Could today’s effort by The Times to get UKIP have anything to with the complaint made last month by the Lib Dem MEP Edward McMillan-Scott about UKIP’s use of allowances? His complaint was based on a series of reports by Times journalists Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson. Yesterday that complaint was thrown out by a European Parliament bureau meeting that found there was no matter requiring further investigation…
Times hack Billy Kenber has hit back at claims from UKIP that they borked the figures in their story this morning.
From: “Kenber, Billy”
Date: 15 April 2014 10:14:05 BST
To: David Samuel-Camps
Cc: Alexi Mostrous, Nigel Farage
Subject: Re: Your report
The difference between the two figures lies in the way Ukip MEP’s break down their transparency reports.
This includes various categories – of which the one of relevance to rent is “office management and running costs” which covers rent, utilities, insurance, business rates and cleaning. In his transparency reports Farage claims to have spent £15,500 a year solely on this category since July 2009. This does not include office equipment, phone bills and stationery which fall under “communication costs” and “stationery, periodicals, subscriptions”.
As you say, the total monthly cost for all office expenditure was £700 (down from £2,000 when you managed to cancel various locked-in contracts for things like unnecessary amounts of printer ink) which I asked you to break down into its constituent parts – something we went through twice to ensure accuracy.
You said that utilities and insurance amounted to less than £100 a month and that council tax/business rates were £150 (I looked it up and it was £149 a month for the current financial year 2013). Hence the figure of £250 a month, which is £3,000 a year. The remaining £450 a month falls under the two other categories outlined above.
Bognor Regis is the nearest well-known town for readers who are less familiar with the West Sussex coast.
Media Guido, your one stop shop for airing dirty laundry in public…
Guido said this morning that this would get messy, and as predicted, one of the Times’ sources is now kicking back. In a letter to the journalists who wrote the story, David Samuel-Camps says he was misquoted:
“Mr Kenber and Mr Mostrous,
Re: Nigel Farage and office costs
I am extremely concerned that in your report you have distorted my responses to your questions regarding the Lyminster office costs.
On the front page you quote me as stating that the costs were £3000 per year. This is grossly incorrect. I told you that the previous manager had tied the office into some supply contracts and as a result the monthly costs were some £2000. I told you several times that I eventually reduced the costs to £700 per month. When I went to school we were taught the times tables and that £700 times 12 equals £8400 (which is not too far removed from Mr Farage’s £1000 per month) so where on earth did you come up with a figure of £3000?
At no time did I say that “electricity, heating, and business rates at the office totalled less than £250 a month”. I told you that I could not remember the individual amounts as it was over four years ago but they would have been in the region of £200 each.
Later, you then contradict yourselves by quoting me as saying that the costs were £700 per month – which is correct. You asked me a number of times about the £700/month figure which I confirmed several times; again I have to ask how does £700 per month equate to £3000 per year? I should also point out that our conversations were witnessed.
To the best of knowledge and belief I was completely honest in my answers and resent the fact that those answers have been completely distorted. I did warn you that there is a small minority who are “mischief makers” – one in particular who would go to any lengths to destroy Mr Farage’s reputation.
I expect you to publish corrections as outlined above.
Finally, I should point out that the Lyminster is nowhere near Bognor Regis; it is on the outskirts of Littlehampton, a fact that could have been verified by looking at an AA road atlas!
David Samuel-Camps BA (Hons) Dip. PA”
To a completely impartial observer like Guido, this doesn’t look good. If what Samuel-Camps is saying is true they should go to the PCC…
The “Digital First strategy” clearly hasn’t reached all parts of the Telegraph. With his slightly more technical assistant on holiday, new Associate Editor (Politics) Ben Brogan had a bit of a struggle writing yesterday’s morning briefing all by himself:
“Tim is off. I can’t find the right button thingy. I’ll try tomorrow.”
Did he fare any better this morning?
“Nope, sorry, can’t quite manage it. Digging out links and fighting with this software is taking ages. But nothing’s happening, believe me. @TimWig is still on holiday.”
