UKIP Tell Atkinson to Lawyer Up

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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 her in Westminster – somewhat presumptuous for a member defending a 192 majority in May.

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 searing public criticism. The Labour majority in Rotherham was halved when Champion was elected in 2012 following the MacShane scandal and UKIP are narrowing the gap. Is a ‘sorry’ so hard?

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 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

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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, […]

+ READ MORE +

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

[…]

+ READ MORE +

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 […]

+ READ MORE +

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 […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

William Hague on Tony Blair…

“To the political law that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time he added Blair’s law – that you can make a very serious attempt at it.”

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