and their families are on the list of “Politically Exposed Persons”, the automatic anti-money laundering watch list used by banks:

“It is ridiculously heavy-handed for banks to treat British MPs and their families in this aggressive way. They should be targeting crooked despots and dictators, not MPs’ grannies.”

Because politicians’ family members would never be involved in anything dodgy…

George Osborne this afternoon accepted an amendment to the Financial Services Bill which will see some Politically Exposed Persons and their families exempted from these anti-money laundering rules. Ministers will now “exclude… specified categories of persons” from the list of so-called PEPs, as Osborne says it is “disproportionate” for banks to include MPs and relatives on the watch list. Mossack Fonseca will be able to whisk MPs and their families through the account opening process…

Diane Abbott: Business Class War

Abbott funny

A co-conspirator has spotted a discarded BA Executive Club pass on a pavement outside the Parliamentary estate, belonging to one Ms D Abbott. Diane will want that back before she jets off to lunch with tax dodgers and millionaires in […]

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Eagle Spins Caymans Aide Row

Following Guido’s revelation that the firm run by Labour’s new business tsar was incorporated in the Caymans, the FT’s Jim Pickard has asked Angela Eagle for a comment on her “ethical” business adviser. Eagle replied that Anthony Watson’s […]

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Labour Business Tsar’s Firm Incorporated in Caymans

The financial services firm run by Labour’s new business tsar was incorporated in the Cayman Islands, Guido can reveal. Anthony Watson is the flamboyant president and chief operating officer of Uphold Inc, an online financial services company headquartered in […]

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McDonnell’s £14,000-a-Year Pension Managed in Guernsey

“There has been one rule for the rich and another for the rest of us,” said John McDonnell yesterday as he called on the PM to answer if he had “benefited directly or indirectly” from offshore funds. When McDonnell published […]

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