If things get any worse we’ll all have to read the WaughRoomMemo…
The Times have done over Nigel Farage this morning, reporting that £60,000 of taxpayer cash paid into his personal bank account is unaccounted for. The £15,500-a-year was for the upkeep of his constituency office in Bognor Regis, but since Farage gets it rent-free the accusation is that he only spends £3,000-a-year on running costs. Leaving around £12,000-a-year missing. No doubt it will turn out to be within the European parliament’s lax rules. It doesn’t smell right, even if the payments are automatic.
UKIP pre-empted the Times splash yesterday by naming the anonymous ex-party official who has grassed Farage up to the EU anti-fraud office as Jasna Badzak:
“Jasna Badzak is a convicted fraudster serving a suspended sentence, whose allegations are unfounded and vexatious. She has never been a press secretary or confidant of Mr Farage’s. Your use of her indicates that you are writing an article with a defined end by inventing a road to achieve that end.”
Just one problem: the Times tells Guido that Badzak was not the source of the story. This could get messy…
Don’t miss out on all the latest gossip in Guido’s Sun on Sunday column:
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The unrivalled commissioning editors at Comment is Free have graced their readers with an open letter from children’s novelist and poet Michael Rosen to Sajid Javid. Rosen’s main point is that because Javid used to be a banker he is unqualified for the role of Culture Secretary. Guido will spare you most of his drivel, but here is the gist:
“It’s very difficult to see from your Wikipedia entry… how you are qualified to do this new job as culture minister… You’re an ex-banker who made millions during the fatal bubble of the early 21st century… So, I’m very curious about how you’re going to explain why my sort of culture will have to take a hit from the Treasury even as you are someone who benefited from the false boom, the very same boom that caused the crash, and to continue the chain, which is what has given your party the excuse to slash public services and cut waged and unwaged people’s standard of living, and further enrich the mega-rich.”
Rosen reckons Javid, who like T.S. Elliot is a former banker, is not qualified to have an opinion on culture. However Rosen, a poet, is apparently qualified to have an opinion on the world of finance. He wrote this pinko first year politics student analysis on his personal blog in 2012:
“Reading around on the net, I think there is some evidence to suggest that we’re moving into a new phase in this drawn-out world economic crisis. No matter how many meetings the politicians from the countries with the largest economies have, they find that both the particular crises of their own countries’ banks and their own countries’ sovereign debt cannot be solved. I take it that capitalism (or capitalists) don’t have a strategy to deal with this because the fundamental motive power of capitalism is competition. “
Perhaps if Rosen thinks bankers should steer clear of talking about culture, he himself should steer clear of talking about banking…
Last night’s Channel 4 News investigation found that young men working in parliament were more likely to be sexually harassed than women, and specifically that there were a group of gay MPs who preyed upon men in Westminster. Back in January Guido publicly tipped off one journalist to the story on Twitter, he didn’t want to investigate, instead PoliticsHome’s Tony Grew said the allegations were untrue:
Today the story is on the front pages of two newspapers, has been heavily followed up by the rest and is dominating the airwaves on 24 hour news channels and radio, yet gets only a fleeting mention on PoliticsHome. They should have a word with their Lobby correspondent about his news values…
Campaigners at English Pen are giving Chris Grayling a kicking by asking famous writers to join a “mass protest” by naming the book they would most like to send a prisoner. Martin Amis, Carol Ann Duffy, Hermione Lee and many other authors have so far taken part, suggesting classic reads for lags by the likes of Dickens and Mark Twain. Guido is tickled however by the book chosen by the Guardian’s foreign correspondent Luke Harding. He recommends:
“The Snowden Files, Luke Harding. The book describes how an overweening state can behave in an undemocratic manner (among other things)”
Ex-Sun Hack Cleared After 582 Days on Bail | MediaGuido
The Sun Remains Most Widely Read UK Title | Press Gazette
Sarah Wollaston’s Naming and Shaming of Bloggers | LibDemVoice
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Guardian April Fools Apology | Press Gazette
Jenni Russell and Her Child’s Godfather, Ed Miliband | Breitbart
Mirror’s Lazy Lie | Guardian
Mirror’s Weeping Child Picture Lying Lazy Journalism | Guardian
Coulson: Everything You Need to Know in 6 Seconds | MediaGuido
BBC Still Loves the Guardian | Breitbart
Establishment Times Chums Appeasing Tory Europhiles | UKIP
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.”