Sunday Sleaze

Sunday SleazeThe Sunday Mirror has been digging all week into the Shadow Cabinet trying to find someone on the Tory frontbench “doing a Jacqui”. To do that they would need to find someone claiming a lodging as their main home. If they have found a Tory frontbencher “doing a Jacqui” they deserve everything they get. Guido is willing to bet they have found them almost all claiming the mortgage subsidy. The question is have any of them done a scam as brazen as Jacqui’s fiddle?

UPDATE : Rumour is that Chris Grayling has claimed over £100,000 in expenses over 7 years for an ex-council flat in Victoria costing just over £100,000. It might be within the rules, but it don’t smell good…

Standards Commissioner Asks Jacqui to Explain Herself

Paul Waugh has the scoop – John Lyon has finally written to Jacqui Smith asking her to explain her £116,000 fiddle.

She is going with the “it was all approved” line. Guido very much doubts she told the Fees Office she was going to spend most nights of the year with her family rather than at the “main home” (actually her sister’s spare bedroom).

On the basis of the Trend ruling, where the Tory MP in parallel circumstances had to pay back £90,000 and the precedent established ironically by Mr & Mrs Balls, she has a prima facie case to answer. (The Balls’ argued successfully that in the recess and school holidays they spent the majority of the time away from London at their constitutency home, therefore on the basis that they spend more nights there, that was their main home). The Standards Committee needs to take a hard look into the evidence of where she spent most nights.

UPDATE : Isn’t there a huge conflict of interest here? The best independent source of evidence for where Jacqui spent her nights will be the records of the police protection unit. Who oversees the police?

Ciao Fella! David Mills Gets 4 1/2 Years Jail Time

Lord Moonie’s Backers Arrested Alistair Darling “Did a Jacqui”

When the man in charge of the nation’s finances, Alistair Darling, has been caught fiddling his expenses, and Jacqui Smith, the woman who is in charge of crime prevention is accused of corruption, you have a government which is a kleptocracy. The New Labour promise to be “whiter than white” is like a sick joke now.

Lord Moonie’s money grubbing ways are a disgrace to the House of Lords, he also aided and abetted another expenses fiddle by facilitating Alistair Darling lodging with him and claiming expenses based on Moonie’s flat being Darling’s “main home”, in just the same way that Jacqui claims her sister’s house is her “main home”. Already under investigation for Cash for Amendments, Lord Moonie is mired in fresh sleaze after his business associates were arrested in a police probe into alleged fraud in the NHS.

The Sunday Herald has the scoop:

Richard Nawrot and George Henderson, who run Fife-based Americium Developments, were arrested in London last month on “suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud and misconduct in a public office”.

Americium currently pays Moonie, a close ally of Gordon Brown, up to £40,000 a year in consultancy fees. The peer’s relationship with the company dates back to October 2006.

Two of Americium’s US clients have told the Sunday Herald they had lunch with Moonie and Nawrot at Westminster and that the peer later gave a tour of the parliament.

One client said he discussed a potential NHS contract with Moonie at the lunch.

Moonie was close to Gordon and at the heart of the Scottish Raj. He knows where the bodies are buried. This could potentially get very messy for Brown.

Second Complaint Over Jacqui Smith to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner told the Centre for Open Politics he can’t accept the evidence of a newspaper article alone. Well how about Jacqui’s own words?

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings…

Michael Trend Precedent is Worrying for Jacqui Smith

Sir Michael White reckons that Jacqui Snith will get away with it. Guido, ever the optimist, is not so sure. The atmosphere currently is very unsympathetic to expense fiddles by politicians, particularly fiddles on this scale. The Michael Trend precedent is not encouraging for Jacqui, nor is is the precedent established by Mr & Mrs Balls.

You may wonder how that is so – after all Ed and Yvette got away with their fiddle. Yes they did, but only after arguing that their constituency home was their main residence. They claimed that they spent more time at the constituency home and therefore that was their primary residence, allowing them to claim expenses for their more expensive London home. That argument was accepted by the authorities.

Jacqui wants us to accept the opposite. That her main home is her sister’s London home where she lodges, so she can claim for her more expensive constituency home. She will have to show that she spends more time at the London flat than seeing her own kids. Crucially, is it three or is it four days a week that she spends away from her kids? The Balls’ argued successfully that in the recess and school holidays they spent the majority of the time away from London, it is hard to believe that Jacqui would stay in London when parliament is in recess and remain away from her family. Why would she do that when she was previously a whip? There would be no reason to stay away from her family and constituency.
That recent Balls precedent is going to be a difficult obstacle. However the Michael Trend precedent is even more worrying for Jacqui. In 2003 the Tory MP was found guilty of abusing the allowances system and ordered to repay £90,277, he was also suspended from parliament and stood down in disgrace at the following election. His crime was to claim the same allowance as Jacqui has when he was staying with a friend in London. Trend claimed he “believed that I could properly continue to designate London as ‘home’ for the purposes of ACA, even though, in domestic terms, Windsor had become my “main residence”.” This is apparently Jacqui’s position. It was not accepted. There was no doubt in the Standard’s Committee’s minds that there was no “real scope for doubt that the words “main residence” were intended to have other than their natural meaning.”

