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.

IMG_2102

The ever so transparent process gives only the vaguest of details regarding the fast moving investigation: ‘stationary’. 

Worth noting that the Commissioner has also decided to take up Rifkind and Straw’s self-referrals, though given the snail’s pace that things happen over there, it seems unlikely any investigation will be concluded before the two party grandees leave the Commons. Perhaps in time for the 2016 New Year’s Honours…

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 Irn-Bru on the taxpayer”, while the Herald dubs the expenses claim “Girders-gate”. The editorial in the Scottish Daily Mail is damning:

“It is clear Labour have an electoral mountain to climb but they would find it much easier if they stopped cutting their own ropes and sliding all the way to the bottom time and time again… The light at the end of the tunnel may be no more than a burglar’s torch. For embarrassingly, Mr Murphy’s Westminster expenses show he indented the taxpayer for the princely sum of £1.30 for two cans of Irn-Bru. And while his expenses claim is hardly as egregious as the duck houses and moats fellow members of the Commons – flipping houses for all they were worth to line their pockets with our money – awarded themselves not so long ago, it is damaging all the same. It is a gift to his political opponents, given how adroit they are on social media. Twitter immediately filled with images of people sporting cans of Irn-Bru while proudly declaring they had bought them with their own hard-earned money… This makes it all the more disappointing that he has been foolish enough to let a piffling claim for soft drinks become a stick with which his enemies can beat him.”

Pay it back, Jim…

Jim Murphy Breaks Silence on Expenses Irn-Bru

Finally – some seven hours later – Murphy’s spinners have worked out a line on his shocking Irn-Bru expenses claims. A Scottish Labour Party spokesperson said:

“As most people know, Mr Murphy drinks bucket loads of of Irn Bru. Over the years it’s thought that he has single-handedly kept the House of Commons Irn-Bru supplier in business. He has paid for it himself except for these two cans totaling £1.30.”​

Which slightly misses the point as to why these two were on expenses.

There is no apology nor any explanation here.

Pay it back, Jim…

Tim’s Troughing Far From Yeo-ver

YEO

Three decades of his MPs’ salary, expenses and all those lucrative green energy interests and troughing Tory Tim Yeo is still at it. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun, even though he is leaving Westminster in just three months, Yeo has hired his long-suffering wife Diane as his new office assistant. Parliament dissolves in a matter of weeks so the taxpayer is paying the Yeo family to packs his bags…

Murphy Slammed for Irn-Bru: “Taxpayers Fizzing With Rage”

The Taxpayers’ Alliance are not impressed with Jim Murphy and his Irn-Bru expenses claims:

“This is ludicrous and will leave taxpayers fizzing with rage. Expenses are supposed to be to help MPs do their job, not for caffeine-heavy refreshments or PR stunts”

Nor are the voters of Scotland:

Nor are SNP Ministers:

So far Murphy’s people have declined the opportunity to comment…

UPDATE: An SNP spokesperson said:

“Labour’s bottle has crashed and this is a further embarrassment for Jim Murphy. Unlike Scotland’s favourite national soft drink – he is neither ‘original’ nor ‘best’.”

McXlusive: Jim Murphy Claims For Irn-Bru on Expenses

Jim Murphy portrays himself as the Irn Bru street fighter, campaigning on crates with a bottle in his hand. A man of the people…

Now Guido can reveal that not only is Murphy so out of touch that he drinks his Bru from a glass, the Scottish Labour leader gets the taxpayer to pay for his supply on expenses. FoI revelations show Murphy has made two expenses claims for Irn Bru, amounting to £1.30.

This is certain to cause a Bru-haha north of the border…

Tory MP Slammed By Expenses Watchdog
+ Ordered to Pay Back £1,000 in Incorrect Mileage Claims 
+ Claimed ‘For Twice the Distance Shown on Google Maps’

+ Guilty of “Incorrect” and “Laissez-faire Attitude” to Expenses

Tory MP Bob Blackman has been found guilty of repeatedly over-claiming for his mileage expenses by IPSA and has been ordered to pay back more than £1,000 to the taxpayer. In a damning report released this morning the expenses watchdog found:

  • “on average, your claims are almost twice the distance shown on Google maps and in some cases, significantly more”
  • “mileage claims submitted by Mr Blackman are, in almost every instance, not accurate and greater than the distance travelled”
  • Blackman “wrongly submitted” claims including canvassing and party political events
  • he “demonstrate[s] a pattern of incorrect claiming and a laissez-faire attitude to the submission of constituency mileage in general”

The total number of claims found by IPSA to be incorrect or not allowable is 734 and Blackman has been ordered to repay £1,006.20. If he had been in the private sector he probably wouldn’t have kept his job…

Review of 2014: Gordon Brown’s £10,000-a-Week Expenses

The most shared story on the blog this year was Guido’s investigation into the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown. Since leaving Downing Street, Gordon has raised over £3 million to support charitable projects yet has given less than a £1 million to charity. Nearly three-quarters of the money raised has gone on his office and globe-trotting travel expenses that run at over £10,000-a-week. Despite Gordon claiming he does not profit from the arrangement and that all the income goes either directly to charities or to support other charitable public service projects.

The former Prime Mentalist then got very upset when Guido went on the BBC’s Daily Politics to share the story with a wider audience, demanding that the interview be removed from iPlayer. Guido readers can still watch it here:

All that jet-setting meant the people of Kirkcaldy weren’t seeing much of Gordon, so it will hardly have come as a surprise to them when on another foreign junket McMental admitted he saw himself as an “ex-politician”, despite still taking his £67,000-a-year MP salary.

And so, in December, Gordon finally announced he is making his lack of parliamentary attendance official by quitting at the election. With the old media doing their favourite greatest hits, Guido couldn’t resist his own tribute.

So long then Gordon. We shall miss you.

RED ON RED:
Labour CLP Secretary Quits Over “Sociopath” Candidate

The secretary of Enfield Southgate Constituency Labour Party will sensationally resign tonight, claiming senior local Labour figures believe the party’s own candidate in Enfield North “exhibits all the hallmarks of a sociopath”. In an explosive letter to his chairman […]

+ READ MORE +

Labour Candidate Up Half a Million After Expenses Scandal
Shamed Ex-MP Creams Off Huge Taxpayer-Subsidised Windfall

Labour’s candidate in Enfield North is in line for a taxpayer-subsidised windfall of more than half a million pounds, after ‘doing a Maria Miller’. Joan Ryan, who held the seat until she was booted out in disgrace in 2010, claimed […]

+ READ MORE +

Business as Usual: Bercow Shreds the Evidence

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 […]

+ READ MORE +

Labour Expenses Piggy’s Wikipedia Edited From Parliament

Back in 2012 the Bureau of Investigative Journalism exposed former Labour MP Joan Ryan for deleting references to her expenses scandal shame from her Wikipedia page. She was caught red-handed and ‘fessed up, and details of her flipping her second […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Liz Kendall is asked by Tom Newton Dunn if she would ever ban the Sun from one of her press conferences:

“If you stripped naked and ran in front of me, Tom, I might have second thoughts about it, but apart from that, no.”

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