It is looting of the taxpayer. There is no other word for it. They are looters.
PoliticsHome polled its PHI100 panel of Westminster insiders for their assessment this morning and on a scale of zero to 100 Hazel came out worst. Is this reallynot just a factor of visibility? Blears has behaved disgracefully, but twice as bad as the next sleaziest government minister? Hoon’s sleaziness seems grossly underestimated…
UPDATE : Story is now up on Telegraph site.
Story Guido didn’t already have: Andrew Lansley renovating a property just before flogging it and flipping for another. Chris Grayling claiming £100,000 for council flat story is an old one done here before. Maude story was on Channel 4’s Dispatches a few weeks ago.
Doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence that as soon as they get their bums into the ministerial limos they won’t start troughing away.
UPDATE : Cameron basically said it was a bad day for the Conservative Party and he was sorry.
Guido’s turn to do a spoiler on Telegraph. Now we’re even…
UPDATE : Telegraph is flagging up Alan Duncan’s Jacqui Smith style claims for gardening.
Benefits in kind going undeclared by MPs and flipping primary residences to evade capital gains taxes will now be investigated according to a statement released by HM Revenue Commissioners.
Listening to the politicians who lecture us on redistribution and tell us “it is right that those who have more, pay more” explain why they evaded capital gains taxes is going to be fun. Fun for Guido at least. In fact it is like all Guido’s Christmases have come at once. Smeargate followed by the total exposure of the reality of politician’s troughing venality and lack of integrity is everything Guido has ever wanted.
Finally, after four hundred and four years, the torture of the original Guido Fawkes is being repaid without resort to the rack. When they start jailing politicians, old Guy will have been completely avenged.
There is a heck of a lot to round-up this morning. So first a bit of light entertainment:
Tory MP James Gray, who Guido can confirm from previous behaviour is a complete shit, is exposed today by the News of the World “as a greedy skinflint after claiming for Remembrance Day wreaths on expenses.” Iain Dale calls James Gray “a class one copper bottomed shit… I feel sick to the stomach that an MP from the party I support could even contemplate claiming money for a wreath, let alone actually going ahead and doing it.” So bad news for the Tory Shadow Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who also claims for wreaths. They are both pretty much unashamed that their tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice is to put in an expense claim.
Guido alluded to LibDem CEO Lord Rennard’s troughing ways yesterday, the News of the World has found out about his lying to the parliamentary authorities about his place of residence so he can trouser £41,678 tax free. Guido will be returning to Lord Rennard in the near future. His troughing dishonesty doesn’t end with this, nor does his personal morality bear much scrutiny.
The News of the Screws has a competition , the winner can live like an MP!
Caroline Flint is posing as a diva in a fashion spread in the Observer. The hard-hitting interview asks “Will she ever be able to improve on her number seven ranking in the Most Fanciable MP list?” No questions however about the former Housing Minister getting the taxpayer to pay her stamp duty tax.
The Times reports that Baroness Thornton, a Labour minister in the whips’ office, with a £1 million family house near Hampstead Heath claims up to £22,000 a year in expenses by saying that her mother’s modest bungalow in Yorkshire is her main home.
Hazel Blears flipped her main residence and told a different story to the tax man enabling her to avoid paying capital gains tax on the £45,000 profit she made out of taxpayers.
Tom Watson, the mendacious Minister for Mudslinging and Digital Engagement, claims almost £100 a week for food. Together with fellow Minister Iain Wright, he has used parliamentary allowances to lavish more than £100,000 on their shared Central London home since the last General Election. That is one gold-plated pig sty.
