IDS Should Face Benefit Sanctions

welfare

Awkward, via PA:

Iain Duncan Smith had his official credit card suspended after running up more than £1,000 in expenses debts, it can be revealed.

The Work and Pensions Secretary was among more a dozen MPs subject to action by the Commons watchdog after failing to show spending was valid.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) issues MPs with credit cards for to pay for items such as travel and accommodation.

The politicians then have to prove the spending was genuine by the end of the month, or they build up debts to the watchdog.

What would the DWP have to say about such a flagrant breach of the rules?

  • 3 categories of sanction – ‘higher’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘lower’ – depending on the nature of the offence

Seems pretty serious: Higher.

  • different levels of sanction for first, second and third offences

Hardly the first time that the words ‘IDS’ and ‘expenses’ have been heard in the same sentence…

Certainly a case for suspending hand outs.

UPDATE: Team IDS get in touch:

“Iain has not had his card suspended. IPSA have confirmed twice in writing that this issue was an error on their part. To be clear no money is owed”

Yet IPSA still insist the credit card was switched off and that they stand by their original claim entirely. So who’s telling the truth?

New MP Puts Secretary He’s Shagging on Highest Pay Grade

Yesterday Guido revealed the roll call of shame of new MPs boarding the gravy train by giving cushy jobs to family members.

Most impressive of the bunch is Gerald Jones, top left, the new Labour Honourable Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.

Gerald is not even two months into the job and he has already found his new Senior Parliamentary Assistant: his partner, Tyrone Powell, top right.

That job title means lucky Tyrone goes straight into the highest pay grade available, potentially taking home £43,272 of taxpayer cash a year.

He must have plenty of parliamentary experience…

New MPs Already Have Their Snouts in the Trough

They have barely been in their jobs for eight weeks, but our new Honourable Members are already learning how to milk the system.

In addition to their imminent public sector pay freeze-busting 10% pay rise, these new MPs have already begun to employ family members on their taxpayer-funded parliamentary expenses.

Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne) I employ my husband, Nicholas Ansell, as a full time Personal Assistant.

Richard Arkless (Dumfries and Galloway) I employ my wife, Anne Elizabeth Arkless, as part-time Personal Assistant.

Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) I employ my step-son, John O’Leary, as Caseworker.

Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) I employ my wife, Anne Double, as full time Senior Caseworker and Diary Secretary.

Harry Harpham (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough) I employ my wife, Gill Furniss, as part-time Researcher.

Gerald Jones (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney) I employ my partner, Tyrone Powell, as Senior Parliamentary Assistant.

Scott Mann (North Cornwall) I employ my non-cohabiting partner, Nicola Wade, as part time Secretary.

Johnny Mercer (Plymouth, Moor View) I employ my wife, Felicity Cornelius, as part-time Constituency Support Officer.

Paul Monaghan (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) I employ my brother, Mark Innes Monaghan, as Constituency Communications Manager.

Jess Phillips (Birmingham, Yardley) I employ my husband, Tom Phillips, as Constituency Support Manager.

Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole) I employ my wife, Frances Mynors, as my Personal Assistant.

David Warburton (Somerton and Frome) I employ my wife, Harriet Warburton, as a Communications Officer and Personal Assistant.

Corri Wilson (Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock) I employ my son, Kieran Donoghue, as Caseworker/Personal Assistant.

They will go far.

Theresa May Urged to Launch New Handycock Probe

Self-confessed teen fondler Mike Hancock might have lost his seat but he is not out of the woods yet. The Tory, Labour, UKIP and even LibDem group leaders in Portsmouth have all written to Theresa May demanding that the police take action:

Dear Mrs May,

We, the undersigned councillors of Portsmouth City Council, feel compelled to write to you about the failure of Hampshire Constabulary to investigate and take appropriate action regarding allegations of serious misconduct surrounding former councillor and MP Mike Hancock…

As you may know from national press reports, the careworker for a vulnerable adult (known as ‘Annie’) with mental health issues reported to Hampshire Constabulary in 2010 that Cllr Hancock had sexually assaulted or harassed Annie, in proper compliance with the Safeguarding Adults Policy. We have been informed that two male police officers then visited ‘Annie’ and counselled her not to pursue her complaint, because Cllr Hancock was a powerful person…

In the light of recent similar cases, where Hampshire Constabulary have admitted failures in procedure and in fact paid substantial damages, we view this situation to be of professional concern and unacceptable. We would therefore urge you to order an independent inquiry as to why Hampshire police have taken no action in this case, and, if necessary, make direction that the case should be looked at again by a police force other than Hampshire Constabulary.

