Tories Pressing Hard on Smith Institute

Chris Grayling has today written to the Charity Commission’s Head of Compliance demanding a full investigation under Section 8 of the Charities Act.

Mark Francois last week tabled yet another Written Parliamentary Question (WPQ) which is still unanswered

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what remuneration was received for the use of 11 Downing Street from the Smith Institute or SI Events Ltd for its seminar on positional goods held on 21st September 2006.

Keith Simpson has been told to expect an answer to his questions “by the end of this week”.

A co-conspirator emails to say he has been told by Oliver Letwin that George Osborne “has been doing a good deal of work on this Smith Institute connection, and will be ensuring that it is brought fully to public attention.”* Hmm, the bandwagon went that way…

*Guido knows that Osborne’s researcher is boasting to journalists that he is behind the exposing of the Sith, perhaps he repeats to them what he reads here?

Dale on the Smith Institute

Iain Dale has been tracking the Smith Institute around Westminster and Whitehall for Doughty Street TV. The evidence that the Smith Institute is a Brownite front, rather than a non-political, non-partisan charity is patently clear. Watch the video here.

+ Smith Institute Exposé II + Doughty Street TV Tonight +

Just to add to the good news flow, Iain Dale has a piece on Doughty Street TV tonight about the Smith Institute which explains why they should lose their charitable status.

Michael Crick will no doubt be watching…

+++ Gordon’s Non-Partisan, Non-Political Charity Paid forU.S. Pollster to Formulate Anti-Cameron Strategy +++

Bloomberg News is reporting that Bob Shrum, the veteran U.S. pollster and campaign adviser, was paid by the Smith Institute to formulate an anti-Cameron campaign strategy for Gordon Brown.

They have obtained a transcript of a speech given to a private Smith Institute invited audience, which included Brown acolytes Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander, as well as other media allies. Shrum advised the Brownites to brand Cameron as “an empty opportunist who will do anything to win”.

The event was held to review Cameron’s first 100 days in March 2006.

Guido understands that a formal complaint to the Charity Commissioners requesting a full-scale investigation of the Smith Institute under Section 8 of the Charity Act will be considered by the Charity Commission today.

++ more follows ++

Sith : Going In…

Quote of the Month, comes by kind permission of the left-wing broadcaster Michael Crick, from the dark side’s Wilf Stevenson, director of the Smith Institute. After the third phone call from Newsnight’s Crick last week Wilf yelled “This is disreputable journalism, you are following the agenda of Guido Fawkes” … before slamming down the phone.

Gordon and the Explosive Power of Bloggers

Speaking in Davos this morning, Gordon Brown, sitting next to Rupert Murdoch, said:

“A few years ago the debate was about whether the media controlled politicians or whether politicians controlled the media. Now it is about how we are all responding to the explosive power of citizens, consumers and bloggers.”

The Smith Institute dossier requested by the Charity Commissioners is being delivered on Monday.

Growling Chris Grayling MP has also written to the Chancellor requesting answers to some pertinent questions:
  • Will you publish a full list of all events held at Number 11 Downing Street by the Smith Institute?
  • Have any costs for Smith Institute events held at Number 11 been subsidised by you or the Treasury in any way? If so, what has been the total cost to the taxpayer of hosting these events?
  • What are the criteria by which applications to hold events at Number 11 are judged?
  • What is the number of applications you have received to hold events at Number 11; the number accepted and the number declined?
  • Will you list those charities that have been refused permission to hold events at Number 11?
  • Have any other Treasury facilities been provided for the purpose of hosting Smith Institute events?
  • On how many occasions have you personally attended Smith Institute events?
  • Has the Smith Institute ever provided you with any personal benefits? If so, have you declared such benefits (a) to the Register of Members Interest and (b) to the Electoral Commission
  • Have you ever solicited donations for the Smith Institute?
  • Can you provide assurances that there is no conflict of interest between anyone who has donated to the Smith Institute and your actions as Chancellor of the Exchequer?
Come Monday morning the Charity Commissioners will, Guido strongly suspects, be adding some of their own questions about his “non-political, independent charity”. Guido loves the smell of gunpowder in the morning…

Sith for Beginners

++ Smith Institute Exposé ++ Newsnight Tonight ++

Guido knew something was up when the Charity Commissioners contacted him this week asking for evidence regarding the Smith Institute. When Guido said he was still compiling his dossier they warned that they could “legally compel” Guido to provide evidence.

Guido retorted that they should fufil an outstanding Freedom of Information request. This evening out-of-the-blue at 5pm the Charity Commission’s Senior Manager for Compliance personally handed Guido a revealing two inch dossier. In an enclosed written request he asked Guido to provide all relevant information “by the close of business Thursday 25 January 2007″. All the bits of the puzzle have yet to be assembled.

Guido understands that tonight Newsnight’s Michael Crick intends to run an exposé of the Smith Institute, which is already under investigation by the charities regulator (for a second time) over allegations of political activities in breach of the Charities Act. The Charity Commission was due to issue a report shortly, they may soon have to revise their findings. The Sith are unavailable for comment.

++ More to follow ++

Konrad Still Sulking

Guido called the Sith office today a few times, with no reply. So he decided to call Konrad Caulkett, (remember last time we spoke). Guido called him on his mobile directly with a simple question for the Smith Institute events

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Cover Up : The Sith’s Use of No. 11 Questioned Again

Iain Dale alerted Guido to this PQ a few days ago:

Mr Keith Simpson (Con, Mid Norfolk): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which charities have held meetings at 11 Downing Street since December 2005.

Mr Keith Simpson (Con,

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Birds of a Feather

The Smith Institute, that non-political charitable think-tank which has nothing to do with Gordon Brown, is holding a seminar later this month on “economic opportunity”. Despite being currently under investigation (for the second time) by the Charity Commissioners over

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Dave : Brown is the Dark Side

The Smith Institute exposés last month evoked from the co-conspirators an analogy with the evil Sith cult in Star Wars. It’s catching, Dave’s New Year statement too uses the imagery of the force;

“2007 will be the year that Labour’s

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Janan Ganesh on Labour’s soft left

“Ms Cooper does not believe the previous Labour government was wrong to run a fiscal deficit after 15 years of economic growth. Both she and Mr Burnham think families should be entitled to tax credits for a third child. These views are not mad. They are just a bit too leftwing for Britain. For any serious party, that amounts to the same thing. The soft left is more electable than the hard left but then Mars is more habitable than Neptune: neither planet will host human life anytime soon.”

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