EXCLUSIVE: Miller Hits Back Claiming “Levesen” Smears

Once again Maria Miller has tried to use the threat of the post-Leveson age to shut down her expenses scandal. Mary Macleod, PPS to the fatally wounded Culture Secretary, today texted Tory MPs begging for support. Again Miller’s people have cited threats to press freedom. Mary Macleod said:

 

“I believe there is a media witch-hunt on Maria due to Levesen [sic]. How do you feel about it? Happy to answer any questions you may have. She would really appreciate your support. Many thanks Mary”

Too little too late, Guido fears.

Barron of the Troughers’ Union Should Go Too

Labour are cautiously upping their attacks on Miller because they cannot escape the fact that it was a Labour chaired committee that watered down the Standards Commissioner’s report. Once again the Barron of the Troughers’ Union has ridden to the protection of an MP. Not only has Kevin Barron recently blocked attempts by IPSA to reform the expenses structure, his own history is hardly a shining beacon of purity. Thanks to Sir Kevin, MPs can still claim:

  • A £15 evening meal when Parliament sits after 19:30
  • Hospitality tea and biscuits
  • Hotels before 01:00
  • Taxis home before 23:00
  • Contents insurance for a second home
  • Installing a TV in a second home

He blocked IPSA’s attempts to scrap the lot last year.

Back in 2009, Guido pointed out to Barron’s face that he was not fit to lead the Standards Committee given his own tendency to overclaim:

He called Guido a very rude word after the TV ding-dong but did nothing to change his ways. After selling his taxpayer funded home for for a £500,000 profit, Barron began charging the taxpayer £1,500-a-month to rent a three-bedroom London home (also called “contriving a tenancy” by benefit fraud investigators)  owned by shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett. Last week Trickett was trying to clamp down on MPs’ outside earnings, but presumably not income channelled from public money.

To top it all off, Barron also employs his wife Andrea part time in his office. Which is nice little £15,000 boost for the family income.

You can see why Barron did not go public during the threats from Miller and her lawyers – the MP who marks other MPs’ homework is a trougher of the highest order. Labour are struggling with this story because they were in cahoots to undermine Kathryn Hudson. Barron could have blown the whistle at any time during the last year. Guido would never suggest the gong that Sir Kev got during the negotiations had anything to do with his unwillingness to rock the boat.

FLASHBACK: Tories Slam McNulty for Miller Style Expenses
“Brown has to get a grip on what his ministers are up to…”

David Cameron is said to have offered Maria Miller his ‘warm support’ this morning. Rewind to 2009 and the Tories were piling the pressure on Labour Minister Tony McNulty for claiming £60,000 for a home that his parents lived in. Bob Blackman, now an MP, said:

“It is extraordinary. I cannot see that it’s right to provide a home for your parents and ask the taxpayer to pay for it. I think he has badly let down the residents that he represents and I welcome them taking their revenge at the ballot box.”

Maria Miller has been moaning that her own investigation was political motivated because Labour grassed her; yet it was Tory MP Greg Hands (now a whip) who reported McNulty to John Lyon, then the Commissioner for Standards, saying arrangements must be “above reproach”. Look how cross he was then:

“I think Gordon Brown has to get a grip on what his ministers are up to. Sixty thousand pounds of taxpayers’ money has been claimed in expenses on Mr McNulty’s parents’ home in Harrow – clearly something has gone wrong here.”

McNulty lost his job and his seat. Miller has claimed £30,000 more than him and gets a slap on the wrist. “I have accepted the committee’s report in full and I will apologise”, she chuckled.

Evans: “It’s Amazing What Two Grown People Can Do on Sofas”

Today in court Nigel Evans denied sexually assaulting several alleged male victims, accusing the prosecution of trying to paint him as “a cross between Alan Clark, Oscar Wilde and Benny Hill”. Evans said he could not recall two alleged assaults that had taken place while he was drunk, also dismissing claims he put his hands down another man’s boxer shorts on his sofa as “affection”, arguing that “there was affection between us… As you can see from the texts that are available, [there are] kisses at the end of them”. On the alleged sofa incident, Evans said he was looking for:

“A reaction. Hopefully that he might turn around, that something might have happened, that the pass would be accepted and we might take that further in a direction which we both would be happy… It’s amazing what two grown people can do on sofas, Mr Heywood.”