- Taxman probes second-home profits to see whether MPs have side-stepped capital gains
- Kitty Ussher claimed £20,000 for ‘bad taste’ Artex ceilings
- Sinn Fein MPs claim £310,000 expenses for rent on flats in properties all owned by one Irish landlord
- Stephen Byers claimed £125,000 for flat his partner owned
- Kevin Brennan had £450 TV delivered to family home
- MPs’ Expenses: ToTony Blair’s £296,000 mortgage on constituency home he bought for £30,000
- John Reid sent a bill for £199 pouffe and £29.99 glitter loo seat
- John Gummer claimed £36,000 for gardening and mole-hunting at his estate
- The Speaker’s scapegoat: Official who signed off MPs’ expenses didn’t even have accountancy qualification
- Millionaire Tory Greg Barker made £320,000 profit on flat funded by taxpayer
- Keith Vaz claimed £75,500 for a Westminster flat while family home is 12 miles from Commons
- ‘I’m just too honest’ says Phil Woolas who ‘claimed’ for women’s clothes
- Commons boss who called in police has four homes in three countries, including grace and favour mansion
- Millionairess Barbara Follett had own private police force (paid for by £25,000 of your money)
- Solicitor General Vera Baird claimed for Christmas trees
- Uniformed chauffeurs to football club for Michael Martin
- Care services minister claims £37,000 on furnishing tiny four-room flat
- ‘Police probe’ Minister Tony McNulty still defiant
Something to mull over; HMRC allows £5 per night subsistence deductions to taxpayers for overnight stays in the UK. MPs voted themselves £20-a-day tax-free subsistence payments. Why is the rule different for MPs? Do they eat 300% more than the rest of us?
UPDATE : Talking of Tom Watson, after reading the above a co-conspirator emails;
The first time I met him, after many bottles of vino and hours of him talking to my tits, he started telling me all about his second home in London and that he and Siobhan were looking to buy another one in the capital. I was thinking she must be loaded, but now that I consider it in light of current events, I have my doubts.
He is of course (like all MPs) loaded, courtesy of the taxpayers.
We know who the villains of this charade have been; the Speaker, the backbenchers of the parliamentary Labour and Conservative Parties. Gordon Brown has nothing to be proud of, he constantly failed to push reform forward because he could not carry his backbenchers. The YouTube debacle was his last minute desperate attempt to be seen as a reformer. Disastrous.
The shameful Members Estimate Committee, particularly Sir Stuart Bell, has done everything in its power to frustrate meaningful reform. Clegg’s LibDems have been better, though they have their embarrassments too (yes, Guido means you Lord Rennard). Cameron too has bitten the bullet even though he must know there are going to be a heck of a lot of revelations about his party. The Conservative Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin’s role has been very suspect and it is fair to say that Cameron’s stated position and the behaviour of his Chief Whip have often appeared incompatible.
So much for the villains, who are the heroes in this affair? One heroine stands out. Heather Brooke fought for years to get the details of MPs use of the public’s money into the public domain. She fought the parliamentary authorities long and hard in the courts. The deviousness of the parliamentary establishment can’t be overstated. This is her victory.
She was aided and abetted by the press, particularly some of the tabloids, freedom of information campaigners, pressure groups like the Taxpayers’ Alliance and last but not least, bloggers. There is one more hero who should not be forgotten, the person who has blown a digital whistle on this whole charade. It does not matter if the whistleblower has done it partly for money. Mercenaries can sometimes fight heroically for freedom.
Looks like two Labour peers have been found guilty of taking cash for amendments. The Sunday Times reports that Lord Taylor of Blackburn and Lord Truscott face a one year suspension.
A years suspension from the gravy train? They just got caught trying to sell legislation, isn’t whoring out parliament a bit more serious than that punishment suggests? […]
Disgraced LibDem MP Mark Oaten tells the Press Gazette that the News of the Screws had known of his activities for three years but had chosen to wait until he was better known to report his use of rent-boys. He claims:
“They had my story for three years I think, but hung on to it and never did anything with it.
Guido’s old friend Steve Morgan is not completely finished. Morgan Alllen Moore may have closed down, but you can’t keep a bad spin-meister down. The man who told his local paper he was the international spokesman for Obama, has a new operation – “Enviro Business Solutions”. […]
Get the News of the Screws tomorrow – a High Court judge has today backed the paper after it revealed Nigel Griffiths MP had sex in the House of Commons. Griffiths tried to gag the newspaper from publishing further details about his drunken sexual frolics.[…]