ConservativeHome polled 1,414 grassroots Tory members today and it don’t look good for troughers:
He has sent out a statement to Conservative Party members in his constituency:
Message from Andrew.
15th May 2009
I wanted you to know immediately that this morning I resigned as David Cameron’s Senior Parliamentary and Political Adviser.
As you can imagine I have been working very closely with David over the expenses issue, and particularly his excellent tough stance, which has gained such approval this week.
Along with senior Shadow Cabinet members, I was among the first to submit my claims and receipts to internal Party examination. This morning, I was told that whilst I had acted on the advice of the Head of the Fees Office and been transparent in submitting annually my designated home and second home addresses, my arrangements would not necessarily pass David’s reasonableness test.
Consequently in a very early morning conversation with David, I submitted my resignation, which I thought was the right way forward.
I am sorry that we have all become embroiled in this expenses row, particularly as I was following advice. I am now traveling up to the Constituency to see as many of you as possible, and will of course be fulfilling engagements tomorrow and on Saturday, as well as campaigning for the European elections.
I have decided to call a public meeting in the Constituency on Friday, 22nd May, so that any constituents who have concerns can put them to me. I will let you have details as soon as this is arranged.
UPDATE : According to numbers collected by Bloomberg, MacKay and his wife Julie Kirkbride have claimed £282,731 since 2001. So that is £141,000 worth of over-claiming. No wonder why Cameron sacked him at sunrise this morning. This is straight forward looting.
Guido has just got back from a hastily* called Tory press conference, where we were told by Dave that he has ordered:
… Michael Gove will pay back the £7,000 claimed for furniture. Oliver Letwin will pay back the £2,000 for the pipe under his tennis court. Andrew Lansley will pay back the £2,600 for home improvements. Alan Duncan will pay back nearly £5,000 for gardening expenses. Francis Maude will no longer claim any money for his second home in London. And neither will Chris Grayling. Theresa Villiers – the only London MP in the shadow cabinet – will follow suit later this year. I’ve also dealt with some of the smaller, but nevertheless significant, claims that have caused concern, whether that is Ken Clarke’s council tax bill in Nottinghamshire or David Willetts’s electrical bill. George Osborne will pay back the cost of a particularly expensive car journey. And I will pay back the only maintenance bill I have claimed in eight years as a Member of Parliament.
Is this enough? Burglars don’t get off by giving back the telly. Guido wants to see the small print, are they really going to be allowed to keep ill gotten gains because they were in the past?
*So hasty that Guido came late, straight from the pub dressed in traditional national dress – an Ireland rugby shirt. Guido naturally sat down right in front of Sir Michael White.
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. […]
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. […]
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. […]
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”. […]