Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sky Debate Question for Tonight:
Did An Accountant Really Sign Off Ken’s Tax Declaration?

Ken said last month: “No journalist has contacted my accountant to ask anything about my tax arrangements. I’d be quite happy for them to do so.” So we called his accountant and he wasn’t happy to speak to us at all…

We called Ken’s accountant Peter Auguste to ask him why if he had signed off Ken’s released tax declaration as Team Ken claims, he had not put his name to the document? He refused to confirm he had in fact signed off the declaration. A week after Ken released his figures they then changed on his website. We think Ken was lying and that the figures were not in fact signed off by his accountant, who would not have got them wrong when by law they were signed off and sworn to be true in his annual returns to HMRC.

All of sudden Ken’s claimed income had risen from £164,055 to £205,800 and his tax paid from £113,861 to £131,606. Mysterious.

This might have something to do with the fact that – as he’s admitted to the Standard – he “forgot” to include in his declaration a “resettlement grant” he got from the GLA when he lost the mayoralty. But that resettlement grant was £71,000 – so even Ken’s new figures don’t seem to add up. So a simple question for Ken tonight. Were his released figures really produced by his accountant or by his campaign?

His accountant has refused to confirm to us he signed them off. There is no signature or letterhead on the released figures and the document properties appears to show that it was produced by Mark Watts. Watts is the name of Ken Livingstone’s former advisor whilst Mayor who joined his Parliamentary staff in 1999 and now works as a “Climate Change advisor”. Not an accountant…

Pro-Paddick Ad Fakes Riot Footage

Brian Paddick’s campaign are denying any official connection to a pro-Paddick video doing the rounds. Despite the insistence that it was done by an activist, it features Paddick footage and has been pushed heavily by LibDem HQ. The ad was clearly inspired by US Republican presidential wannabe Tim Pawlenty’s “Courage to Stand” video, and has high production values that do not come cheap.

The ad featuring plenty of TV coverage from the riots, but Guido is wondering when this doctored shot of London burning is from? Certainly not August 2011…

Lord Sugar Says Fire Ken

Leading Labour peer Lord Sugar has called on Londoners to ignore Ed Miliband’s explicit pleas for Labour types to vote Ken. He tweeted “Livingstone must NOT get in on 3rd May”. Followed by:

“I don’t care if Ed Miliband is backing Livingstone. I seriously suggest NO ONE votes for Livingston in the Mayoral elections.”

He could have given Boris a run for his money…

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lobby Misses Ken Misspeak

Her Majesty’s Loyal Regiment of Hacks were treated to lunch with Ken Livingstone yesterday. Standing before them for the first time since 1985, the wine was flowing and he came out with some characteristic cant. It seems the gentleman of the Lobby were not on guard though, as they missed an absolute howler. Ken claimed: “I think Ed represents genuine Labour values. That’s why I voted for him.” Which isn’t true – Ken very publicly endorsed Ed Balls. He stumped for him and encouraged other people to vote for him. Pay attention lads…

Via Boris Backer

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Paddick: My £387,239 is “None Of Your Business”

Forced into a corner last night by Iain Dale on LBC, Brian Paddick did not deny that he had received at £387,239 taxpayer-funded pay-off from the Met when he retired in 2007, as revealed here yesterday. Instead he declared “to be honest with you, it’s none of your business” despite the public paying for it and the LibDem candidate cannily not releasing financial information for the year in question - “What is the point of publishing 2007/2008?”. Maybe he should avoid lecturing others on transparency while deliberately masking a huge source of income…

UPDATE:  We have just confirmed that Brian Paddick himself commented on the previous post last night:

We agreed to publish earnings and tax since the last election, that is:

2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12

There was no point in publishing 2007/08 because Ken Livingstone was mayor during that tax year, paying tax by PAYE, and had not yet set up his private company to avoid paying tax. Ken’s tax avoidance was the whole point of publishing our tax affairs.

No cover-up just bad journalism.

We will let the readers decide if the revelation was news to Londoners or bad journalism. Other candidates did reveal their 2007/08 figures…

Monday, April 16, 2012

Exclusive: Paddick Did Not Disclose £387,239 Met Pay-Off
‘Ello ‘Ello ‘Ello, Paddick Hides Evidence of Tax-Free Lump-Sum

While most of the focus has been on Ken and his lack of transparency recently, Guido did wonder why the LibDem candidate Brian Paddick only released the last three years of his financials, unlike the four years from the others. Guido has worked out why…

In the missing fourth back year (2007/8) Brian Paddick received a large lump sum as part of his leaving package from the Met. Whilst the debate about public sector pensions can be saved for another day and Guido can’t have a go at Paddick for accepting what was rightfully his, however absurdly generous it was, it was a little rum to deliberately try to hide the evidence. Guido and his bean counting co-conspirators have worked out that this pay off would have been just shy of £400,000. Tax free…

