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“FORMER Hull MP John Prescott has been cleared of misusing a public credit card after officials revealed it had been cloned” screamed This is Hull before Christmas. Prezza briefed them that £2,000 worth of camera equipment that had been bought on a government card was in fact theft. True, but Prezza then decided to spin this that he had been completely cleared of overseeing any inappropriate spending. He’s got greedy and is demanding an apology. It was left to Baroness Hanham to set the record straight in the Lords on Tuesday:
“For the avoidance of doubt, we have no evidence that spending in this period at venues such as the Star City Casino, Doyles Seafood Restaurant in Sydney and at Sydney Aquarium, all of which were associated with the visit of the then Deputy Prime Minister (the noble Lord), were cloned transactions.”
Give it up Prezza.
Prezza is trying to fight the allegations that he spent like a drunken sailor on shore leave with government credit cards. He has complained to the Cabinet Office that his spending under £500 has been released and denies that the spending was him. Could this upset be around the £400 spent at Hull’s Mr Chus Chinese in April 2004? Prezza denies it was him yet told the BBC in 2008 that it was his “favourite Chinese restaurant in the whole world.” So who was it then Prezza?
UPDATE: Some speculation that the Deputy Prime Minister was entertaining the Chinese Ambassador at Mr Chus. Classic Prescott.
He was asked about it in Parliamentary Question in 2008, but refused to say how much was spent. There are also a large amount of restaurant bills that just scraped under the £500 limit such as the £468.70 at posh champagne bar Kettners and the £493.08 of scoff at Le Volle Gas. Funny that…
Guido’s ears in the Cabinet Office report that a certain former Deputy Prime Minister isn’t very happy. Apparently Prezza rang in yesterday to rant about the fact that his government credit card expenditure had been released. A spokesman for Prezza told Guido that “he rang the Cabinet Office for clarification as to whether they would be publishing expenditure under £500 for every former Labour minister or just for him.” Oh to be a fly on the wall for that one…
According to The Times “Dozens of civil servants have been reprimanded, cautioned or jailed after spending thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money by misusing government credit cards.” From behind the pay-wall we learn that “at least 30 officials, of whom four have served prison sentences, fraudulently spent a total of £20,756 on government credit cards in the past five years.” Prescott must be sweating a little more than usual at this news…
Under the new transparency rules, only expenditure over £500 will be published, which means without the leak of Prezza’s whole credit card bill we would never have known about his sandwich binges, £400 taxpayer-funded chinese meals, mysterious cash withdrawals, or the £456 he spent in an Australian casino.
Why isn’t it all published down to the last public penny?
Prezza’s spending wasn’t confined to the land of Oz. Guido has now seen Prescott’s government credit card bill from 2004 through to 2006. It seems he was a big fan of upmarket Westminster canteen Shepherds and has spent £2,073 in Pret a Manger, including £240 in one sitting. Prezza enjoyed the high and low life, with The Cinnamon Club and Clacket Lane Service Station all featuring. What government business was the Deputy Prime Minister doing in a Morrisons supermarket cafe? Three hundred quid steak dinners on the taxpayer? Why not…
How anyone managed to spend £400 in Mr Chus Chinese in Hull beggars belief…
UPDATE: You can see the food and drink section of the bill here. Next up leisure activities…
Prezza’s spending on government credit cards knows no bounds. The Telegraph have gone big on the £456 he spent at the Star City casino in Sydney, the £490 at Doyle’s seafood restaurant in Watson’s Bay and £75 at an aquarium in 2004. However Guido understands there is even more to come on this one. Why for example is there an entry for “Miscellaneous Cash” from an Australian hole-in-the-wall:
28/11/04 £3.10 CASH ADVANCE HANDLING FEE
28/11/04 £154.86 LCA
Leaving aside the obvious financial malpractice of withdrawing cash on a credit card, especially in a foreign country, why on earth was this happening in the first place. What was the £160 spent on and where are the receipts?
Now Guido doesn’t like to be po-faced; people can say what they like really, but he can’t stand hypocrisy. The lyrical John Prescott said of the English language in 2008:
“It’s something I’ve not mastered – the language or the grammar – and that’s caused a problem for me. It goes back to the education. Secondary modern school education wasn’t the greatest, but there were lots of people who learned the grammar – I didn’t. It’s often used as part of my characterisation – mangle the language. If you take my speech on “one member one vote”, I’ve never been able to watch it. Once, when I just saw it on the news and I could see the language wasn’t right, I felt a little ashamed of it.”
You would think then that he wouldn’t be so willing to mock someone else with a bit of a speech impediment:
Especially not an MP educated at Aston Comprehensive School…
Apologies to everyone about that tweet. Overstepped the mark and deleted it. Sorry
— John Prescott (@johnprescott) October 24, 2011
The man who Tony Blair sent on permanent holiday after one gaffe and one girl too many has some audacity complaining that members of the government have gone on holiday in August. What does he expect them to do? Should the current Deputy PM get a brush and start sweeping up shattered glass in Tottenham?
Or should he like Prezza, spend his time, swinging a croquet stick with his SpAds at Dorneywood?
Prezza went on the rampage at the weekend after a sub-editor at the Sunday Times cut a key line out of their front-page story, accidentally attributing a quote to him in their first edition. Despite a written apology he maintains it’s a Muuur-doch conspiracy to get him.
Apparently the News International legal team haven’t taken too kindly to his sustained attacks on their Political Editor Isabel Oakeshott, and have threatened Prezza over his “cyber-bullying” and asked him to stop calling the new mother at seven o’clock in the morning to shout. No doubt Rupert authorised it personally…
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Chris Bryant talks to the Times Diary about a famous gay actor:
“I don’t think I’ve had sex with him. He says we had sex in Clapham. I’m fairly certain I’ve never had sex south of the river”