He says he stopped at the man’s stomach. The case continues…

50 Shades of Grayling

Flailing Chris Grayling is trying to fight back at the Howard League of Penal Reform – and pretty much everyone else – for claiming he is banning books from being sent to prison inmates. Writing for ConHome the Justice Secretary insists they have got the wrong end of of his massive stick:

“You can keep up to twelve books in your cell at any one time. All prisoners can access well-stocked prison libraries. The biggest debate I have had over prison libraries so far is whether they should stock 50 Shades of Grey. I decided they could – since if doing so encourages women prisoners to read, that can only be a good thing.

But that’s not all. Prisoners can use their own prison earnings to order any book (within reason) that they want through the prison shop. The only restriction is on receiving unknown and unchecked parcels. What the left can’t deal with is our rehabilitation agenda. It goes against the grain for them. Our approach is to mix tough and compassionate – and to do things differently to get the job done.”

It seems the debate comes down to the fact that books are considered a privilege item. Despite asking Guido is yet to see an example of where they have been banned. Despite the hype…

Fears for Piers in Kensington

“I know of no cases of phone hacking,” the Mail Editor-in-chief Paul Dacre told the Leveson Inquiry. “Having conducted a major internal inquiry, I am as convinced as I can be that there is no phone hacking on the Daily Mail. I don’t make that statement lightly.” Today’s news that Piers was questioned under police caution late last year is the closest Associated Newspapers have come to being tainted by hacking, even though Morgan’s alleged involvement/knowledge stretches back to a time when he was working for a rival news group.

“Piers Morgan’s role as a Mail on Sunday columnist must surely come under pressure now” says an insider at the paper who has knowledge of Morgan’s vast salary, secured when editor Geordie Greig’s predecessor Peter Wright was in charge. “Geordie didn’t hire Morgan, so he shouldn’t find it a problem to release him. It’s a piss poor column anyway.”

Could Dacre and the increasingly influential Lady Rothermere, wife of the proprietor, find themselves in rare agreement in believing that any association with Morgan is bad for business as long as he has a hacking cloud hanging over him? And heaven knows how CNN took the news.

MacShane Out

Convicted fraudster MacShane was sentenced to six months in prison for defrauding taxpayers of £13,000 in forged receipts. He has served just six weeks. The law should be unsparing when lawmakers become lawbreakers – is this really justice?

UPDATE: MacShane is now comparing himself to Corrie star Bill Roache, found not guilty of sex offences yesterday. The difference: Roache was cleared of all charges and MacShane is a convicted fraudster. 

Another Tim Yeo Lobbying Scandal

Scrapbook have got hold of a letter sent on behalf of Tim Yeo to all members of South Suffolk Conservative Association, begging them not to deselect the poor hard done by lamb:

Not only do the rules state that campaigning is not allowed, how did Sir Kenneth Carlile get hold of the addresses of all the members? Guido has a surprise for troubled Tim later…

Yeo Could Face Legal Challenge for Overt Campaigning

Despite party rules stating that he is not meant to be overtly campaigning, Tim Yeo is fighting hard for his political survival in Suffolk. The trougher even sent members Christmas cards for the first time in a decade and has […]

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Say No to Yeo: Tim Gets Tepid Backing

Junior minister and topless enthusiast Dr Dan Poulter has organised a letter of support for the re-selection of his troughing neighbour. Apparently Tim Yeo “has a lot of fuel left in the tank” and “remains very active.” On the golf […]

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IMF Contemplating Mass Expropriation in €-Zone

IMF-exproriation

Christine Lagarde the French chief of the IMF narrowly escaped being charged recently. Her candidacy’s main cheerleader for the IMF was George Osborne, Guido had his doubts at the time. The IMF is searching for a solution for debt laden […]

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Review of 2013: A Very Bad Year for MPs in Guido’s Crosshairs

It was a very bad year for the lying, cheating, criminal politicians that found themselves in the crosshairs of this blog. Guido was in court to see Chris Huhne sentenced to eight months for perverting the course of justice. […]

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Quote of the Day

Miliband is asked if he knows what ‘Yolo’ means by Time Out:

EM“No. What does it mean?

TO: “It stands for You Only Live Once.”

EM: “Is that right? That is a good philosophy for politics! It’s about a sense of adventure and doing what you want. Wow! I’ll use it from now on!”

TO: “Please don’t.”

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