Osborne’s £4 Billion Budget Black Hole

So the Budget vote goes ahead tomorrow with a £4 billion spending black hole – the money to pay for the PIP u-turn will not be found until the autumn.

The government will also u-turn on the tampon tax and solar panels, not opposing Labour’s amendments.

The PMOS says Cameron “absolutely” retains full confidence in the Chancellor…

Through The Keyhole: Lansman’s £1.5 Million Pad

lansman flat exterior

Guido readers will remember that People’s Momentum chief Jon Lansman runs the grassroots Corbynista group from a million pound luxury riverside apartment at Shad Thames. But where did the Bennite previously reside? This is Lansman’s former four-storey property in Shoreditch, which sold for £1,525,000 in April last year. Making a profit of £800,000…

The veteran Corbyn campaigner’s pad, which went for nearly triple the average London house price, featured three bedrooms and two spacious reception rooms across nearly 1,800 square feet of prime Shoreditch real estate:

His impressive bookshelf includes books on Lenin, Stalin and almost an entire shelf devoted to Tony Benn:

lansman bookshelves zoomed 2

The trendy magazine rack is stacked full with copies of the New Statesman and Tribune:

Lansman magazine rack

Pride of place in Lansman’s living room is a statue of Karl Marx, in Corbynista-red:

marx flat lansman

And of course there is well stocked wine cellar:

Champagne Corbynista…

Mystery of ‘£5 Million’ Taxpayer-Funded Website That Ran For 3 Months

How much would you pay for this website about why we should all “back climate action”? £4,000? £40,000? Well, according to a data dump from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, ministers blew a staggering £4.9 million of taxpayer’s money on the beta site, which only ran for three months. Surely some mistake?

Curiously, a DECC source is at pains to tell Guido that the department’s own numbers are wrong. For some reason they won’t give an actual figure, though they say the real cost will be a fraction of what they declared. It can’t just be a simple typo though, because the data also states that DECC originally wanted to earmark £9.1 million for the site to “promote the government’s climate change narrative”. It would be a bad enough mistake to get the £4.9 million figure wrong, how did they come to the £9.1 million one as well?

UPDATE: DECC now say the actual figures are £9,116 and £4,900. “Extra 0’s added due to admin error.”

Guardian Cutting 250 Jobs

Guardian Media Group chief executive David Pemsel emails staff:

Given that over half our current costs are people, we propose to reduce our UK headcount by around 250 people. While protecting journalism remains our priority, we anticipate the impact will be spread across all departments, including editorial. We hope to achieve the target reductions through voluntary redundancy. If we do not achieve the reductions we are targeting through voluntary means, we will consider whether voluntary redundancies are necessary. 

Around 100 editorial redundancies expected. Will Seumas Milne be one of them?

UPDATE: The Midland Goods Shed is also dead. 20% cuts across the board mean that crazy idea “new space for debate, culture and curiosity” is no more. Thankfully…

Penny Mordaunt Given Pearl Necklace

A freshwater pearl necklace from the Chief of the Bahrain Defence Force, no less. The brutal regime also bestowed upon Penny a pricey Omega watch, revealed in the latest declarations of ministerial gifts out today. Gay-flogging Qatar meanwhile bunged Philip Dunne “Concord gents & ladies watches in gift box”. But that isn’t quite as good a headline.

Labour Flog Corbyn’s Signed Little Red Book For £400

Labour are holding their annual northern conference, which kicked off at last night’s private gala dinner and auction hosted by Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson. Interest piqued at one lot in particular – a copy of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book, signed by Tom and Jerry themselves. According to a co-conspirator in the room, the pocket-sized communist pamphlet went to a lucky bidder for £400. As Mao once said, “a revolution is not a dinner party…”

MEPs Open Book on When Kamall Will De-Syed

Capture

Fierce Tory Eurosceptic Syed Kamall’s continued dithering on his referendum decision has inspired MEP colleagues to open a book. Beatrix von Storch and Marcus Pretzell, both Alternative for Germany MEPs, have a £50 bet on whether he will actually manage to decide by June 23rd:

From: VON STORCH Beatrix
Sent: 10 March 2016 13:43
Cc: MEPs & ASSISTANTS-8th-Legislature
Subject: RE: BREXIT

Even in the ECR group we are wondering where Syed stands on this crucial issue. I personally think Syed would like to campaign to Leave – in line with his convictions. However, I also think that he, talented politician that he is, might in the end be campaigning to Remain, for whatever reason.

I have a £50 bet with Marcus Pretzell that Syed will actually manage to decide before June 23rd. Marcus is betting that Syed will not have decided then and completely miss the Referendum.

Best wishes,

Beatrix

UKIP’s Gerard Batten and Paul Nuttall have also entered into a wager: Nuttall thinks Kamall will back Leave, Batten thinks he’ll come out for Remain. Kamall’s delaying tactics have seen Batten attempt to settle the issue once and for all:

From: BATTEN Gerard
Sent: 09 March 2016 22:31
To: KAMALL Syed
Cc: MEPs & ASSISTANTS-8th-Legislature
Subject: BREXIT

Dear Syed,

Your speech this morning contained much to agree with, well done. Unfortunately I did not get the opportunity to Blue Card you and ask a question.