His campaign initially refused to comment on the figures. However we know that Brian Paddick earned £125,667 as Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Met and he is on the 1987 Police Pension Scheme. His healthy pension is two thirds of his final salary (£83,778). The key figure is how much he commuted from an annual income into a lump sum and what commutation factor was applied…

Paddick retired at age 49 years and 1 month, so his commutation factor is 19. (Whilst the commutation factors are said to be from 1 October 2007, these were later backdated to 1 December 2006 following a judicial review.) From the figures that Paddick did release, we know that he receives an annual income from his pension of £63,397. Therefore he commuted the following amount (in terms of annual income forfeited) £83,778 – £63,397 = £20,381. So multiply that £20,381 by 19 and we get £387,239. And in a perk of the job this is tax free...

Guido suspects that in 2007/8 Paddick’s effective rate of income tax was even less than Livingstone’s 14.5%. In response to this figure a spokesman for Brian Paddick said: “All Mayoral candidates agreed to publish their tax details from the last Mayoral election in 2008. Brian has fulfilled this commitment, unlike certain other candidates.” The agreement was four years if we are going to be picky…

WATCH: Ken’s Tax Downfall

As Parliament returns after an extended Easter break, here’s a handy catch up guide to what you have missed in the race to become Mayor of London…

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ken Losing Credibility Here

When the LibDems are making bar charts about your financial fakery you are beyond being in trouble. Mark Pack takes the credit for this chart. Don’t think Paddick will be winning here…

Another Blairite has come out of the woodwork to condemn Ken’s campaign. Andrew McMenamin is advising Ken to sack his campaign managers “the people running the politics of your campaign have messed up. Maybe that mess up was because they did not account for your mistakes, but that does not lessen their responsibility.” He also tells Ken to “abandon the core vote strategy you have followed”. Not sure that is wise, given Ken is now of necessity running a core-core strategy

Farage Says “Stop Ayatollah Livingstone”

With Jenny Jones from the Greens is telling her supporters to back Ken with their second preferences and now this morning Nigel Farage has signalled similar UKIP support for Boris. Unlike with the Greens, the promise of a job wasn’t needed first…

UPDATE: UKIP send over a full statement from Farage:

“Ken Livingstone is dangerous and does not represent the aspirations of Old Labour at all. His comments on Islam, calling for London to be a ‘beacon for Islam’ and to spend the next four years ensuring Londoners know the teachings of Mohammed’ are divisive, opportunistic and totally unacceptable. He has clearly been learning politics from George Galloway and is pandering dangerously to one religious group. He is standing to be the Mayor for the whole of London and particularly with the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee celebrations, should be someone all Londoners can respect and be proud of. Whilst we have deep reservations about some of Boris’s views, especially his support for amnesties for illegal immigrants, we now recommend that Londoners give him their second preference vote. Ken Livingstone – Ayatollah Livingston – would be a disaster for London.”

Ouch!

Ken’s Fake Campaign

So Ken was crying over a script that he wrote, read by people given expenses and cast into roles. They call that acting. Fake tears for fake “authentic Londoners”. 

When Ken put out his partial earning figures last week they turned out to be fake – this morning it emerges that he has quietly slipped out entirely new figures having forgotten to include his resettlement bung of some 70 grand despite a dubious claim previously that the figures had been signed off by an unnamed mystery accountant. Fake accountant. 

This whole campaign has been dominated by Ken faking things. Like when he tried to fake a campaign bus. His manifesto is one long dodgy dossier of fake numbers. Fake finances, fake promises, fake tears, fake supporters. Time for Ken to fake off once and for all.


Seen Elsewhere

Labour’s Plan to Attack Part-Time Boris | Standard
Ex-Sun Hack Cleared After 582 Days on Bail | MediaGuido
11 Times Boris Denied He Would Stand for Parliament | Buzzfeed
Attacking UKIP’s Posters is Counter-Productive | Guardian
Sarkozy Tried it on With Hollande’s Ex | Times
Another Spare Room Subsidy Cut Success | Harry Phibbs
Rich Now Have Less Leisure Than Poor | Economist
UKIP’s Immigration Policy Promotes Migrant Entrepreneurs | Breitbart
Another Feminist Lecture | Laura Perrins
UKIP Posters Bad Economics But Good Politics | James Delingpole
Tories Losing to UKIP in Scotland | ConHome


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A confused Nick Griffin says Nigel Farage is a shill for the City, forgetting that City banks want to stay in the EU:

“Farage is a snake oil salesman, but a very good one. His supposed anti-immigration stance is all smoke and mirrors, as is his carefully cultivated image as a ‘man of the people’. The truth is that UKIP is a pro-immigration party that exists to lobby for the interests of the City of London.”



Alexrod says:

It’s money innit.


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