Linda Riordan Promised Transparency

2009:

2012.

Via Mark Thompson

Halifax MP Skims £1,000-a-Month in Rent-Swap Fiddle

The names are coming out. The names of MPs fiddling the system to maximise their expenses by renting their mortgaged property out so that they can then rent another property with the taxpayers picking up the bills for both. Say goodbye at the next election to Linda Riordan, the Labour MP for Halifax, not satisfied with earning three times as much as her constituents she employs her partner in her office on £42,500. Pushing their take from the taxpayer over the £100,000-a-year level.

That just isn’t enough for this little piggie, she rents out her London flat to another MP and skims off an extra £1,000-a-month in profit from the taxpayer, charging a rent of £1,560 on a property where her mortgage costs her some £500-a-month. She also claims £1,473 from the taxpayer to pay the rent for her own property. The combined £3,000 monthly claim represents an extra burden on the taxpayer which would not have been necessary had Riordan not contrived her tenancy. Housing benefits fraudsters go to jail for less.

UPDATE: Linda Riordan is a member of the hard left Socialist Campaign Group.

Her friend Helen Goodman MP thinks Guido is motivated by sexism:

Incidentally, we’re working on more names – mostly male- from all parties…

Revealed: How MPs are Rent-Swapping

Another batch of politicians, another expenses scandal. This morning’s Telegraph reveals that John Bercow is attempting under the cover of “security reasons” to cover-up the publication of another round explosive expenses documents that would expose a property merry-go-round between rent-swapping MPs.

Here Guido gives the “How-To” low-down on how sleazy MPs are swapping their rent to line their own pockets:

The first and most simple method of rent-swapping involves the MPs who make money renting out their own previously taxpayer-funded properties while claiming expenses to rent out homes nearby. According to The Telegraph Chris Bryant rents out his mansion flat in Bloomsbury while claiming £2,000 expenses for rent on another London property. We have repeatedly asked him for an explanation this morning without receiving any reply. The Speaker claims the truth cannot be released because it would pose a security risk. Laughable, Guido and anyone else who wants to know, already knows where he lives.

The second, far more serious, category of rent-swapping covers a handful of MPs suspected of renting out properties to each other, effectively an “I’ll pay yours if you pay mine” scheme. MPs are banned from renting homes to relatives but a loophole in the rules allows them to trouser huge sums of money by renting out properties to other current and former MPs. Bercow cites security reasons for not revealing the address or names of landlords, but there is absolutely no reason why he cannot release the names of the MPs involved in this form of rent-swapping. It is a cover up.

There is also potentially a third category: the so-called “phantom” rent swap. This involves the possibility of MPs telling the authorities they have moved when in reality they have not, and then swapping their rent on the quiet.

If these people were claiming housing benefit “Rent Swapping” like this would fall into the category of benefit fraud plain and simple, it is in the parlance of welfare fraud investigators a “contrived tenancy” punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.

Stay tuned. There is more to come…

Luciana Berger’s Cash Questions

It’s a pretty rare event nowadays that someone stands up in the Commons and asks the Chancellor to cut taxes, even more so when the question comes from the opposition Labour benches. Guido was surprised to learn that the shadow climate change minister, lovely Luciana Berger, suggested George Osborne should accelerate plans to cut tax for property developers back in October 2010:

“To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward proposals to make entrepreneurs’ relief from capital gains tax available to those who rent out property in the private rented sector.”

A tax cut for property developers, an interesting idea you might think. Could this sudden bout of entrepreneur friendly policy advocacy possibly be anything to do with the fact that Luciana trousered a £4,000 donation months earlier from one Anwar Ansari, a property developer? In June 2010 a property developer bungs Luciana several thousand pounds, then only a few months later she stands up in the House and asks the Chancellor to give property developers a tax break. Coincidence?

What’s more, Berger’s CLP then pocketed another £2,500 just a few months down the line from Allerton Priory LLP, a holding company for a property portfolio run by the Hanlons, a father and son property development duo. Could there possibly be a link between these generous donations from property developers and Luciana lobbying the government to cut their taxes? Once is a coincidence, twice is a case for the standards committee…

Jail Dodger MacShame Gloats: Cops In Crisis

Jail-dodging Denis MacShane has some nerve. Next week the shamed expenses cheat will speak at a “Crisis in Policing” debate to mark the launch of the 2013 Orwell Prize. The only crisis in policing is the fact that the phone-hacking investigation took specialist officers away from nailing him over his £125,000 expenses fiddle. A man who should be behind bars gloating about the problems faced by those who failed to nab him. Ballsy…

Tim Yeo: Satire Is Dead

Guido couldn’t believe his eyes when he read what Tim Yeo had to say about the Tory party conference today. Apparently:

“Conference has become too dominated by lobbyists and special interest groups, and it is driving away those genuinely interested in party matters.”

This from the same Tim Yeo who makes over £100,000 a year from green “special interests” while chairing the Energy and Climate Change select committee. The same Tim Yeo who quit a lucrative green job after a series of conflict of interest allegations. The same Tim Yeo who called for more flights to China on the same day his company agreed a huge contract with the Chinese government. He’s got some nerve…

Video: Savile “Feared in Every Girls School in Britain”

Tears of a Sleaze

Keith Vaz cuts a lonely figure tonight as his sits deep in contemplation in the bar of the Manchester Radisson. Surrounded by paperwork and an iPad wielding flunky, delegates are keeping their distance as he occasionally barks into his mobile. Guido has been sitting here for thirty minutes watching as the Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee massages his temples and stares pensively into the middle distance.

The revelations in today’s Telegraph that the police investigated half-a-million pounds of suspect payments to the Labour MP seem to be sitting heavy. Guido is no expert, but he would hazard a guess from the eyes that Vaz has been crying in the last twenty-four hours. Expecting more bad news tomorrow?

Unexplained Vaz Cash

Police documents show that in 1997 £136,566 was paid in and £130,427 taken out of an HSBC account; rising in 1998 to £187,103 paid in, including nearly £29,000 in cash, and £191,999 taken out. The following year, £120,394 was […]

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Knowing Me Alan Partridge, Knowing You Nick Clegg

It does not get any easier for the Deputy Prime Minister. Nick Clegg is having a one-on-one right now with Steve Coogan. Apparently the coked-up starf**ker is back on his high horse and is seeking “assurances from Nick Clegg that […]

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Small Guido Win as Gove Launches Formal Investigation

This silly-season Guido decided to run on some rather niche, but important, local stories while Westminster was quiet. As a result the Department for Education have launched an investigation into the school scandal that shook the Isles of Scilly and […]

+ READ MORE +

Tim Yeo Admits Wind Farm Bribery

With the government today endorsing Tim Yeo’s Thick of It-style playgrounds for wind farms policy, an old but nonetheless increasingly apt quote from the Energy and Climate change select committee chair has been doing the rounds:

“What we have

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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