Andy Burnham: Rent-Swapper

Stories in the Sunday papers about Andy Burnham’s expenses will have rung a bell for Guido readers. During the height of the rent-swapping scandal in 2012, this site reported on how:

“[Burnham is] letting out a London home while renting another property in the capital at the taxpayers’ expense… taking public money to subsidise living in his London flat while renting out another London property at the same time”

Burnham is claiming £17,000 a year on expenses to rent a flat in London, despite owning another property nearby which he rents out for around £18,000.

The taxpayer is subsidising his property portfolio…

CARSWELL FIGHTING UKIP HQ OVER £650,000 SHORT MONEY

Douglas-Carswell-with-Nig-012

Right now everyone in Westminster is amused by the “unresignation” of Nigel Farage – or what the rest of us would call a “weekend off”. That is a done deal. What is not a done deal is the massive internal row between Nigel Farage’s allies in UKIP HQ and Douglas Carswell, UKIP’s only MP, over the control of the £650,000 of Short Money due to them as an opposition party after winning 4 million votes.

Douglas only learnt that Nige had unresigned in Central Lobby when a passing journalist from The Times, Laura Pitel, showed him a tweet on her mobile phone. Fair to say this did not go down well. 

Carswell subsequently emailed UKIP’s top brass insisting on two things; firstly that UKIP in parliament does not need £650,000 of taxpayers’ money to run a parliamentary operation and that he should chair an oversight board that will control the spending of the money. It is fair to say that in the past UKIP’s expense accounting has been almost as bad as that of the European Commission. Douglas tells Guido that

“I don’t think we need a vast amount of taxpayers’ money to do the job. We should be different, we should be prepared to reject taxpayer funding. We don’t need to be on the gravy train to fund staff. UKIP should be about saying no to the political trough. Not taking our fill.”

Short Money is intended to help fund a parliamentary opposition that doesn’t have the benefit of the Civil Service, specifically

  • Funding to assist an opposition party in carrying out its Parliamentary business
  • Funding for the opposition parties’ travel and associated expenses
  • Funding for the running costs of the Leader of the Opposition’s office

Carswell is suggesting that they accept only £350,000 from the taxpayer for the UKIP parliamentary operation. If Carswell is going to sign off the accounts he is insisting he wants to be a signatory to the bank account…

UKIP is “negotiating” the matter with their only MP and a ‘negotiator’ tells Guido:

“UKIP are looking for a way to spend this money for the betterment of our 4 million voters.”

Sources suggest there could also be “an alternative plan B” with another parliamentarian taking the cash.  Carswell says of the suggestion he might be lured back to the Conservatives: “I’m 100% UKIP, and right now I’m 100% of UKIP in Westminster”.

UPDATE: Nigel Farage tells Guido:

“Douglas is the MP for 4 million people and we need to represent them properly.”

Sleazy Labour Candidate Claims Tory Win Will Lead to Suicides

Labour’s grubby candidate for Hendon, the slime-ball former MP Andrew Dismore, has declared vote Labour, or more people will die:

“The graph below shows what has happened to suicide rates in the UK since the Coalition came to power. It was falling during the last two years of Labour government, but almost immediately the Conservatives and LibDem took over the rate began to rise.

The above graph shows that the number of suicides in the UK grew significantly following the introduction of the austerity policies of the Conservative-LibDem coalition. (Source ONS).”

Dismore concludes and long winded and poorly judged rant on his website with this corker:

“I believe that Labour’s economic beliefs are different from the Conservatives in that our approach is based on Judeo-Christian ethics which involve compassion and concern for the under-privileged and the common good.”

Such concern for the common good did not stop the expenses thief claiming on his expenses for a building used to house a homoeopathy clinic run by his girlfriend. Nor making up mileage claims that led the Commons watchdog to tell him to stand down back in 2009:

“Mr Dismore claimed for 5,360 miles — the equivalent of 487 journeys between Parliament and his constituency home 11 miles away in Burnt Oak. During that year the Commons sat for 145 days. Since 2001, the MP, who has consistently opposed reforms to the MPs’ expenses system, has claimed more than £30,000 in travel allowances — far more than his neighbouring MPs.”

