Friday, October 3, 2014

Help Stop New MPs’ Expenses Cover Up

Quietly announced during the noise of Tory conference were new proposals from the parliamentary expenses watchdog to keep secret the names of MPs facing investigation for fiddling their expenses. IPSA chair Ian Kennedy has decreed that “an MP could suffer unfair reputational damage” if the public knew they were facing an expenses investigation, ruling that the “publication of an allegation” should be prevented. The sinister document claims “public interest in transparency must be balanced with operational needs and fairness”, concluding: “we believe that the operational and reputational damage to MPs which could be caused by the publication of allegations in advance of a substantive investigation outweighs the benefits of release.” This is a flagrant attack on transparency and and clear attempt to cover up and keep secret the names of MPs accused of wrongdoing.

The good news is you can stop it from happening. IPSA has launched a public consultation on the insidious proposals, inviting the thoughts of voters on whether or not they should be allowed to know if their MP is suspected of being a crook. They have already been condemned by Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards and Public Life, as “retrograde, foolish and perverse”. You can read the document here and email a submission to the consultation here

WATCH: Newmark Story Was Not Entrapment

Fleetstreet Fox’s defence of the Sunday Mirror’s Brooks Newmark story on Question Time last night is worth watching. Critics who have not read the original story and trigger happy IPSO bosses should watch:

“I think in this particular case that it’s not entrapment because Mr Newmark, if you’ve read the original article, responded to this journalist, which he thought was a young woman online, by firstly offering his mobile phone number, secondly going into private messages, and then on seven occasions seeking explicit photographs from her, and on another three occasions asking to meet her. Now that doesn’t sound to me like someone who was reluctant or who needed persuading, it sounds to me like someone who was quite enthusiastic with the opportunity to misbehave, and he grabbed it with one hand while lowering his pyjama trousers with the other one.

“I think there are two issues that would make this in the public interest. One of those is one of the messages that Brooks Newmark sent was “you send me a picture and I will send you one, that way we both have a secret”. Now if that were you and me, it doesn’t matter. A government minister who has security clearance, that’s an invitation to blackmail, and corruption. Under the Ministerial Code of Conduct that alone would be a reason to resign… A man with power and wealth and influence repeatedly, not once or twice, sought explicit photographs from what he thought was a young woman who had no power or wealth or influence, and if she had been the young activist that he thought she was, he would have had the power to influence her career for better or for worse. To me, that smells like exploitation and it’s certainly abuse of power.”

Notable that Grant Shapps also refused to say Newmark was entrapped…

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

UKIP Banks on Mystery Donation Figure…
…and Don’t Mention His Mrs and Mike Hancock

There is some bafflement in Tory circles this morning over from where exactly UKIP have plucked the quarter of a million pound figure for defector Arron Bank’s donations to the Conservative Party since 2005. A hungover scan of the Electoral Commission website by Guido shows only two donations of £25,000 from Banks to two Tory branches since Cameron became leader: Thornbury & Yate and Northavon, and no money to the central party. Which makes the £250,000 being punted on the news channels look a little iffy.

Leaving that aside this initial confusion while it’s investigated, what will Arron Banks’ new friends at UKIP have to say about his wife’s somewhat mysterious acquisition of the right to stay in the UK? Banks married Ekaterina Paderina in 2001, who regular readers will remember was a good chum of LibDem turbo-perve Mike Hancock:

“Miss Paderina came to Britain from Ekaterinburg in eastern Russia on a student visa in the late 1990s. In November 1998 she met and married Eric Butler a retired merchant seaman from Portsmouth, who was more than twice her age. Immigration officials were suspicious about the marriage and Miss Paderina was informed she could face deportation. But after seeking help from their local MP, Mr Hancock, Miss Paderina was allowed to stay in Britain, despite her marriage to Mr Butler allegedly lasting just three months.”

