Crick Crick’d

Michael Crick finally touched on the Labour expenses fraud on Wednesday, having previously devoted his coverage to the Tory version of the story. After a brief chase around Smith Square, Guido caught up with him for a chat. On the other parties, he promises “more in the next few days”…

Bus-ted: Tories Admit Dodgy Election Expenses

battlebus

The outrageous expense fiddling in South Thanet revealed by Channel 4 earlier this year led to a full blown Electoral Commission investigation. While previously the Tories have denied any knowledge of wrongdoing, a new investigation by Channel 4 has prompted the party to come clean over the £38,000 cost of accommodation for Battlebus activists:

” As is apparent from our National Return, the Party declared expenditure related to our CCHQ-organised Battlebus.

However, due to administrative error it omitted to declare the accommodation costs of those using the vehicles. This is something we have already brought to the attention of the Electoral Commission in order to amend the return.  

The Party always took the view that our national Battlebus, a highly-publicised campaign activity, was part of the National Return – and we would have no reason not to declare it as such, given that the Party was some millions below the national spending threshold. Other political parties ran similar vehicles which visited different Parliamentary constituencies as part of their national campaigning.”

If the Conservatives are found to have paid the hotel bills for Battlebus campaigners on locally focussed campaigns, then not declaring the accommodation could constitute a criminal offence. Channel 4’s investigation is set to air on the news tonight. Guido will be watching…

Race Row Channel 4 News Reporter’s Non-Apology

The Channel 4 News reporter who sent racially-charged tweets and slurred injured British soldiers has tweeted a grudging non-apology following Guido’s stories:

An apology for “offence caused” is not an apology…

Note that Baig fails to apologise for his tweets on “House Muslims”, “uncle Toms” and “coconuts“. He also refuses to clarify if he recognises the Ahmadiyya community as Muslim. Channel 4 have refused repeated requests to disclose how many complaints they have received about Baig’s conduct, and what their investigations into his behaviour found. They also won’t tell us if they are happy with his non-apology, which only made things worse for Baig. Guido’s inbox has been inundated with complaint after complaint sent to Channel 4 about their extreme reporter…

Channel 4 News Were Repeatedly Warned About Extreme Reporter

It has emerged that Channel 4 News were repeatedly warned about the conduct of their reporter Assed Baig well before Guido revealed his racially charged tweets and slur on injured British soldiers. Guido has seen a complaint sent to Channel 4 News about Baig back in November 2014. The complainant, himself a Muslim, claimed that Baig displayed “worrying tendencies” and warned “there is a clear line of racism in many of his comments”. They suggested Channel 4 take “a quick look on Twitter at Mr Baig‘s feed”. Channel 4 responded that “Your concerns have been passed on to the editorial team” but seemingly no action was taken.

Guido also understands that another complaint was made several weeks ago about a report Baig fronted on the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Baig is said to have described Ahmadis as “people who describe themselves as Muslim”, a controversial statement given the persecution they face at the hands of other Muslims. Channel 4 News have refused to give Guido an answer on whether they are investigating complaints about Baig. They will only tell Guido that Baig’s other views were expressed before his employment. Yet this is something he said on air on Channel 4, and bosses have done nothing…

Media Minister Monitor: Battle of the Producers

MMM-February-the-shows

Yesterday Guido brought you Minister Media Monitor, our new resource monitoring ministerial broadcast appearances. As Craig Oliver implements a “one minister a day” policy, the battle is on between producers to land a government spokesman for their programme. In February Sky News and the World at One were the most successful at getting ministers on, followed by the Today programme and Question Time. Piers Morgan only granted one minister a spot on Good Morning Britain. The full numbers show just how few ministers Downing Street authorises to go on the airwaves, another key decline in accountability…

Labour Sign Up Varoufakis and Paul Mason

On Saturday Channel 4 News economics editor Paul Mason, Guido’s favourite self-confessed Marxist, announced he is quitting and going freelance. He says he wants to be free from the shackles of broadcast impartiality regulations:

“everybody who knows me also knows the price you pay in terms of having to button your lip. Fifteen years is enough”

At last we’ll find out what he really thinks!

No sooner had he announced his departure when this press release popped up in Guido’s inbox:

EMBARGOED NEWS FROM LABOUR: Paul Mason joins John McDonnell’s ‘New Economics’ series

He’s joining his old mate Yanis Varoufakis (who is now advising Labour) on the Shadow Chancellor’s class consciousness lecture circuit, of course. Mason says he’ll work with any party who wants him:

“I am delighted to take part in the economic debate Labour – and indeed all political parties – need to have, in the face of the failure of free market economics.”

A Greek comedy…

Crick Reveals More Tory Expense Fiddles

Channel 4 News last night exposed more allegations about Tory overspending in South Thanet. Michael Crick’s investigation revealed:

  • More hotels booked that were not declared.
  • CCHQ Campaign Specialist Marion Little personally booked hotel rooms in her name, registered to her home adress in Hertfordshire.
  • Allegedly over 770 nights of hotel room bookings made, covering all three by-elections, were linked to Little.
  • An email in which Little coordinated moving equipment and activists between undeclared hotels.
  • The Tories legal agent for the whole campaign, Victoria Goff, signed off on an election declaration that omitted hotel overspends. This is despite her staying in a room at one of the undeclared hotels.
  • Local Conservatives working for the Tories in Clacton have now demanded an inquiry into potentially illegal by-election spending.

That’s plenty for the Electoral Commission to investigate then…

Soubry V Farage

Anna Soubry and Nigel Farage got engaged in a rather lively debate on Channel 4 News tonight. And this is only the beginning of the campaign…

Labour MP: Corbyn Should ‘Grow Up’ and Quit ‘Stop The War’

Birmingham MP Jess Phillips was on fine form on Channel 4 News last night debating with Stop The War co-founder John Rees. She didn’t take too kindly to the implication she wasn’t a straight talker…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Channel 4 Employ CAGE Extremist

C4 news islamist

Channel 4 has taken on a new training scheme employee for its flagship current affairs investigation programme Dispatches. However, someone at HR may have been slightly lax with background checks, because the new hire is none other than former […]

+ READ MORE +

Government Considering Privatising Channel 4

Downing Street snapper Steve Back (@PoliticalPics) has once again papped someone indiscreetly holding up “sensitive” papers as they walk into No. 10, this time revealing the government are looking at privatising Channel 4:

[…]

+ READ MORE +

When Jacob Met Jess

In an unusually watchable piece of television on Channel 4 News last night, Jacob Rees-Mogg gave Labour rising star Jess Phillips a tour around his North East Somerset constituency. Watch out for the part where Philips compares the long-serving Rees-Mogg […]

+ READ MORE +



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