Fast-Moving Stationery Investigation Halted With Apology

Labour MP John Woodcock has said sorry after the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner ruled that he shouldn’t have sent these raffle tickets offering tours of parliament using taxpayers’ money:

“I apologise for this inadvertent breach of the rules, which I have always strived to follow as your member of parliament. I take the proper use of parliamentary resources seriously…”

Yet the injustice doesn’t end there. Woodcock says in a statement:

“The founders of the Save Our Hospital campaign have decided to donate the full 25 per cent of the raffle proceeds – £837.50 to the Hospital Equipment for Furness Fund charity. The cost of the envelopes is being repaid from the remainder of the fund which had been earmarked for materials to be distributed after the forthcoming general election.”

Given it came out of his parliamentary expenses allowance, why doesn’t he just pay it back out of his own money?

Gloria De Piero Shopped For Leaflet Expenses

Labour’s Gloria De Piero is the latest MP to be shopped to the parliamentary authorities for blatant electioneering on the taxpayer. Sending out a survey just days before the Dissolution of Parliament, Gloria invites anyone who completes it to visit her in Westminster – somewhat presumptuous for a member defending a 192 majority in May.

Raging Red Len Attacks Miliband’s Media ‘Minnows’

Red Len is angry, specifically at Miliband’s spinners:

“What is also regrettable about the Sunday Times article is the apparent obsession of the media team around Ed Miliband who are constantly seeking opportunities for Ed to “face down Red Len” and Unite in order to show his macho authority.

They deliberately brief stories (off record of course) in order to create a phoney war between “Miliband v McCluskey”. It’s so transparent and crude, it’s getting tedious. 

These minnows should concentrate on the more important task of attacking this government and trying to improve Milliband’s image so we can achieve a Labour victory.”

Will he put his money where his mouth is?

People’s Champion? No Sorry From Sarah

Labour MP Sarah Champion is today paying back the £17 she claimed on expenses for a Remembrance Sunday poppy wreath. Apart from a short statement confirming she would reimburse the taxpayer, Champion has maintained radio silence in the face of searing public criticism. The Labour majority in Rotherham was halved when Champion was elected in 2012 following the MacShane scandal and UKIP are narrowing the gap. Is a ‘sorry’ so hard?

Sleazy LibDem: “The Doors Will Open For You”

 

Ibrahim Taguri, the former chief fundraiser for the LibDems, a parliamentary candidate and a member of Clegg’s inner circle, is filmed by the Telegraph telling a fake Indian businessman offering to make an illegal donation:

“Well, when you do this, the doors will open for you. Make it happen and then, then we’ve got a, we’ve got a different scenario. Okay? We’re going to introduce you to the parties, they will be, very, very helpful once they know you are helpful. That’s when we will, you know, the party will go, ‘Right, this is a guy we like, we know he’s supportive and —’, and we’ll work out a plan if we need to.”

The usual LibDem trick would be to put ’em in the Lords…

John Woodcock: Stationery Investigation Moving Fast

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has launched an investigation into Labour MP John Woodcock’s expenses.

As Guido reported last week, Woodcock is under fire for his use of official stationary and flogging access to Parliament as raffle prizes.

IMG_2102

The ever so transparent process gives only the vaguest of details regarding the fast moving investigation: ‘stationary’. 

Worth noting that the Commissioner has also decided to take up Rifkind and Straw’s self-referrals, though given the snail’s pace that things happen over there, it seems unlikely any investigation will be concluded before the two party grandees leave the Commons. Perhaps in time for the 2016 New Year’s Honours…

“Kensington and Chelsea” Embarrasses Hacks

Nothing like a political scandal to flush out some sloppy journalism. Malcolm Rifkind is standing down from Kensington. Not Kensington and Chelsea. The parliamentary constituency of Kensington and Chelsea does not exist any more: it was scrapped in 2010 when the seat was redrawn. What was once one of the safest Tory seats in the country now has a majority of just over 8,000. That hasn’t stopped national newspapers, broadcast journalists, lobbyists and assorted political hacks displaying a shameful lack of knowledge about their patch:

Nope

Guido wouldn’t ‘bet’ on that!

But Boris has a bigger majority in Uxbridge, oh wise hack?

Really?

BBC.

And Sky…

Et tu, FT?

Partial reporter? Partial with the facts more like!

Even self-proclaimed Parliamentary experts get it wrong.

Perhaps most embarrassingly the Indy even ran this terrible headline:

Don’t tell Peter Oborne, but there’s another subbing error in the Telegraph:

Tut tut.

SHAMELESS: Labour Candidate Withdraws After Benefit Overclaiming Exposed

They don’t call it the party of benefits for nowt. Hanna Toms, the Labour candidate for Truro, has withdrawn from the race after it emerged she had ‘inadvertently’ over-claimed her benefits:

“In the last few months, I was contacted concerning an issue with Housing Benefit I had been receiving. After co-operating fully to clarify my entitlement, I was advised that I had been overpaid Housing and related benefits. This came as a great shock. The problem arose because I was under the impression that as I had advised HMRC of my changes in income, that information would then be passed on to the council. I was wrong. I fully accept that it was my responsibility to have advised the council of any change in circumstances and I failed to do this.”

She says she’s paid it all back, but is quitting to spend more time down the jobby…

Malcolm Rifkind Steps Down as ISC Chair and MP

The Chairman of the ISC, the Rt. Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind has this morning issued the following statement:

None of the current controversy with which I am associated is relevant to my work as Chairman of the Intelligence and Security

[…]

+ READ MORE +

POLL: Should Rifkind Resign From Intelligence Select Committee?

Should Sir Malcolm Rifkind stand down to spend more time with the lifestyle to which he aspires?[…]

+ READ MORE +

Rifkind: It’s All About the Price Tag

Sir Malcolm Rifkind:

“I want to have a standard of living that my professional background would normally entitle me to have.”

Perhaps time to get out of ‘public service’ then, Sir Malcolm…

Vid via @LiarPoliticians

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Tories Suspend Rifkind

 

Following his meeting with Michael Gove this morning:

He says […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Labour candidate Clive Lewis tells the Staggers:

“I mean, in the multiverse there’s still three universes in a hundred where there’s a Green MP in Norwich, so anything could happen. I could be caught with my pants down behind a goat with Ed Miliband at the other end – well, hopefully that won’t happen.”

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