The Taxpayers’ Alliance has calculated that the three Labour MPs charged with theft from the taxpayers; Jim Devine, David Chaytor and Elliot Morley, will share between them a pay-off totalling £151,552 come election day. They will also get generous gold-plated pensions. This is an outrageous piss-take.
Given that they are unlikely to have their day in Court before election day, the House of Commons should pass a resolution that any member facing criminal charges for financial impropriety should have payment of resettlement grants and pensions suspended until the result of the charges are known. If found guilty they should lose all their pension rights. They will still be drawing their parliamentary pay every month in any event.
This is what would happen to a servicemen or police officer who was found guilty of gross misconduct. It would be bordering on obscene to expect the victims of the crime – taxpayers – to pay hundreds of thousands to those convicted of thieving from them. Guido completely accepts the principle that these three are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but can see no legal reason why the payments can not be suspended until the Courts have resolved the issue.
Is there not one good MP who will put a motion to this effect before the House?
Devine, Chaytor, Morley and Lord Hanningfield face multiple charges which could result in prison sentences. Guido feels satisfied that this is a start. Particularly pleased that Jim Devine is facing charges – the Sunlight Centre made the original complaint against him to Scotland Yard.
Many other MPs will be thinking “there but for the grace of God…” Don’t be so sure it is all over troughers…
So Legg has found 52% of MPs guilty of over-claiming from taxpayers, all three party leaders had to make repayments and some MPs should face criminal charges today. They all face an election.
So judgement is coming in one form or another. The British political class make excuses, they wriggle and they deny. The inescapable truth is that they have been caught looting taxpayers for all they could get away with, they deserve all the opprobrium and more. Imagine a private sector firm where 52% of the staff had been found guilty of cheating their customers. It would be treated as a criminal enterprise.
So how should we describe our political class? It is not right and it certainly isn’t honourable.
*Legg’s vetting of 752 MPs’ and ex-MPs’ expenses over the period 2004-09 resulted in a total figure of 390 being told to pay up. That is 52% of the MPs…
The room bookings on the Palace Estate files have now been published. Some MPs have been trousering thousands from lobbyists and commercial interests to act as a room booking service.
There is a scratch-my-back, I-scratch-yours aspect to this racket, politicians get paid to advise lobbying firms in a general capacity, they then book rooms for clients of the lobbyists. It is hard to nail ‘em for this, but Guido will try…
Link to report [PDF] here.
Post info in the comments…
UPDATES : John Denham held breakfast event for AXA & registered an interest in providing them consultancy work the next month.
Patricia Hewitt booked Commons rooms 5 times for companies she had financial interests in – Boots, BT & Cinven.
John Mann, the holier-than-thou MP, held an event for Morgan Allen Moore (MAM), the controversial lobbyists implicated in the events surrounding Peter Hain’s resignation from the Cabinet in January 2008. MAM were the first lobbying firm ever to be kicked out of the lobbyist’s trade body. That is how bad they were.
The Right Honourable John McFall, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, likes to rail against the bankers on Newsnight. Obviously that is when he he can spare the time from hosting receptions for the Royal Bank of Scotland in the Strangers Dining Room (June ’08).
The oh, so green Ed Miliband sponsored a dinner for the Oil and Gas Industry Dinner in the Astor Room (Sep ’09).
Labour’s Jamie Reed booked for lobbyists Weber Shandwick – put it through as Weber Sandwich (Mar ‘o6).
Bercow hosts Masonic reception for 145. Gray’s Inn Lodge Ladies Night (Jun ’06)
Did David Davies get a free Blackberry for hosting Research in Motion for dinner in February?
Shagging Nigel Griffiths hosted lunch for Labour Finance and Industry Group, they have donated over £60k between 2005-2007 (May ’06)
Stephen McCabe held a dinner for a top Labour party donor Lord Bhattacharyya. He donated over £400,000 to the Labour Party. (May ’08)
Andrew Miller held a reception for Microsoft after receiving a paid-for trip to Berlin by them. (Jun ’08)
Mark Oaten, director of BHTA, hosts dinners mainaly for BHTA. Go figure.
Mark Tami MP booked the E.ON Parliamentary Dinner. E.ON UK made a cash donation of £10,000 by way of sponsorship to the national Labour Party in October 2007. (Mar ’09)
Labour Chief Whip Nick Brown hosted a reception for Amec Oil and Gas. (Dec ’06) His register of interests for the same year: “22-26 August 2006, to Stavanger, Norway, to visit Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) conference and exhibition, with the British Offshore Oil and Gas Industry All-Party Parliamentary Group. Overseas flights, hotel accommodation, local transport and hospitality sponsored by the UK Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA).” Amec is a member of UKOOA.