The Committee ruled that “Mr Trend should have recognised that, by claiming Additional Costs Allowance in relation to his Windsor home, the taxpayer was meeting some of the core running costs of what was in reality his main residence. He should have realised that this was wrong. Accordingly, we agree with the Commissioner that Mr Trend was negligent and has breached the Code of Conduct by making improper use of the Additional Costs Allowance and by failing strictly to observe the administrative rules relating to the Allowance.”

It is hard to see how, in these parallel circumstances, Jacqui Smith should not suffer the same fate. Ordered to repay the fiddled £116,000 and suspended from parliament. In which case she will have to resign as Home Secretary.

Anti-Corruption Group Calls for Investigation of Jacqui Smith

The Centre for Open Politics has written to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards making a formal complaint regarding Jacqui Smith’s expense fiddles:

Jacqui Smith Complaint to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

Interesting dilemma: if there is any question of a police investigation of her “Obtaining by Deception” under the Fraud Act, she would have to resign as Home Secretary.

Labour Sleaze : Lord Moonie’s Cash for Questions Northrop Grumman Paid Peer £30,000 for 23 Questions

The Sunday Herald has got more trouble for Lord Moonie, who is already under investigation for Cash for Laws. He is paid £30,000 to act as a consultant to Northrop Grumman Corp., the U.S. arms manufacturer, distasteful but legal.

The sleazy Lord has however now been caught out asking Questions for Cash:

23 of the 46 written questions Moonie has had answered by the government in the Lords relate to defence work connected to Northrop Grumman Corp. These include the F35 joint strike fighter, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Airbus A400M cargo plane, the Navy’s Type 45 destroyer programme, and unmanned aerial drones for spying and bombing.

Moonie also asked a question about the Sentry Awacs early-warning aircraft. In 2005 Northrop Grumman won a £665 million contract to maintain and support the Royal Air Force’s Awacs fleet over 20 years.

Moonie was ennobled in 2005 but did not ask any parliamentary questions in his first three years as a peer, according to Hansard. But since mid-2008 he has asked almost 50, all on defence issues.

Angus MacNeil, the Nationalist MP for the Western Isles, said “The coincidences do not look good. I would like to think there was no motivation when Lord Moonie asked these questions, and I am sure he will be able to tell us why he didn’t ask any questions before he worked for this company.”

Moonie stepped down as an MP following boundary changes to make way for Gordon Brown and was enobled as a quid pro quo. Moonie also paid Gordon Brown handsomely for his old Kennington flat which he then sub-let to Alistair Darling. We are clearly not dealing with an obscure outsider here, we are dealing with corruption right at the heart of Labour’s Scottish Raj. Will Gordon Brown allow a corruptian investigation into someone so intimately connected to him?

The Name is Truscott, Peter Truscott, Double-Oh-One (of Them)

Guido has been speaking to people who knew Baron Truscott when he was just a lowly local Labour councillor. They are amazed that nowadays he is the emissary of shady characters who would make good Bond villains. He is director of two firms controlled by Frank Timis, the twice convicted heroin dealer, who owns African Minerals, (formerly called the Sierra Leone Diamond Company).[…]

+ READ MORE +

Lord Truscott and the Heroin Dealer

The above video filmed by the Sunday Times in the St James Hotel’s restaurant is pretty damning for Baron Truscott. The former Labour DTI minister – once a special envoy for Tony Blair – is now a director of oil and mining companies controlled by Frank Timis, a twice convicted heroin dealer.
[…]

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Parliament of Whores*

No one is really surprised in the least that legislation is for sale, that four Labour Lords have been caught brazenly setting out the tariff rates that they are willing to work at is a little unusual. Ordinary non-political people presume this happens all the time, whereas Westminster Village insiders deny it is so and reckon we have a relatively uncorrupted legislature.[…]

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More Mortgage Questions for Mandelson

Is history going to repeat itself? Greg Hands is asking how Mandelson made the money dealing in property in his constituency to install himself in a £2.5 million Regency villa. Mandelson admits to receiving money from Alain Minc, the mysterious French fixer who was an adviser to former premier Édouard Balladur and now makes his millions “fixing” things.[…]

+ READ MORE +

If Spelman is Cleared, It Stinks

The London Evening Standard’s Paul Waugh is reporting that Spelman will be cleared of wrongdoing over her taxpayer funded nanny.

If, as sources claim, the Lyon inquiry reports that there is no evidence of deliberate wrongdoing or a breach of Commons rules, Cameron will not sack her from the Shadow Cabinet.

[…]

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Tonight’s Conversation Starter for Mandelson and Balls

Patrick Hennessy tells us that there is an interesting dinner planned for tonight, and that in a new found spirit of peaceful cooperation, bread will be broken by two old enemies. Before the great tribal truce and the summoning of the Dark Lord from over the water by the One-Eyed Son of the Manse, Peter Mandelson and Ed Balls were the most vicious champions of their respective masters; Blair and Brown.[…]

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Gordon’s Slush Fund

The Mail on Sunday this morning is following up on this story. Guido will have more revelations next week…

+ READ MORE +

Hain : CPS Statement in Full


CPS decides no charges for Peter Hain MP


5 December 2008


The Crown Prosecution Service has today advised all concerned parties that there is insufficient evidence to charge Peter Hain MP with any offences in relation to donations made to Mr Hain’s campaign to support his bid to become Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in mid 2007.
[…]

+ READ MORE +



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