According to Paderina’s ex, Handy-cock “went out of his way to help the blonde Russian after she paid several visits to his constituency office.” Rather awkwardly for Banks, Hancock’s seat is very high up the list of UKIP targets that he’s now funding… 

UPDATE: UKIP sources are confident of the figure. They immediately point to an outstanding loan from 2007 of £75,000 from Banks’ Panacea Finance to the Thornbury association, as well as the £50,000 given in his own name. So that’s halfway there then…

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

LibDems Give Two New Jobs to Disgraced Rape Row Councillor

Four days after Mike Hancock left the party and the LibDems have already screwed up their next sex scandal. Disgraced Milton Keynes councillor Subhan Shafiq was forced to quit as mayor when he was exposed for allegedly giving character references to up to three alleged sex offenders applying to become taxi drivers, including rapist Nadeem Kiari. Lib Dem group leader Douglas McCall says despite this he is standing by Shafiq. That’s not all, McCall has just handed Shafiq two new council committee roles, on the health and adult social care committee and joint negotiating committee. Will they ever learn?

H/T miltonkeynes.co.uk

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

EXCLUSIVE:
Minister Funnels Expenses Cash to Firm Run By Former Agent

Energy minister Amber Rudd has channelled thousands of pounds of taxpayer cash to a Tory-linked company run by her former agent. Over the last two years Rudd has claimed £6,000 on expenses for “professional services” to organise several local jobs fairs in her constituency. The jobs fairs were organised by Events Office, a company run by Terri Lock, who is a Rudd’s former agent and a Tory council candidate in Hastings. Terri is married to Matthew Lock, former leader of Hastings Conservative group. Events Office seem to get a lot of business from the Tories, having organised a number of jobs fairs in the constituencies of other Tory MPs including Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Charities minister Brooks Newmark.

Guido’s favourite Labour MP Karl Turner says:

“Amber Rudd has serious questions to answer about whether the rules have been upheld. There can be no question of funnelling taxpayers’ cash to cronies against the rules. I hope David Cameron will investigate the behaviour of his new Minister.”

Fishy…

Monday, September 1, 2014

LibDems Select Hancock Cover Up Ally to Fight His Seat

Nick Clegg said that the LibDems had had a long hard look in the mirror after the recent sex scandals that have plagued the party. But has anything really changed?

They’ve welcomed back handsy Lord Rennard into the party fold after he apologised for ‘inadvertently’ ‘invading the personal space’ (knickers) of female activists and party aides. Now a row is brewing over their candidate selected in Portsmouth South, the seat vacated by pervy MP Mike Hancock who apologised and settled out of court after admitting inappropriate behaviour towards a mentally ill constituent. Portsmouth Council fought tooth and nail to protect Hancock: initially dismissing the allegations and refusing to properly investigate. Hancock’s oddball ally Gerald Vernon Jackson was the council leader at the time – and will now fight to keep his seat yellow. It’s a gift to UKIP, who made huge gains on the council in May. Another target seat for Farage…

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Clegg Spins His Own Rennard Failings

The restoration of Lord Rennard’s LibDem membership card, and neutering of Nick Clegg, as gone down like a cup of cold sick with almost everybody except the pervy peer’s mates. The Deputy PM and LibDem leader – in office but out of power – is left to bleating about long hard looks in the mirror.

Clegg outrider Sean Kemp spins to the Times RedBox:

“The Lib Dems’ absurdly complex disciplinary system has meant the only person being punished for the Rennard affair is Nick Clegg. The party’s leader was left unable to take charge of the issue, even while it badly damaged his party’s reputation.That system has now been changed, but that will do nothing for the people who wanted to see the party take tougher action.”

Clegg could have ‘taken charge of the issue’ when the allegations first surfaced internally before the last election. Or when he was told about them in 2010. Instead, like with Mike Hancock, he chose to ignore the problem and hoped it would go away.

Guido has zero sympathy.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Burnham ‘Owes’ Tax Efficient Lobbyist Aide £20,000

The Times and Mail are on the case of Andy Burnham’s health lobbyist aide Kevin Lee over his tax arrangements, a story Guido broke over two years ago. Readers will remember how back in 2011 this blog revealed how Lee was being paid as Burnham’s spinner not on a normal PAYE contract, but through his company, Lee Communications. Since Labour advisers are paid for by taxpayer-funded ‘Short Money’, this seems particularly creative. And the murkiness doesn’t end there.

When Burnham was Health Secretary, Lee Communications raked in hundreds of thousands of pounds in NHS cash, which is somewhat ironic given Burnham’s apocalyptic warnings about the Tories privatising the health service. Lee also splashed himself all over the internet boasting about his connections with Burnham and his expertise in public affairs. He was a health lobbyist with NHS clients.

