REVEALED: How Nick Clegg Cooked the Books for £17,652

clegg

Guido can reveal that Nick Clegg overspent by £17,652 in his Sheffield Hallam short campaign, then cooked the books so his declarations came in under the limit. Clegg’s official declarations claim he spent £14,138.77 in his short campaign:

Yet a second internal budget schedule obtained by Guido reveals Clegg’s true expenditure in Sheffield Hallam. This bombshell document admits Clegg actually spent £36,852.89 in his Sheffield Hallam short campaign. Astonishingly, under the column headed “What you’ve got left”, the figure “- £17,652.89” appears. This is prima facie evidence that Clegg broke electoral law – Clegg overspent by over £17,000…

CLEGG2

Clegg disguised his overspend by declaring £14,120.31 of his Sheffield Hallam spending as part of the national campaign. His Election Address – which by statute, namely the Representation of the Peoples Act, explicitly states is for the local candidate’s spend only – was declared as part national spend. His vehicle hire, room hire and agent costs were all declared as national spend. A further £5,913.45 was then “offset” for local elections and future campaigns. This is classic cooking the books – the document we have obtained admits that in reality all this spending was part of the “Sheffield Hallam Short Campaign Budget”.

A LibDem spokesman says spending was apportioned correctly to the national and other local campaigns in Sheffield Hallam:

“The figure of £-17,652 that you refer to is the amount spent above an indicative figure in a draft template budget. It does not relate to spend over and above an election spend limit. Any claim or suggestion of an overspend on the constituency return is misleading and factually inaccurate… We are confident that all spend has been correctly attributed to the appropriate return.”

It’s there in black and white – “What you’ve got left: -£17,652.89” – that looks like the true figure to Guido…

Cat Smith’s Campaign Organiser’s Cover-Up Busted

BEN+SINGLETON
Guido’s revelations
last week about Corbynista Labour MP Cat Smith’s mysterious election expenses exposed one of the most serious individual cases of alleged expenses fraud so far. Unlike the systematic and centrally focused allegations surrounding the SNP’s chopper, or Labour and the Tories‘ national battle bus spends, Cat Smith’s returns represent an individual candidate conspiring to conceal a series of overspends in a closely fought marginal constituency. If found guilty Smith personally, not a party machine, will bear the responsibility

One of the key false declarations made by Smith is that her campaign organiser, Ben Singleton, spent just 12.5% (around four and a half days) of the short campaign working for her, allowing her to deduct 87.5% of his salary costs off her final election expenses declaration. Guido has already uncovered substantial evidence demonstrating that Singleton worked far more than this on her election campaign. Now, after an extensive search, Smith’s 12.5% claim looks even less credible…

Singleton realised Guido was investigating him and guiltily deleted his Twitter feed from public view – so we found alternative evidence sources. Pictures uncovered from a series of third-party social media posts show Singleton present on Smith’s campaign for at least 10 different days during the short campaign, which lasted just 39 days between March 30 and May 7. It is hard to find an event of hers in which he wasn’t involved. Several social media posts (including Singleton himself registering as attending two of Smith’s campaign events) show that the organiser was more involved than Smith has previously claimed. One of those events was a pro-Cat Smith rally featuring Eddie Izzard, also undeclared…

Making false declarations is a criminal offence, it could lead to her election being invalidated and Cat Smith going to prison. The evidence photos show Singleton alongside Labour grandees Tristram Hunt MP, Maria Eagle MP, and Theresa Griffin MEP. Will they be willing to testify on Comrade Smith’s behalf?

More to follow…

Cat Smith Expenses Cover Up

A very interesting development for the police investigating Labour MP Cat Smith’s election expenses. Cat claimed her election organiser spent just 12.5% of his time on her campaign – she would have bust her spending limit if his entire salary had been declared. So the cops will be intrigued to learn that, since Guido’s story, Smith’s organiser Ben Singleton has ‘protected’ his tweets. Something to hide, Ben?

singleton

Why might Singleton want his tweets kept secret? Well, Guido looked through his posts. During the election he tweeted exclusively about Smith, and not about any other candidates. This would suggest he spent a lot more than 12.5% of his time campaigning for her. As you can see below, Singleton appeared time and time again in tweets and photos relating to Smith’s local campaign:

ben singleton compilation

 

What’s more, Singleton’s public Facebook activity from the election is almost entirely devoted to Cat Smith, and not any other candidates:

ben

From the evidence available, it simply isn’t believable that Singleton spent just 12.5% of his time on Smith’s campaign. He was her devoted organiser. If Smith had declared his true salary accordingly, she would have bust her limit. Singleton suddenly hiding his tweets from public view shows they are on the run…

Jim Shannon Ordered to Repay £14,000 Expenses

shannon

A hugely damning verdict from IPSA following their investigation into the expenses of DUP MP Jim Shannon. He has been ordered to pay back a massive £14,000 in staff mileage claims. Some choice findings:

“The records kept by the MP’s office are completely inadequate and make it impossible to conduct a viable external audit of the activities undertaken”

“The methods for the submission and collation of mileage claims by individual staff members are equally woeful.”

