Where is the word party?
Where is the word party?
The Mail have tracked down the will of Joan Edwards, Q2′s second largest donor and things have got a little murky for the Tories and the LibDems. Where it was briefed yesterday that the 90 year old deceased nurse had left the money to the party of government, the will actually states she wanted to leave her entire estate to: ‘whichever Government is in office at the date of my death for the Government in their absolute discretion to use as they may think fit’. That is not the same as giving to parties even if a friend of the late Ms Edwards says she made the money trough shares and was a Tory…
It is very hard to give money not owed to the government though. A row between the Treasury lawyers and Dominic Grieve the Tory Attorney General has broken out with the learned beancounters claiming Grieve said it should be party political donations. Grieve says the opposite and the parties are playing dumb. Guido is sceptical that they let half a million wander into their accounts without picking up a phone though. If they did not then that is a very worrying state of affairs. So if they did ask questions it stinks and if they did not it stinks. So which is it?
The party funding figures are out for Quarter 2 of the year. The Tories are out front with £4,116,006 while Labour’s £3,136,447 is almost entirely from the unions. The LibDems have struggled to even raise a million with £801,448, while UKIP’s £160,289 was double what they raised in Q1.
The biggest donors were:
Unite the Union £772,195 to Labour
Ms Joan L B Edwards £420,576 to Tories
Ms Joan L B Edwards £99,423 to LibDems
GMB £485,830 to Labour
UNISON £458,080 to Labour
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers £411,147 to Labour
Mr Michael S Farmer £280,770 to Tories
Mr James R Lupton £263,600 To Tories
National Conservative Draws Society £165,000 to Tories
CWU £143,121 to Labour
Offshore Group Newcastle Limited £117,300 to Tories
Clearly whoever Joan L B Edwards is, she really really likes the coalition. Labour got another £2,241,419 in short money, yet despite this have gone cap in hand to the bank again:
Labour increases its overdraft facility: £2.43 million additional loan facility entered into in q2 according to Electoral Commission—
Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) August 13, 2013
Let’s hope the Co-op bank will be able to keep up their support. Labour still have more than £12 million in outstanding loans, while the Tories owe £2m. Ker-ching.
UPDATE: According to City AM Ms Joan Edwards left half a million “to whoever was the party in government of the day”. This was then divided down the MP/Ministerial split of the coalition.
According to the ONS the median gross annual earnings for full-time employees in 2011/12 was £26,500. A lower sum than that paid to every single full-time editorial member of staff at the Guardian. Guido has been leaked the pay structures of junior staff, and it makes for an intriguing read in these austere times. Given the interest the paper takes in how much other people are paid, it’s only fair that this document sees the light of day:
For some reason the rates for columnists and executive level staff have been left off the list. And lets not forget all those workers on zero-hour contracts that actually keep the paper and website going…
So Labour’s fightback is going well. With Ed Balls still nowhere to be seen, the cost of living campaign has been left in the expert hands of Chris Leslie and now the Standard have whacked Chuka. Despite recently pledging to ‘control the number of betting shops’ in his constituency because of the ‘huge concern that some streets in our area are steadily filling up with betting shops and payday loan companies that take advantage of our community, rather than help us’, the two-faced Shadow Business Secretary has accepted a £20,000 donation from Neil Goulden, the Chairman Emeritus of the Gala Coral Group. Coral have at least two shops in Chuka’s seat…
The Tories have returned to their favourite game, lining up Bob Neill:
“Can anyone really credibly ever believe anything Chuka Umuna says? He says one thing in public and does another behind closed doors. His hypocrisy seems to be limitless. The only thing we know he truly believes is that the capital is full of “trash” and “c list” wannabes.”
Chuka says it’s all fine because it was a personal donation. Guido looks forward to reading about it in depth on his Wikipedia page…
UPDATE: Goulden is also head of the Association of British Bookmakers, lobbyists for the betting industry, which blows the personal donation line out of the water. Lets home Chuka remembers to declare his interest every time he speaks on the issue now.
