Monday, April 7, 2014

Labour Write to Labour to Complain About Miller

Labour have written to the Labour MP who let Maria Miller off the hook. Labour’s Shelia Gilmore has written to Labour’s Kevin Barron, who Guido covered in some depth earlier, to formally complain about Miller’s apology.

Dear Mr Barron,

I am writing to make a formal complaint over the personal statement given by Mrs Maria Miller to the House of Commons on Thursday 3rd April. This was inadequate to the point of being contemptuous of your Committee’s report and the Members’ Code of Conduct.

You will agree that adherence to the Code of Conduct and due respect for the Committee on Standards are essential to uphold trust in public life. Mrs Miller has demonstrated neither and the subsequent public condemnation of her behaviour highlights the risk to public trust such behaviour creates.

The Code of Conduct states that “Members shall cooperate, at all stages, with any such investigation by or under the authority of the House”. Your report concludes, however, that “Mrs Miller’s exchanges with the Commissioner repeatedly show a failure to provide information asked for, or to respond adequately to the Commissioner’s questions.”

Your report also states that, “Much of the delay and difficulty in this case has arisen from incomplete documentation and fragmentary information. Mrs Miller has to carry significant responsibility for that.”

These specific points were unaddressed and remain unexplained following Mrs Miller’s abrupt 32 second apology to the House last week.

Following the focus on Members’ expenses and subsequent reform to the system in 2009 there is now a higher bar for all Members to demonstrate the integrity of their conduct in public life. We must act at all times within the spirit as well as the letter of existing guidelines. It is clear that Mrs Miller fell foul of this not just in her conduct during the inquiry but in her apology to the House.

Rather than meaningfully address the arrogant and evasive attitude that characterised her behaviour during the inquiry, she chose to reinforce it in the House of Commons, revealing Mrs Miller to not be apologetic at all.

I want to ask whether you consider Mrs Miller’s apology sufficient given the significance of this issue and whether you would consider asking Mrs Miller to return to the House of Commons to address the specific issues raised in your Committee’s report.

Best wishes,

Sheila Gilmore MP

What a sorry mess – this highlights just how bonkers this system is.

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.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Kim Jong Ed

Steve Richards has written in the New Statesman about the mood of paranoia and suspicion around Ed Miliband. His fearfully supportive team resembles the North Korean inner circle daring not to offer even constructive criticism of their dear leader:

“Miliband’s staff are loyal to him personally but in their determined or fearful supportiveness there is little space for critical candour. Nearly all those who work for Miliband are dependent on his patronage. He chose them and they are pleased to be close to him. They do not want to say things that he does not want to hear. The contrast with Tony Blair’s office is marked. Blair had to plead with Alastair Campbell to join him, going out to see him while Campbell was on holiday in France as part of the energetic wooing process. Campbell could be brutally candid because he knew Blair wanted him so much. Other advisers, such as Peter Mandelson, had been senior to Blair in the 1980s. They, too, could be ruthlessly or constructively critical, sometimes both. This does not happen very much in Miliband’s office; indeed, the opposite can happen. I am told that sometimes his staff applaud him when he returns from making a mediocre speech.”

Shame he doesn’t have the cult of personality to go with it…

Labour Finally Twist Knife Into Miller

Labour have finally found someone beyond John Mann to go on the attack over Maria Miller. Pity that it’s only the perpetually useless Shadow Cabinet Office minister Chi Onwurah, but still:

“Letting Maria Miller off the hook speaks volumes about David Cameron’s leadership. His weakness and double standards on the issue of Maria Miller’s expenses are totally unacceptable and completely out of touch. He should not offer “warm support” to a cabinet minister criticised by a Parliamentary committee, but be making clear she should have cooperated fully with this inquiry. We had a contemptuous 32 second response from a cabinet minister followed by a pat on the back from the prime minister. It is yet another example of how Cameron only looks after his one of his own and always stands up for the wrong people. We must have the very highest standards in public office. There can be no going back to the bad old days of expenses.”

