The Bodyguard, the Tory MP and the Mystery Cash

Patrick Mercer, the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Security, has received almost £10,000 from private security firm Clearwater. Until October 2011 the Tory MP sponsored their Managing Director Kevin Horak’s parliamentary pass. While he had that pass, Mercer was paid £1,000 per month by Clearwater for “security consultancy”…

Horak has now been given a pass by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Security which Mercer runs, and since then the monthly stipend has dropped to £500. Horak is a self proclaimed expert on security matters and he boasts all sorts of connections to politicians, including Gordon Brown and former Defence Secretary John Hutton, in order to promote his business. He’s wandering the corridors of power unchecked…

It’s not just the access that Horak is getting. The list of Written Questions Mercer has put in is coincidentally littered with references to private security – Mr Horak’s line of business. The website for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Security states that no one  in the group received any benefits from sources outside of Parliament. Guido feels that’s a pretty bold claim…

N.B: No answer on Mercer’s office line. However all of the sources for this story are publicly available…

Ed Misses Labour Donor Roland Rudd Off Transparency List

Ed Miliband has finally snuck his list of donor’s dinners out. A Friday afternoon data dump is always a sure sign that you don’t want too much digging  to be done. The meetings are overwhelmingly with his union paymasters but there are at least two “predators” welcomed in to break bread in his own home. With just one glance there are glaring gaps in the list, for example it shows a meeting with on 9 February with £100,000 donor Assem Allam, but not the meeting he had with him on the 10 March. The one we know about because he was photographed arriving at it in a Royles Royce instead of attending an NHS rally. How many other donors did not make the cut?

There is still no mention of Ed’s secret off the record meeting with the shady spinmeister Roland Rudd. Rudd organised meetings between Ed and business types and is a Labour donor through his firm Finsbury. Why has this not been reported here, and why when Ed promised live on TV to release the list of attendees, has this still not happened?

Time For Ed to Come Clean Too

Ed is about to take on Francis Maude over donor transparency and private dinners. Perhaps then Ed Miliband would like to tell us what he was chatting about in the Rolls Royce with Mr Assem “Pharoah” Allam who has just bunged him £100,000. Ed should not forget his televised promise to Guido to come clean:

As Ed prepares to stand up and lecture Cameron on shady dinners with rich business donors, Guido thought he would give the Labour leader a gentle reminder of his promise to publish a list of attendees at a suspiciously “private and off the record” dinner held for him at the home of lobbyist-spinmeister Roland Rudd in October:

As Guido reported at the time, Rudd has some charming friends:

“…known clients include Murdoch, the Daily Mail, not so environmentally sensitive miners like Rio Tinto and African Barrick Gold. Rudd’s client list includes Boots and easyJet, owned by predatory asset stripping private equity companies, the most aggressive takeover group in the world KKR – the original “Barbarians at the Gate” – investment banks like Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered, UK taxpayer bailed out banks like Royal Bank of Scotland and Greece’s bankrupt Alpha Bank. Glencore the rogue commodities trading operation run out of Switzerland retains Rudd.

Labour’s current favourite targets the big energy companies like ENI, Shell, EON and Centrica could have been sat round the table with Ed. Embarrassingly UK Uncut favourites Vodafone may have passed the port to Ed and given Rudd represents Wonga, which the Labour Party’s Stella Creasey campaigns against, there will be extortionate interest if they were there.”

The time is long past for Ed to come clean about donors as well…

Picture via Hull News & Pictures Ltd

Cameron Advised Bamford on Making Donations

An impeccable Cameroon source has got in contact to tell us that he was in the room when David Cameron was directly advising JCB Chairman Sir Anthony Bamford about the process of making a donation. Bamford has donated over £2.5 million in recent years and lent Cameron his helicopter many times. Last month Downing Street commissioned a report from him. Awkward.

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 […]

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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

[…]

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“It Will Be Awesome”

[…]

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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 […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

William Hague on Tony Blair…

“To the political law that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time he added Blair’s law – that you can make a very serious attempt at it.”

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