The Washington Post has been sold for a quarter of the price that Facebook bought Instagram. It’s valuation at $250 million is $65 million less than Arianna managed to convince AOL to give her for the Huffington Post. The ultimate irony is that print is now being bought up by digital; it’s believed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is spending less than 1% of his fortune on his purchase of this American institution. If this is the price of the Post, other papers better sell up soon before their value drops even further. Guido preparing a bid for the Guardian…
UPDATE: For context:
Washington Post sale for £160m this week is pretty much exactly what Johnston Press paid for the Scotsman as recently as 2005. Crivvens!—
(@alexmassie) August 06, 2013
The Sunday Times may well be appealing the case won by Peter Cruddas against their Insight team, but that has not stopped the former Tory treasurer cracking out the champers. Guido hears that Cruddas has written to a select few who did not put the boot in when he was stung by the the Sunday Times to invite them to a “thank you for standing by me party”.
Given the Conservatives are refusing to give him an official apology, Guido does not imagine many in Downing Street or CCHQ made the invite list.
Is the public sector trade union Unison getting a little jealous of all the media attention that their rivals at Unite have been getting over the last few weeks? Guido hears they are splashing out over £81,000 to hire two new spinners who will earn a lot more than the typical public sector union member gets for their 35 hour week. Spending the cash fixing Labour selections would probably be a more effective way of generating publicity.
Unison clearly have the cash to spare as they took over at Doncaster on Saturday sponsoring the “Unison Raceday” with 7 races including the “Unison Speaking Up For Public Services Maiden Auction Stakes” and the “Unison Everyone Deserves A Living Wage Handicap”. Their baron Dave Prentis has no problems living on his wage, he has a £127,000 pay and benefits package so he can afford to enjoy a flutter…
Tomorrow we will get the judgement in a bizarre legal mess up between Andrew Mitchell’s solicitors and his celebrity barrister David Sherborne. Due to a cock-up Mitchell’s solicitors failed to file their costs and so under the tightened rules will be punished. In front of Master McCloud there was a lot of legal buck passing last Thursday. As a result even if he wins the Plebgate libel case it is likely Mitchell will not be able to claim for his costs which are running at some £500,000.
Damages in his Plebgate libel case are capped at £150,000, so if Mitchell loses his case he could have to pay The Sun’s costs of some £600,000 and his costs of £500,000 – a whopping total of £1.1 million will be divided between him and his solicitors who were acting under a Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA). Ouch!
M’learned friends speculate that Mitchell and his solicitors could end up falling out and suing each other. If the judgement tomorrow goes against Mitchell, his solicitors are likely to appeal meaning the underlying case will be delayed for months.
With the delay Mitchell’s hopes of returning to government in the next reshuffle will come to naught while the case is ongoing…
UPDATE: Mitchell’s lawyers Atkins Thomson, who screwed up the costs claim, have got in touch to say they and Sherborne share the risk of their own costs if Mitchell’s case fails. They also point out the obvious fact that The Sun’s costs are only payable if they lose and they are insured – though m’learned friends tell me the insurance probably won’t cover the whole amount. They also say they won’t fall out with their client…
There has been a painfully obvious concerted effort today from the Tories on Twitter to suggest Labour’s workers’ rights policy has been bought by the unions.
Of course they have a point, though attacking Labour for having a donor involved in setting their workers’ rights policy without even a hint of irony is hardly the most honest attack line ever. Readers will remember Adrian Beecroft, in the “premier league” of Tory donors, who gave well over half a million to the Tories since 2006. Beecroft lobbied Cameron on workers’ rights and no-fault dismissal and even got to write a report on it. The unions buy policy from Labour every day, but the Tories making out they aren’t tainted by dodgy donor dealings is laughable.
UPDATE: Tory source stresses “we decided not to implement the Beecroft report because we didn’t agree with it.”
Lord Patten: Villain of the Week | Sun
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Labour’s Dromey Race Row Explanation Undermined | Sky
Dromey Under Fire for Pikey Tweet | Mail
Dromey Accused of Racism | Telegraph
Labour MP’s Rebakah and Dave Christmas Card | Indy
Best Photo of Mandela You Will See | UsVsTh3m
We Have to Tell the Truth About the NHS | Fraser Nelson
Mandela and the Banality of Goodness | Simon Jenkins
Ed Miliband tweets to latest celeb selfie pal Lily Allen:
“Lovely to see you last night!”