“the current situation is unsustainable, and Mr Shannon must engage with IPSA with a view to conducting a fundamental review of his constituency office management”

Read the findings hereAbout as harsh a condemnation as IPSA ever give…

Eddie Izzard’s Hotel Bills Not Lawfully Declared

Eddie Izzard Alex Sobel Leeds Labour

On Sunday the Labour Party told Channel 4 News that they “never spent any mone y putting volunteers up in hotels during tours” in the general election. Channel 4 reported that “so far no evidence has emerged to contradict them”. Until now…

On April 20 2015, Eddie Izzard travelled to Leeds North West to campaign on behalf of Labour candidate Alex Sobel. As you can see above, Izzard had pictures taken with the candidate, in front of posters bearing the candidate’s name. There can be no doubt this was local campaigning…

Yet the invoice above shows Labour’s national campaign paid for Izzard’s hotel in Leeds on April 20. This is a flagrant breach of the rules – Izzard was an activist who campaigned for a local candidate, so his hotel bill should have been declared as part of the candidate’s local spend. It also shows Labour’s claim that they never put activists up in hotels to be untrue. Just because Izzard is a celebrity doesn’t mean he isn’t an activist, the rules still apply…

Police Investigating Shadow Minister Over Election Expenses

Detectives have launched an investigation into shadow minister Cat Smith after Guido revealed a string of anomalies in her election expenses. Last week we reported that several thousand pounds were missing from the Labour MP’s spending declarations. Smith herself refused to comment, though her election agent denied wrongdoing. In the past few days Lancashire Police have received a number of complaints from members of the public, and last night they confirmed that detectives have launched an investigation. This is the first police investigation into a Labour MP over 2015 election expenses…

Worth noting that the Cat Smith case is different from all the other election expenses stories. Smith’s spending irregularities are not about battle buses or hotels for activists. Much more worryingly, this is about how she declared her office rent and staffing costs, many thousands of which were not declared in her campaign expenditure. As an individual case, this is more serious than any of the other election fraud stories of the last few weeks. Read Guido’s original story showing how Smith’s declarations were a work of financial fiction here

Sturgeon Ducks Chopper Question

Nicola Sturgeon faced a grilling from Kay Burley this afternoon following Guido’s revelations about the SNP’s helicopter spending during the general election. Sturgeon didn’t answer the key point that the chopper was used to campaign for local candidates…

SNP MP Swerves Questions About Own Party’s Spending

Pete Wishart is the SNP MP who wrote to the Met demanding a full investigation into Tory election fraud. Yet Pete had no answer when the Daily Politics asked him about Guido’s story on the Nats’ own spending:

Jo Coburn: “It’s been alleged that Nicola Sturgeon’s helicopter tour at the last election included some local campaigning. Are you confident that the cost of that helicopter was all properly declared?”

Wishart: “Listen, we want national leaders to go to constituencies…” 

JoCo: “Yeah but that wasn’t my question. Are you confident it was properly declared?”

Wishart: “There’s always what about if-ery and all this sort of stuff…”

The Nats insist the helicopter was rightly declared as national spend, but the Electoral Commission say that if it was used for any local campaigning – as it was – the cost should be divvied up. The MP who called the cops on the Tories has no answer…

SNP Chopper Not Declared Properly

Last night the SNP wrote to the Met Police asking them to investigate the Tories for failing to properly declare their election battle buses. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…

Back during the election campaign, the SNP used a helicopter to fly Nicola Sturgeon around Scotland.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

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”…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

LibDem Who Complained to Police About Tory Election Fraud Broke Spending Rules

Former LibDem MP Adrian Sanders has been at the forefront of police complaints about election spending fraud. He even wrote a template letter for concerned constituents to dob candidates in to the cops:

“The criminal offence allegations if proven are very serious indeed.

[…] Read the rest

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13 Labour MPs Didn’t Declare Hattie’s Pink Bus

Since Guido started looking at Labour’s battle bus spending, readers have been in touch to ask where Harriet Harman’s famous pink bus fits in. Well, it’s a very good question. Electoral Commission data shows that 13 Labour MPs who claimed they spent nothing on transport benefitted from activists transported into their constituencies in Hattie’s pink van.[…] Read the rest

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Shadow Minister’s Missing Money Mystery

Cat Smith is a Shadow minister and leading Corbynista who worked for Jezza before he became leader. While investigating Labour’s election spending trickery, Guido came across a series of anomalies in Smith’s declarations. They raise questions about potentially thousands of pounds of missing money.[…] Read the rest

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Another Labour MP Failed to Declare Campaign Battle Bus

This tweet shows Tom Watson and Jon Ashworth taking the Labour Express battle bus to Paula Sheriff MP’s Dewsbury constituency on March 7 2015.[…] Read the rest

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Top LibDem Avoided Overspend By Not Declaring Battle Bus

This video shows the LibDem election battle bus rocking up in Duncan Hames’ Chippenham constituency on April 29 2015. At the time the Guardian reported the bus was used by the LibDems to ferry activists from London to constituencies around the country so they could deliver leaflets.[…] Read the rest

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Two More Labour Candidates Didn’t Declare Election Buses

This morning Guido revealed Labour’s election battles buses had not been declared in local spending, the exact same trickery which engulfed the Tories in an election fraud scandal. Well, it appears to be widespread…

On April 4 2015, MPs and activists boarded a Labour Express battle bus to Pudsey in order to help the local campaign there.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Stewart Jackson on Bob Geldof:

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