Guido will be adding himself to those statistics with glass of whisky and a revolver, if this lying smearing crook is re-elected.

Court Rules Public Can See MPs’ Expenses Receipts

IPSA will have to release copies of MPs’ expenses receipts after failing in an attempt at the Court of Appeal to shield them from the public eye. Currently the expenses watchdog only has to release a brief summary of what appears on the receipt. Now they will have to release full copies, so the next time an MP claims for custard creams the details will be immediately available. A victory for transparency…

UPDATE: An IPSA spokesman says:

“We need to study the judgement carefully.  The Court made clear that this is an important test case with implications not just for IPSA but for all other public bodies.  We were right to test the point of law through an appeal to see whether images of receipts add anything additional to all the information about MPs’ expenditure that we already release.  We remain completely committed to openness and transparency and already publish a detailed breakdown of every claim made by every MP.”

Rent Your Flat To an MP, If You Dare

Nice to see the mansions of SW1 getting a look in – this letter has been posted to flat owners near Westminster – but surely this has to be the biggest fib of the election? MPs will be “good quality, respectable tenants”:

Dolphin Square landlords need not apply…

UKIP Tell Atkinson to Lawyer Up

IMG_2157

Guido hears that suspended MEP Janice Atkinson was told by UKIP’s legal team this morning that there was nothing they could do for her and that she had better get criminal representation very quickly. Apparently Section 6 of the 2006 Fraud Act was the topic of breakfast discussion this morning…

UKIP Suspend Janice Atkinson

UKIP have suspended MEP Janice Atkinson over allegations of financial irregularities. A spokesman says:

“The party is incredibly disappointed with Ms. Atkinson, who appears to have exercised extremely poor judgement in acting in a way that the party has never, and would never condone. The party has acted swiftly and immediately, and just as we showed when we suspended another MEP for financial irregularities, we always maintain a zero tolerance attitude towards acts of this nature.”

Guido understands Atkinson racked up a bill at a restaurant, then an aide allegedly returned at a later date and was filmed haggling with staff to increase the bill so she could claim it on her expenses.

Developing…

UPDATE: Tomorrow’s Sun have full details… with video.

Fast-Moving Stationery Investigation Halted With Apology

Labour MP John Woodcock has said sorry after the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner ruled that he shouldn’t have sent these raffle tickets offering tours of parliament using taxpayers’ money:

“I apologise for this inadvertent breach of the rules, which I have always strived to follow as your member of parliament. I take the proper use of parliamentary resources seriously…”

Yet the injustice doesn’t end there. Woodcock says in a statement:

“The founders of the Save Our Hospital campaign have decided to donate the full 25 per cent of the raffle proceeds – £837.50 to the Hospital Equipment for Furness Fund charity. The cost of the envelopes is being repaid from the remainder of the fund which had been earmarked for materials to be distributed after the forthcoming general election.”

Given it came out of his parliamentary expenses allowance, why doesn’t he just pay it back out of his own money?

Gloria De Piero Shopped For Leaflet Expenses

Labour’s Gloria De Piero is the latest MP to be shopped to the parliamentary authorities for blatant electioneering on the taxpayer. Sending out a survey just days before the Dissolution of Parliament, Gloria invites anyone who completes it to visit […]

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People’s Champion? No Sorry From Sarah

Labour MP Sarah Champion is today paying back the £17 she claimed on expenses for a Remembrance Sunday poppy wreath. Apart from a short statement confirming she would reimburse the taxpayer, Champion has maintained radio silence in the face of […]

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John Woodcock: Stationery Investigation Moving Fast

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has launched an investigation into Labour MP John Woodcock’s expenses.

As Guido reported last week, Woodcock is under fire for his use of official stationary and flogging access to Parliament as raffle prizes.

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The ever […]

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Battered and Bruised: Murphy Slammed Over Irn Bru-Gate

These are the headlines taxpayer-funded Irn-Bru quaffer Jim Murphy is waking up to North of the border this morning. The Scottish Sun says he is “battered and Bruised” after a day of ridicule, the Daily Record accuses him of “drinking […]

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Quote of the Day

Andy Burnham finally repents on the deficit…

“If we are to win back trust we have to start by admitting that we should not have been running a significant deficit in the years before the crash.”

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