Judgement is Coming

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…

Members Room Bookings Live

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)

Disgraced Nigel Griffiths Stepping Down

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.

louse

griffiths-arseAs 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…

PMQs : Chaytor is Third on the Question List

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:

  • Crime?
  • