Michael Spencer Boasted Tax Would Be Vetoed By Government
Heard it “First Hand” from Very, Very, Senior Government Figure

Michael Spencer was the Tory Treasurer before Peter Cruddas, here he is an interview he gave to the financial derivatives trade magazine Risk. He boasts in the interview that he knows the government will veto the tax the derivatives brokerage industry in London fears most:

Risk Magazine: You expect the Financial Transaction Tax debate to fade away. What happens if it doesn’t?

Michael Spencer: I have had it first-hand from very, very senior members of our administration who I know personally and have had good relations with for a long time, that it will be vetoed without any doubt and without any reservation at all.

Risk: Have you heard the same from other firms? Would there be an exodus?

MS: It’s not a matter of dinner-party conversation because genuinely we think if the French decide to go it alone in imposing an FTT we wish them every good fortune, but there is not a prayer in Hades that the UK will sign up for it.

Risk: And you heard that personally from a figure in the UK government?

MS: Yes, indeed.

Risk: Who?

MS: I’m not comfortable telling you who I speak to in private.

Guido is comfortable telling you…

The Prime Minister David Cameron told the City tycoon who owns ICAP, the biggest broker of financial transactions in London with the most to lose from the Financial Transaction Tax that he would personally veto the thing that would most damage his business.

Over dinner.

Beecroft and Bamford’s Cash for Access

Adrian Beecroft is in the “premier league” of Tory donors. Electoral Commission data shows he’s given well over half a million to the Tories since 2006. He lobbied Cameron on workers’ rights and no-fault dismissal and he even got to write a report on it. The controversial document on what could be changed has never seen the light of day. Business Secretary Vince Cable did like the idea but No.10 insisted on meetings with Beecroft. Why was that then?

Donation, access and policy influence in one fell swoop . Guido sources confirm that Chuka Umunna and Labour have dropped the ball here. They had planned to raise this recently with an Urgent Question but the move was dropped for yet another failed attempt at stopping the NHS Bill. Whoops…

UPDATE: A u-turn on which donors have dined in the flat is imminent. Lord Gold will lead inquiry. He’s a Tory peer.

UPDATE: JCB Chairman Sir Anthony Bamford and those close to him have donated over £2.5m in recent years. Last month Downing Street commissioned a report from the industrial expert. It had direct policy suggestions. 

Francis Maude promised transparency in May 2010…

“…that a new era of transparency in government has begun and today’s publications show that nobody, no matter where they work, or who they are, is exempt from this agenda. Much of what we have done today is completely new. For the first time anyone can see a whole range of information that has been held by governments before, but never put in the public domain. … But this is about much more than names and charts. We are drawing back the curtains to let light into the innermost corridors of power.”

Maude Promised to Publish Downing Street Meetings Quarterly
Transparency Agenda in Tatters

This morning Francis Maude told the Today programme “we have been more open about this than any government… all ministerial meetings are disclosed in a way that has never been done before.” That is untrue, no ministerial meetings have been published by the Cabinet Office since June 2011

In The Times this morning Guido argues that the distinction between private social and official public meetings is bogus for Ministers and Prime Ministers in public life. The Sunlight Centre is calling on Francis Maude to publish details of Downing Street donor meetings:

It is a Whitehall farce…

Sarah Southern Had Other Tories on Her Business Cards
Links to Transatlantic Lobbying Group Masked

The business card of former CCHQ staffer Sarah Southern, who was busted offering to retain undercover Sunday Times journalists for £15,000 per month in return for access to top Tories, will remain one of the more amusing yet important details of this scandal. Guido understands that the Cameron card was not the only one that Southern uses, and in fact she is said to have a range cards with different photos with various Ministers. Tory insiders suggest that they have been the source of amusement for some time, but not long enough for someone to say “hold on a moment here…”

After doing what is commonly known as “a Derek Draper”, an internet clean up job seems to have been done this afternoon, with various profiles being deleted, but not every trace of Southern’s connection to the British and American Project has been removed. She sits on the Executive Committee of the transatlantic networking group that puts rising stars in rooms so they can show off business cards. And the rest…

If you have been lucky enough to receive one of the sought after picture cards, then do drop us an email

Picture via Political Scrapbook

UPDATE: Southern is a Director of the British American Project. She also set up Sarah Southern Consulting on the 16th of last month.

Cruddas Quits – Full Resignation Statement
Stanley Fink Returns As Treasurer

Sunday Sleaze

Resignation statement in full:

“I only took up the post of principal treasurer of the party at the beginning of the month and was keen to meet anyone potentially interested in donating.

“As a result, and without consulting any politicians or senior officials in the party, I had an initial conversation with Zenith. No further action was taken by the party.

“However, I deeply regret any impression of impropriety arising from my bluster in that conversation.

“Clearly there is no question of donors being able to influence policy or gain undue access to politicians.

“Specifically, it was categorically not the case that I could offer, or that David Cameron would consider, any access as a result of a donation.

“Similarly, I have never knowingly even met anyone from the Number 10 policy unit. But in order to make that clear beyond doubt, I have regrettably decided to resign with immediate effect.”

Peter Cruddas resigns and kisses goodbye to the traditional peerage. Lord Fink has been brought back to CCHQ as principal treasurer…

“It Will Be Awesome”

Wives, Girlfriends, Predecessors

Carina Trimingham turned heads on Thursday when she sat casually having lunch in Portcullis House. Whilst the speculation today is whether or not she was wearing an engagement ring, Guido is more concerned about what a lobbyist is doing having unmitigated access to Parliament.

She apparently has a spouses pass…

And it’s not just wives and girlfriends that get this perk. After two terms in the House, former MPs are entitled to a pass, meaning they can get access to the bars and restaurants and continue to live their subsidised life. So they can retire back to the countryside and have exclusive use of riverside restaurants and bars to entertain in whilst in town, without paying London prices. A nice perk, especially if you are seeking to influence decision makers…

It’s bad enough that we subsidise the public sector workers inside the Palace of Westminster, but can anyone really try to justify feeding and watering their spouses and predecessors?

+ + + Huhne Decision at 10am Tomorrow Morning + + +

The pre-announcement of an announcement does not bode too well…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Lambeth Labour Put Pilgrim Wrecking Amendment Down

Pilgrims are on the agenda in the People’s Republic of Lambeth tonight. The Red Council has been dodging Pilgrim FoIs for six months, but was finally forced to reveal that their annual bung to the unions costs Lambeth taxpayers over […]

+ READ MORE +

Questions Mount Up for Andy “Bung” Burnham

Oh this just keeps getting better and better. Labour sources get in touch to point out that Kevin Lee has recently, and very quietly, been appointed Andy Burnham’s Political Adviser. That’s right, a man with business interests in health is […]

+ READ MORE +

Burnham Sponsoring Commons Pass for Health Lobbyist
Shadow Health Secretary “Owes” Lobbyist £20,000

Guido had to chuckle the other day when he saw Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham press releasing “our NHS is not for sale”. Not only did Burnham play a vital role in the ongoing privatisation of the NHS, […]

+ READ MORE +



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Ken Clarke tells the Ben Fellows trial:

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