We believe that this is the only way in which public confidence in Hampshire Constabulary might be restored in this case. This letter is a summary; all points raised in this letter can be evidenced.

We would appreciate a full, written reply to this letter which is of great importance to victims of alleged sexual abuse.

Yours faithfully,

Cllr Luke Stubbs, deputy Tory council leader

Cllr John Ferrett, Labour group leader

Cllr Steve Wemyss, Tory group leader in 2010, when the matter first surfaced

Cllr Colin Galloway, Ukip group leader

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem group leader

Handycock went from 18,921 votes in 2010 to 716 in 2015, so the people of Portsmouth certainly cottoned on that he was a wrong’un. Significant that all four parties are demanding action…

Cash For Influence: How a Labour Donor Killed a Bill

Guido has written previously on how Labour have let trade union donors buy influence in the House. Well, they have been caught red handed once again.

On May 29, Labour peer Baroness Turner sponsored a Private Members’ Bill seeking to reform Easter trading laws – introducing it at its first reading in the House of Lords.

The bill would have removed the prohibition on Easter trading for large shops.

Two weeks later, on the afternoon of June 16, the general secretary of the USDAW union emailed Labour peers asking them to oppose the Labour bill:

From: John Hannett

Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Subject: Please oppose the Easter Day Trading Bill – Second Reading on Friday 19th June

Dear XXXX,

As the main retail union for the UK’s 3 million shopworkers, Usdaw urges peers to oppose the Private Member’s Bill on Easter Day Trading at second reading on Friday. The UK already has the longest trading hours in Europe, with over 150 shopping hours a week, and only 2 days per year of large stores being closed – Christmas Day and Easter Day…

As the attached briefing sets out, two thirds of shopworkers are already under pressure to work on Sundays, and this pressure intensifies at busy trading times, with holidays not permitted…

For these reasons, I urge you not to support the Easter Trading Bill. 

Yours sincerely

John Hannett

General Secretary, Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive & Allied Workers)

Just three days after that email was sent to Labour peers, Baroness Turner withdrew her bill:

In the last five years, USDAW has donated over £6 million to the Labour Party. It has regularly lobbied in defence of exisiting Sunday trading laws.

A major Labour donor, which lobbies heavily on a single issue, successfuly gets a Labour bill withdrawn after lobbying Labour peers. It stinks…

MacShame’s First TV Interview: Send Him Back Down

Denis MacShane has surfaced to try and flog his prison diaries. Choosing the softest of soft interviews, MacShame was his usual unpleasant self on the Victoria Derbyshi*e Show:

The whole video is worth watching for MacShame’s total lack of contrition, his blaming of his colleagues for doing him in rather than the coppers and the CPS, and some extraordinary defamation of Grant Shapps regarding nom de plumes. Obviously he backs a pay rise for MPs.

He also claims that he started fiddling his expenses when he was a BBC journalist, and only pleaded guilty “because his savings were gone”. He’s still churning out that tired old line that he made no personal gain from his expenses troughing. Which makes you wonder what he did with all those laptops, and that garage. 

Clearly prison has not reformed this man; he seems to laugh off the fact that he was sentenced to six months in prison for defrauding taxpayers of £13,000 in forged receipts.

Even Derbyshire concludes that he is ‘shameless’.

Send him back down.

The Minister, the Lobbyists and the Charity Fat Cat

nanny

Last week Guido exclusively revealed plans by tobacco lobbyists ASH to spy on gay people, pregnant women as well as ban smoking in theatres, prisons and private cars. He wrote:

“The anti-smoking lobby group have written a wide-ranging wishlist for the coming parliament and it’s about as authoritarian as you can get. History would indicate that this bunch get what they want; from the smoking ban, to plain packs and restrictions on smoking in cars.”

