Tuesday, May 31, 2011

+ + + Tory Lord Taylor Gets 12 Months + + +

Lord Taylor would not be going to prison for a year without a combination of bloggers and Jonathan Calvert of the Sunday Times. Taylor, a former barrister, dishonestly claimed £11,277. For background on the case see Pesky Bloggers Do It Again (Nov, 2009). Amusingly he claimed to a co-conspirator on the Lords of the Blog not long before being charged that:

“For your information, the police have examined my expenses. The police are satisfied that there has been no impropriety or any other cause for concern. They have thanked me for my cooperation, and will not be taking the matter further.”

Alas that turned out to be untrue when it was challenged by a co-conspirator, that very claim on his blog set in course a chain of events that led to him going down today. He would have got away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky bloggers…

Thursday, May 26, 2011

+ + + Tory Lord Hanningfield Guilty on Six Counts + + +

The seventy-year-old Tory peer racked up £14,000 of fake accommodation charges between March 2006 and May 2009. He wasn’t staying in town, but being chauffeured back to Essex instead. His claims that “they were all at it”, however true, did little to help his case. The prosecution closing statement was damning:

“There was no real honesty in making claims that way, because of four reasons – the written rules, the golden rule of ‘don’t make a claim for more than you spend’, there’s nothing to suggest this was the practice, and his behaviour. The way he filled out the forms does not suggest he really believed the rules allowed him to make false claims. It was a deliberate and dishonest decision on his part to fill in the forms in that way.”

He will be sentenced in three weeks time…

Vicky is Answering Questions

Hot on the revelation that Vicky Pryce has signed an affidavit confessing to have taken Chris Huhne’s points hacks may want to ask her a few follow-up questions. If so they should hurry on down to Stationer’s Hall in the City where she is on a panel at an economics conference  at 11.15. Chris Huhne is not answering questions – except to the police, even then he can’t remember the answer…

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

De Ja Huhne

Last week Huhne said to Laura Kuenssberg that the allegations against him “were incorrect”, had been “made before and shown to be untrue”, and that’s all he would like to say on the matter. Yesterday, he was cornered by Channel4 News, and despite being presented with new evidence, he gave the identical statement:

The police are going to want a little bit more detail than that Chris. And Guido doesn’t recommend you laugh in that interview…

Friday, May 20, 2011

+ + + Elliott Morley Gets 16 Months + + +
+ + + Judge Says “Not Particularly Sophisticated” Fraud + + +

Morley pocketed £30,428 by claiming for a phantom mortgage and inflating the amount he was previously paying. He filled out a total of 40 forms relating to payments for his home. In total, he claimed £16,800 on a phantom mortgage and £15,200 after inflating the amount he was previously paying, for which he should have been entitled to only £1,572. David Laws filled out the same forms and claimed some £56,000 to which he was not entitled…

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Met Looking Into David Laws Complaint


Guido understands the Met are looking into the following paragraph from the conclusion of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards report:

 “Mr Laws was in breach of the rules of the House in claiming for repairs and maintenance work undertaken on the second London home in 2007-08, since these additional expenses were not necessarily incurred by him given that his rental claims were already significantly above that which could be justified by his share of living in the property in a sound condition, with the result that his claims for building work benefited someone close to him, namely his partner who owned the property and who lived in it with him, contrary to section 3.3.2 of the July 2006 Green Book.”

The question is whether the “expenses were not necessarily incurred” amounts to dishonesty, in which case they will launch a criminal investigation into possible offences of fraud and false accounting. It does not matter if he did not gain personally, it is only necessary to show another person gained, in this case his partner. Laws was only the tenant, yet he made claims for building work that were the responsibility of the landlord, his partner. Guido seems to remember that a deal was done so that the Met wouldn’t investigate if the Standards and Privileges Committee dished out a punishment. Could have just gone out the window?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

#HuhneTunes is Trending on Twitter

It is worth checking the #HuhneTunes hash-tag for a laugh. Can a cabinet minister survive when he has become a national joke and synonymous with lying? Methinks not…

Friday, May 13, 2011

Why the Laws Punishment Was So Severe

Neo-Guido took on Mark Pack of LibDemVoice last night on the BBC News Channel to discuss why Laws was dished out the humiliating and potentially career ending punishment:

One thing really stands out in the Parliamentary Commissioners report:

“In July 2007, Mr Laws and his landlord moved to a second London property. This was financed in part by a gift of £99,000 from Mr Laws. Mr Laws remortgaged his Somerset property to provide this sum.”

Laws “gifted” the £99,000 to his boyfriend. Effectively he put up part of the deposit. Of course if he had an ongoing interest in the property he would not have been able to claim for the “rent”. Laws deliberately and knowingly played the system to allow him to claim rent to pay for a property in which he would have had an interest if his £99,000 share hadn’t been technically written off as a “gift”. No amount of spin that he could have saved the taxpayer money if he had lived elsewhere can disguise the fact this stinks. A seven day suspension is a humiliation, but Laws, Grender and Pack etc should be glad it’s wasn’t seven months at Her Majesty’s Pleasure…

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Weight of the Law

Laws is to make an apology to the House at 1pm. He just reacted to a savaging from John Lyon by saying “my motivation, as the Commissioner has accepted, was to protect my privacy not to benefit financially”. Not good enough.

Lyon hits the nail on the head – Laws is “guilty of a series of serious breaches of the rules over a considerable time”. He can’t come back to Cabinet anytime soon, which must be frustrating for Clegg given the potential opening shortly. So what next for Laws?

Rumour has it, his house in his Yeovil constituency is up for sale…

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

+ + + Laws Suspended for 7 Days + + +

Sky got the exclusive. Laws will also have to give an apology to the House. Wounding. Very very wounding.

UPDATE: Guido would be very interested in seeing the actual report if someone would care to leak it. You can use Hushmail to email guido.fawkes@order-order.com, securely and completely anonymously – not even Guido will know who sent it. Or fax 07092 012 337. Whisper Guido what you know…


Seen Elsewhere

Labour Was Too Slow for the Squeezed Middle | FT
Papers Pan Cam’s Immigration Pledge | ConHome
Deane of St Edmundsbury? | Times
Pay Volunteers and They Become Cheap Labour | Jill Kirby
UKIP Fundraiser Was Jailed for Running Brothels | Times
Bercow Faces Probe Over Pass Mystery | Mirror
Harman Breaks Rules on Paying Staff | Express
Labour Whinge About Sandi Toksvig Joke | Mail
BBC Boss Search in Disarray | Times
Tory Membership Set to Outstrip Labour | Staggers
Three Cheers for the David Brents | Ed Conway


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John McTernan told Channel 4 News

“You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, you don’t win in politics without breaking legs.”



Rob Wilson says:

Without Predujice

Darling

What time will dinner be ready this evening?

Yours

Rob Wilson MP

In the interests of me I am placing a copy of this email in the public domain.


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