As if Burnham employing Lee’s company and giving him a parliamentary pass permitting a health lobbyist access to parliament was not suspicious enough, Lee also “loaned” £20,000 to Burnham’s failed leadership campaign. Burnham has never managed to explain why he gave a lobbyist donor unfettered access to the parliamentary estate. As for that £20,000 loan, did Burnham ever pay it back? Let’s see if he can clear it up once and for all two years on…

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Expenses Claims Parliament Doesn’t Want You to See

Flamboyantly-named IPSA chief Marcial Boo is plotting to shroud MPs’ expenses claims in secrecy once again. Boo has told John Bercow that politicians’ claims for small stationery items should be kept hidden from the public because the delicate flowers are facing ridicule in the press. In the interests of openness, accountability and transparency – principles IPSA clearly have no interest in – Guido is publishing some recent claims that they want to keep secret:

  • David Cameron – bulldog clip, 7p
  • Austin Mitchell – pencil sharpener, 2p
  • Cheryl Gillan – calender, 4p
  • Jeremy Hunt – paper clips, 5p
  • Emma Lewell Buck – pencil sharpener, 5p
  • Liz Kendall – pencil sharpener, 7p
  • Harriet Harman – drawing pins, 10p
  • Ken Clarke – ruler, 11p
  • Andrew Mitchell – Tipp-ex, 13p
  • Sarah Teather – staples, 17p
  • Chi Onwurah - mouse mat, 18p
  • Alan Johnson – fold back clips, 34p
  • Vince Cable – scissors, 43p
  • Nadhim Zahawi – hole punch, 53p
  • Alistair Darling – glue stick, 64p
  • Vera Baird – dustpan, 69p
  • Gordon Browncalculator, £1

It goes without saying IPSA should be acting in the interests of the taxpayer and not simply sparing MPs’ blushes, but there is also a wider point here. Jim Devine submitted false invoices for printing costs, an expenses claim he was eventually jailed for. Keeping this seemingly trivial claim secret might have meant he got away with it. That alone shows why every expenses claim, however small, must face the disinfecting glare of sunlight…

Crook Who Took Looks to Get Off Hook While Plugging Book

Jailed expenses cheat Denis MacShane couldn’t stop himself from trying to weasel out of admitting he thieved from the taxpayer as he plugged his book on Channel 4 News last night. “I have no problems at all with what happened to me,” he began, before trying to convince viewers that actually he had been terribly hard done by and didn’t deserve to spend Christmas in the clink. Quelle surprise.

“I claimed money back, all of it expended. Unlike some of my other former colleagues there isn’t a single bit of personal profit for me. As several prisoners said to me, ‘You’re the only guy who’s in here from parliament who didn’t make any money’. But I’m not complaining about it, I’m really not.” 

Of course you’re not, Denis.

Asked repeatedly by Cathy Newman if he accepted he stole from the taxpayer, MacShane refused to show remorse: “No, I was reimbursed for money expended, alright, you can trundle around this as much as you like.” Worth watching the interview just to see MacShame’s face when Cathy reads his charge sheet to him…

Vid via @liarpoliticians.

Seen Elsewhere

Mirror’s ‘UKIP Goggles’ App Backfires | Press Gazette
Woolas Agent Standing for UKIP | MEN
Compassionate Left in Action | Mark Wallace
Sainsbury’s Distance Themselves From Sick Cam Tweeter | Speccie
Elites Pay Price for Killing Grammar Schools | Jago Pearson
Thornberry Makes Burnham Leadership Favourite | Matthew Norman
Guido’s Column | Sun
BBC Still Ignoring Savile Evidence | Telegraph
Politicians Brought Down by Twitter | CityAm
Ed the Biggest Loser in Rochester | Trevor Kavanagh
A Just Way to Manage Migration | Mats Persson


Find out more about PLMR AD-MS


Boris on his fellow Islingtonista Emily Thornberry:

“It was an entirely run-of-the-mill English townscape, with some straightforward words to go with it. There was no obvious insult, no abuse, no overt sneering. She might have got away with it entirely, had some alert blogger not spotted it. He instantly detected the coded message that Emily Thornberry was sending to all her right-on, bien-pensant, Labour-luvvie friends in Islington, or wherever else it is that they follow her on Twitter.”



Left on Left says:

The lefties are attacking because the panellist is a millionaire and lives in a London home worth upwards of two million. Someone had best tell them he’s called Ed Miliband.


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,604 other followers