Sir Malcolm Rifkind:
“I want to have a standard of living that my professional background would normally entitle me to have.”
Perhaps time to get out of ‘public service’ then, Sir Malcolm…
Miliband is quick out of the blocks in trying to use Jack Straw’s suspension to hit the Tories:
Dear Prime Minister,
I write this letter to you not just as leader of the Labour Party but as someone who believes that we all need to act to improve the reputation of our Parliament in the eyes of the British people.
I believe MPs are dedicated to the service of their constituents and the overwhelming majority follow the rules. But the British people need to know that when they vote they are electing someone who will represent them directly, and not be swayed by what they may owe to the interests of others.
Two years ago I said Labour MPs would not be able to hold paid directorships or consultancies after the next election.
My party is also consulting on legislation to make this a statutory ban, as well as imposing a strict cap on all outside earnings by MPs.
Today I can confirm that these measures will be included in my party’s General Election manifesto.
The low levels of trust in politics demands clarity and I urge you to follow my lead in banning paid directorships and consultancies.
There have been too many scandals about conflicts of interest in recent years.
It is time to draw a line under this and ensure these current allegations are the last.
I am sure you will agree this is a problem which affects all parties.
I believe these are circumstances which demand action and leadership.
I look forward to receiving your response.
Miliband knows the business folk and lawyers on the Tory backbenchers will not put up with it. Canny…
According to Dispatches:
The fictitious company
PMR, a communications agency based in Hong Kong was set up, backed by a fictitious Chinese businessman. PMR has plenty of money to spend and wants to hire influential British politicians to join its advisory board and get a foothold in the UK and Europe.
12 MPs who already had significant outside interests were invited to apply for jobs with PMR.
Not all politicians are for hire. Half of those approached didn’t respond. One said he wanted to check us out in Hong Kong so we took it no further. And another said he just wasn’t that interested. Of the others, two stood out – Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw.
12 eh? Hope IPSO don’t get on their fishing trip high horse again…
With the video feed on a five minute delay for security reasons and evidence relating to Russian state responsibility heard in private, the Litvinenko inquiry began today. His lawyer, Ben Emmerson QC, accused the Kremlin of committing “the calculated pre-planned murder of a British subject on the streets of our capital city by agents of a foreign government”, claiming “the trail of polonium traces leads not just from London to Moscow but directly to the door of Vladimir Putin’s office”. He says Putin is “a common criminal dressed up as a head of state”.
The inquiry was told the evidence will show MI6 informant Litvinenko was poisoned twice, famously at a hotel bar and also in an office two weeks earlier, where suspects Andrey Lugovoi – now a Russian politician – and Dmitry Kovtun had been present. Lugovoi and Kovtun, charged with Litvinenko’s murder in absentia, have been invited to appear by video link. It is alleged radiation was found in places visited by Lugovoi and Kovtun in London, including on the aeroplanes they had travelled in, cars, restaurants, hotels and Arsenal football club’s Emirates stadium.
Before he died, Litvinenko claimed:
“I know that this order about such a killing of a citizen of another country on its territory, especially if it is something to do with Great Britain, could have been given only by one person. That person is the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.”
The inquiry continues…
Police line-ups are notoriously unreliable, but a new scientific study may have stumbled across a more accurate way of identifying criminals – the BO test. According to the study published in the Public Library of Science, our noses could be more reliable than our eyes when it comes to picking out a bad guy.
In order to prove their overlooked “nosewitness” identification concept, the smell boffins behind the study showed some participants a short video of a man carrying carrying out a crime against a woman while a jar of body odour was wafted in front of them and other participants a neutral video with the same smell.
The participants rated the video in terms of “vividness, pleasantness and arousal” – the crime video were “rated as significantly more arousing”. When given a smell lineup 15 minutes later 68% of those who saw the crime and 45% of those who saw the neutral video were able to identify the odour.
The study notes that although highly arousing events such as witnessing a crime usually lead to a decline in visual recall of the event, it seems we are wired to remember odours encoded during negative emotions.
Is Lynx the new balaclava…
“What really matters about members of the government is not their silly misbehaviour, it’s the way they’re crucifying millions of people” writes multi-millionaire Labour loon Michael Meacher. That alone from his rant in the Morning Star would be worthy of the Order of the OTT, but what followed
“A million people have been sanctioned by government ministers over this last year, which means that they are deprived of all their benefit for often petty infringements – such as being five minutes late for a job interview – and hence have no money for at least four weeks and sometimes three months, forcing them to steal to survive. If they’re caught, the penalty for stealing some meat from a supermarket might be a fine of some £200, which of course they cannot conceivably pay, or it might be six weeks in prison.
During and after the Napoleonic wars there were up to 200 offences for which a person could be hanged, usually for stealing to keep their family alive. The people of this country sitting on the juries finally got round this draconian repression imposed by the ruling class by refusing to convict. That is what juries and magistrates should do now when faced by the stark injustice of the criminal justice system.”
Loot and be merry, comrades.
Disgraced David Ruffley continues to strut around Westminster without a care in the world, despite being deselected by his local association in Suffolk following his caution for assaulting his girlfriend. As Guido revealed in the Sun on Sunday, now cocky Ruffley has told friends that he is line for a peerage when he stands down. Such a move would invoke the wrath of female Tory aides who complained to party whips about his behaviour:
“News to us” says a Downing Street source.
Answers in a text message sent at speed, please…
One topic kept cropping up at Justice Questions today. Chris Grayling took the opportunity to condemn the scourge of using a mobile at the wheel:
“The offence of using a mobile phone while driving is a very serious one. It should be dealt with effectively by the courts, and it is an area where the government is giving active consideration as part of our driving sentences review to strengthen the penalties.
Sadiq Khan is in hiding. He ran away from journalists who doorstepped him this morning and is refusing to comment on the pictures of him using his phone behind the wheel. Presumably to avoid incriminating himself further; the Tories have called in the coppers and it seems Khan is too cowardly to ‘fess up.[…]
He can however listen to BBC London report on the fact his driving antics have been reported to the police:
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For once Sadiq is not answering his phone to any media.[…]
Ask the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to investigate an MP’s pre-2010 expenses and here is the answer you get:
“All records relating to expenses claims before 2010 have now been destroyed. No unredacted information is now available here…”
A committee headed by the Bercow has authorised the shredding of all the evidence.[…]
Scoop from the Yorkshire Post: in 2009 child abuse campaigners in Rotherham sent a five page letter to Denis MacShane detailing concerns about widespread abuse in his constituency, but received no response. In the letter, to which MacShane was copied in, the campaigners wrote: “I would appreciate your urgent response to this letter and more importantly your speedy and effective intervention on this case before one of the children, or another, gets hurt”.[…]