More Masonic connections – Tony Baldry hosted the Provincial Grand Lodge of Surrey. (Sep ’05)
The Scotsman is reporting that Nigel Griffiths is not standing for re-election. The disgraced MP is one of Brown’s most obsequious sycophants, always relied on to ridiculous public displays of loyalty to Gordon whenever crisis comes, as it so often does.
As well as playing sex games in his office (on camera) he claimed £3,605 for a plasma screen television. In 2002 the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner ruled that he was wrong to claim £40,000 to rent a property in Edinburgh that he owned. He has now developed an interest in low carbon issues and is getting into that racket taking a job with an NGO. Plenty of opportunities for more expense fiddling there. He was almost certain to lose his seat…
Disgraced mega-troughing MP David Chaytor is down for the third question on the order paper for this mornings Hague and Hattie show. Guido wonders what his question will be about:
Or just another planted question from a disgrace to parliament?
Brown is staying in Belfast where apparently he can’t be spared from negotiations. Nothing to do with the disappointing GDP figures yesterday. He can’t run away from the election…
Guido wonders when David Chaytor will be charged. Allegations are piling up against him. This morning the Telegraph has testimony that Chaytor falsified invoices for expense claims.
The CPS needs to move, no matter if there is an election in the offing. Justice delayed is justice denied.
David Chaytor, the soon to be former MP for Bury North, drew up a tenancy agreement with his daughter but disguised their relationship by giving her middle name as her surname. That is deception. That cannot be spun as an over-sight in the way he is trying to make out that continuing to claim for a phantom mortgage was an over-sight. Chaytor claims his mother was sick, he was so busy he didn’t notice the mortgage was paid off, the dog ate his conscience etc.
The Sunday Times reveals that Chaytor
“claimed that he was renting his flat from a woman he called Sarah Rastrick. These are the first names of his daughter Sarah Rastrick Chaytor, who had recently graduated from university when the arrangement started.”
We already knew that Chaytor had also used the name Sarah Rastrick when paying his daughter £5,000 from his Commons office allowances for research while she was a student. Using his daughter’s name to commit fraud is particularly low. Guido thinks there is a good chance that Chaytor will go to jail. Rightly so…
The semi-official LibDem policy of exploiting the expenses system for political rather than personal gain is looking likely to become a campaign issue. This is in some ways a more insidious form of sleaze. There is circumstantial evidence that Hampshire’s LibDem MPs; Sandra Gidley, Mike Hancock, Christopher Huhne and the retiring Mark Oaten have manipulated the Communications Allowance to save their party spending some £17,000 on envelope stuffing machines, which they claim are not used for political communications.
LibDem MPs like Sarah Teather have subsidised their constituency offices out of public funds for partisan purposes. She like many LibDems candidates uses an unincorporated association (controlled by LibDem activists) which publishes no accounts to produce her party literature. The not unfounded suspicion is that this is effectively a slush fund used to gouge the taxpayer at inflated costs for ‘official’ literature which subsidises the printing of unofficial party leaflets. These are not isolated cases, Cowley Street advises MPs to be “imaginative” in exploiting “grey areas”. They are still ripping off the taxpayer just as much as David Chaytor.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is taking longer than usual to indicate whether or not he intends to investigate allegations about a second secret slush fund used by Gordon Brown to pay his personal pollster and speech writer Bob Shrum, as revealed in former Labour general-secretary Peter Watt’s book “Inside Out“.
Usually John Lyon rejects complaints in 48 hours or so if he is not inclined to investigate. Why is the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards taking longer than normal in this case?
Nevertheless there is prima facie a case to answer, Peter Watt is not some insignificant peripheral figure. The allegation that Gordon Brown kept track of donor’s funds for his own use in an exercise book is not transparent and above board, keeping the details hidden from the person responsible for compliance with the law is just not acceptable and possibly illegal. Gordon really needs to explain himself, during the last investigation he point-blank refused to answer any questions put to him by the Charity Commission. Where are the records? What is Gordon hiding about the Shrum slush fund? Something smells.
*Harry Cohen is to be fined £65,000 for his fiddles, the socialist fraudster claims it “smacks of class discrimination”. He should really face criminal charges.
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New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:
“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”
Christie Malry @fcablog
Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops