Guido can shed some more light on how the Tories hid their by-election hotel bills in Newark. On 31 May 2014, over 350 young Tories boarded coaches and minibuses up to Newark for a day of campaigning. At the end of the day’s door-knocking, they needed something to eat and somewhere to stay. Paying for travel and hotels for that many people would rack up thousands in by-election expenses. So, the Tories ferried their activists to the Crowne Plaza hotel in Nottingham, outside of the constituency. There, Tory donors treated them to curry at an event named the “first annual RoadTrip dinner” – pictured above – where Rob Halfon and Eric Pickles gave speeches. After that they boozed at the Coco Lounge and NG1 bars, before returning to the hotel, where they made contributions to their room bills. The transport costs of ferrying the activists up to Newark and around Nottingham were apparently undeclared.
A source present says the meal and hotel were deliberately booked outside of the constituency, under the pretence of an “annual RoadTrip dinner”, to avoid appearing on the Newark by-election expenditure. They say this was by no means the only time this happened. A nifty little way of dodging the rules…
Michael Crick reckons he has enough to call in the cops on alleged Tory by-election overspends. Did the Tories break the rules with their hotel bills in Newark, and while fighting UKIP in Clacton and Rochester?
The Guardian reports that Israel’s most recent ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub, returned to Jerusalem “after being repeatedly warned over security breaches at his residence in St John’s Wood”. Apparently “the breaches related to late night visits by individuals to his official home”. The Israeli media is rife with scandalous speculation.
News site Ynet reports lurid, unverified claims that married Taub
“brings men home without reporting them to the embassy’s security officer as required by security procedures”
There are ever wilder rumours floating around elsewhere, though it’s perhaps worth noting that conspiracy theories of this type are nothing new. Not like the Guardian to go in for salacious rumour-mongering…
Corbynista MP Dawn Butler indulged us with the “new, kinder politics” at PMQs:
Dawn would know all about “sh***ing all over the working class”.
Back in 2009, she was exposed in the expenses scandal for over-claiming £2,600 in rent for her constituency home.
She claimed claimed twice for the rent, deposit and charges relating to her second home.
Shamed Butler charged the taxpayer a whirlpool bath in a suite that cost £2,308.
She also claimed the full £23,000 second home allowance, despite her first home in Stratford being the same distance from Parliament.
Go on, Dawn, tell us more about “sh***ing all over the working class…”
The parliamentary expenses watchdog is investigating DUP MP Jim Shannon over irregularities with his expenses:
“The Compliance Officer for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has today opened an investigation into claims made under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses by Jim Shannon MP. The claims in question relate to travel and subsistence expenditure.”
As with the case of Tory MP Bob Blackman in 2014, IPSA are refusing to disclose any information about what the actual allegations against Shannon are. The case against him will be heard in secret to prevent “reputational damage to MPs”. Shannon submitted the highest expenses claims of any MP in both 2013-14 and 2014-15, claiming £235,000 and £264,500 each year. At the time he blamed the huge bill on his staffers being ill. Surely his constituents have a right to know what is he supposed to have done wrong?
Simon Danczuk has come out swinging on LBC, telling Iain Dale he doesn’t rule out being the victim of a set-up. Most worryingly for the Corbynistas who want to expel him, he also doesn’t rule out running against Labour as an independent in 2020…
Simon Danczuk speaks:
“It’s not for ex-girlfriends or ex-wives to determine who the MP for Rochdale is, it’s for the residents of Rochdale to determine who the MP for Rochdale is.”
A by-election between an independent Danczuk, a Corbynista Labour candidate and UKIP would be box office…
Lord Feldman’s line since he was dragged into the Tory bullying scandal has been that he was “wholly unaware” of allegations against Mark Clarke until August 2015. On 18 November, a Conservative spokesman said:
“Lord Feldman acted immediately to set