As if to prove his point, Public Health Minister Jane Ellison will today attend the launch of the draconian plan, giving it her full blessing:

Parliamentary launch

You are also invited to attend the Parliamentary launch of the report on Tuesday 9th June. It will be hosted by Bob Blackman MP for Harrow East and Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health. Other speakers will include:

  • Jane Ellison MP, Minister for Public Health
  • Peter Kellner, Chair of the report’s Editorial Board and YouGov President
  • Deborah Arnott, ASH Chief Executive
  • Harpal Kumar Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK
  • Mike Hobday, Director of Policy at British Heart Foundation.

The launch takes place on Tuesday 9 June from 4pm to 6pm in the Dining Room A at the House of Commons.

Regular readers will remember it was Ellison that shoehorned plain-packaging through the House of Commons during the dying embers of the last Parliament, without so much as a debate in the Commons. She’s a fully paid up nanny-stater, and clearly has no qualms sharing a platform with the health fascists. 

Smokers’ Rights group Forest asked Populus to find out what voters think about taxpayers’ own money being used to lobby the government. They don’t like it:

no-lobbying

If you need to further judge the company that Ellison chooses to keep in her official capacity, also on the platform today is the controversial charity chief Harpal Kumar. The greedy boss has triggered outrage following the Sun investigation that found that he’s on £250,000, taking money directly from donations given to help cure cancer to line his fat cat pockets. Under Kumar’s regime the charity are paying out millions in gold plated executive packages, lifted straight from the collectors’ tins.

Vaz Spins Hacking Line in Yet Another Passport Scandal

Keith Vaz

The timing of Keith Vaz’s latest passport scandal is rather suspicious given the forthcoming Select Committee elections:

The former head of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz, has been reported to the parliamentary standards commissioner after lobbying visa officials on behalf of a controversial cricketing tycoon.

The senior Labour MP wrote to Sarah Rapson, the director-general of UK visas and immigration, asking whether IPL cricket league founder Lalit Modi’s “travel document could be made available”, the Sunday Times revealed.

You would have thought alarm bells would ring for Vaz the second he put pen to paper regarding a passport, but the man is – at best – brazen.

The only thing more suspicious than the timing is the ‘I woz hacked’ line, just published on Vaz’s website:

Hacked!

I have recently become aware that my email address may have been hacked, and confidential emails may have been downloaded. The hacking of computers is a criminal offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

When communicating with me or my office, the only email addresses which should be used are keith.vaz.mp@parliament.uk or casework@live.co.uk

It’s far more likely he was done in by a rival candidate for Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, or a Home Office insider…

Best Reponses to MP Pay Rise Consultation

Sitting somewhere in an office on Millbank, an IPSA employee sifts through the hundreds of responses to their consultation on MPs’ pay while trying to justify giving them an extra 10%. Here are some of the Great British public’s more […]

+ READ MORE +

Pressure Mounts on Cameron to Reject Pay Rise

A cynic might say the wannabe next leader of the Labour Party is being shamelessly populist, but Andy Burnham is first out of the blocks to turn down his 10% pay rise:

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Robbo Finally Confirms Baldwin Briefed “Milly Dowler Moment”

After Nick Robinson reported that “The Labour leader’s aides say that he sees this as another Milly Dowler moment”. There was a storm and it was a contentious front page news story about which he tweeted:

[…]

+ READ MORE +

How FIFA Tried To Distract the World at Its Annual Conference Today

14 FIFA officials have been charged with corruption and their President is facing calls to resign, but that hasn’t stopped football’s governing body from rolling out the red carpet for the opening ceremony of its annual conference today.

Maybe they […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Former Miliband guru Arnie Graf reveals Labour’s disconnect with the working class:

“On one of my trips to the U.K. in the autumn of 2013, I bumped into one of Ed’s strategists in Portcullis House. He asked me if I was assisting the staff on Ed’s trip that was to take place in a few days to one of the regions. I told him that I did not have knowledge of his planned trip.

He told me that Ed was going to give a talk at the region’s annual fund raising dinner and that prior to the dinner he had invited the media to join him at a local coffee shop to listen to a conversation he planned to have with a minimum wage worker. The point of the conversation was to show how difficult it was for a minimum wage worker to get on in life.

There was only one problem. No one had been able to locate a minimum wage worker for Ed to talk with.”

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