In short, can you let me know which side you are going to campaign on in the Referendum: Leave of Stay?

I have a €50 bet with Paul Nutall that you will campaign to Remain, he is betting you will campaign to Leave. Can you please confirm one way or the other so that one of us can collect.

Regards,

Gerard

A reply was not forthcoming…

Labour MEP ‘Claimed Hawaii Scuba Diving on Expenses’

Wanker

Peter Skinner is the former Labour MEP who allegedly tried to get the taxpayer to pay his £10,000 divorce settlement, in addition to claiming a whopping £480,000 through his Parliamentary Assistance Allowance. What on earth did he spend the dough on?

Well he’s in court today answering allegations that he used the taxpayer cash to buy expensive jewellery and stay in hotels around the world. It is alleged he even used the money to pay for scuba diving equipment in Hawaii and for fancy gourmet meals in Texas. The Euro gravy train case continues…

H/T Court News UK

Feldman Gets Cricked

An out of breath Michael Crick at his best…[…]

+ READ MORE +

EU Spending €3,000,000 More on Chauffeur Driven Limos

Chauffer

Just when you thought the European Parliament couldn’t possibly waste anymore of taxpayers’ money, Brussels technocrats are trying to push through a new initiative to spend millions on limousines and chauffeurs’ uniforms. The proposal would see an extra €3,000,000 a year added to the already hefty €7,000,000 annual transport costs, with  €116,000 of this spent on drivers uniforms alone.[…]

+ READ MORE +

EU Gives Turkey €6 Billion and Vows to Scrap Visas by June

The midnight deal struck in Brussels means the EU and Turkey have agreed:

  • to return all new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey into the Greek islands with the costs covered by the EU
  • to accelerate the implementation of the visa liberalisation roadmap with a view to lifting visa requirements for Turkish citizens at the latest by the end of June 2016
  • the opening of new chapters in the accession negotiations as soon as possible

So the EU is giving Turkey an initial €3 billion in exchange for taking back Syrian migrants, possibly followed by another €3 billion, will lift the visa requirements for Turks entering the EU within three months and will open talks to let Turkey join the EU as soon as possible.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Cash-For-Access MP Faces Standards Commissioner Probe

Laurence Robertson, the Tory MP at the centre of a cash-for-access row following Guido’s two stories yesterday, has been reported to the Standards Commissioner. Edward Buxton, who was Labour’s candidate in Robertson’s Tewkesbury seat, writes to Kathryn Hudson:

Dear Mrs Hudson,

I wish to refer you to the recent allegations that have been made regarding my local Member of Parliament Laurence Robertson and his award of a parliamentary pass to a lobbyist​. 

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Cash-For Access Tory MP Paid £30,000 By Lobbyist’s Client

This morning Guido revealed a Tory MP has given a parliamentary pass to a lobbyist who paid him thousands of pounds. Laurence Robertson was paid £10,000 by a firm run by Jennifer Bryant-Pearson, for whom he subsequently arranged a parliamentary pass.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Tory MP Cash For Access: Pass For Lobbyist Who Paid Him Thousands

A Tory MP has given a parliamentary pass to a lobbyist who paid him thousands of pounds. Laurence Robertson, the infamous cad who employed both his wife and girlfriend on the taxpayer, has authorised access to the parliamentary estate to Jennifer Bryant-Pearson.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Action Dan the Hedge Funds’ Man

The mysterious hedge fund manager who gave Ed Miliband £600,000 before the election appears to be bankrolling Labour’s next great hope, Dan Jarvis. Martin Taylor was the shady Mayfair hedgie who was outed as one of Miliband’s biggest donors last year.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Pro-EU Charities Paid £200 Million By EU

EU funded charities

BSE have put out a press release pushing the line that charities oppose leaving the EU. At least they’re honest about the reason: “New research shows leaving Europe could cost UK charities over £200 million a year“. There is even a handy breakdown showing how much the EU hands out to each charity each year:

Oxfam GB: £38,799,473
International Rescue Committee UK: £22,990,156
The British Council Royal Charter: £19,986,116
The Save The Children Fund: £19,767,256<
International Medical Corps UK: £14,098,995
Mercy Corps Scotland: £11,045,230
World Vision UK: £5,311,721
Plan International (UK): £4,876,119
Actionaid: £4,714,942
British Museum: £4,357,968

In total British charities receive £217,597,098-a-year from the European Union, though in reality this is UK taxpayer cash that has been sent the cogs of Brussels bureaucracy only to be returned to the third sector.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Owen Smith backs one hour contracts but wants to abolish zero hours contracts:

“You need to give people a contract to say, ‘here’s what you will be working’. It could be one, but I’m saying it shouldn’t be zero, we should invert that emphasis.”

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