They’ve responded quicker to this than they did to the Budget. Better late than never.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bonkers Labour’s Thornberry Claims ‘Economy is Getting Worse’

Emily Thornberry slithered her way through the Daily Politics, but she has to be called up on this one:

ET: As time goes on our  economy gets worse.
AN: The economy gets worse?
ET: The economy is getting worse.

How out of touch can you get? The economy is not getting worse for Ms. Thornberry. Her vast multi-million pound family property empire is up 14% on the year…

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Awkward Len Moments

An afternoon full of awkward Ed Miliband moments during Len McCluskey’s Press Gallery lunch today, not least his verdict on the Labour leadership:

“I believe the British electorate are of a mind unless there is a real alternative to say you know what, we best stick with the devil we know. Miliband has got to give hope to people. He has got to demonstrate that he will do something different in power… They come up with ideas but no one seems to be pulling them together in a coherent way.”

Who was sat listening attentively on the front table just a few feet away? One Angela Eagle: Chair of Labour’s National Policy forum…

Monday, March 31, 2014

Arnie: I Won’t Be Back

Arnie Graf has left the building. As a casualty of the ongoing internal Labour Party power struggles, Ed Miliband’s illegal foreign-worker community organiser has organised himself out of the community. The party are saying they haven’t sacked Graf, but as the Mail on Sunday reports, he’s nowhere to be seen:

“Mr Graf’s own credibility suffered a hammer blow when it was revealed he was in the UK without a work permit. The leak came shortly after he crossed swords with Mr Alexander.”

Dan Hodges has more. Graf had admitted to working in Britain for the Labour Party, despite not having the required paperwork. Bye…

Sindy’s Civil Service ‘Exclusive’ Will Remain So

‘Scoop’ from yesterday’s Independent on Sunday:

“Labour will be given only six months to “road test” its plans for government with senior civil servants, after David Cameron controversially intervened to block early talks, The Independent on Sunday has learnt.”

But is it actually true that the amount of time the opposition is being given to consult with civil servants before the election is being cut? Oliver Wright notes that “In previous elections, under a convention set by John Major, such talks could take place up to 16 months before the last possible date an election could be called.” Though that was before the era of fixed-term parliaments when election dates were chosen at the PM’s discretion, usually 12 months before the last possible date, giving the opposition party four months and not the full 16. The 16 month period allowed the PM to avoid revealing the exact date of the election which could otherwise be calculated from the date access was granted. Indeed, a reader points out that in 1983, 1987, 2001 and 2005 the opposition party had as little as four months’ access to civil servants. So, actually, Labour are getting a pretty good deal.

This is part of a wider pattern of whining from Miliband, following on from Labour’s moan that he didn’t have enough time to respond to the Budget. This should really help Ed beat the perception that he is weak and pathetic…

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Diane Abbott’s Question Time Prep Leaked, Again

Diane really should be more careful what she leaves in parliamentary photocopiers:

This is becoming a habit

Sadiq Sorry for Sick Pickles Death Jibe

Sadiq Khan thought it was all very funny when he tweeted a letter he had received from Neil Kinnock joking that Eric Pickles might not survive running the London marathon and that his death would hand Labour “a helpful by-election”:

Now silly Sadiq is very sorry:

Hardly behaviour becoming of a man who keeps accusing the Tories of being the nasty party…

UPDATE:


Seen Elsewhere

What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Dave Stung by Jellyfish | Sun
City Minister’s Inheritance Tax Dodging Trusts | Indy
What I Would Have Done if I was Sarah Wollaston | Iain Dale
Boris is an Epic Europhile | Louise Mensch
Warsi Got PM to Confront “Secular Fundamentalism” | Fraser Nelson
Guardian April Fools Apology | Press Gazette
Jenni Russell and Her Child’s Godfather, Ed Miliband | Breitbart
Labour’s Left and Right are Growing Restive | Staggers
Corrupt, Incompetent UN Has No Right to Lecture Us | Dan Hannan


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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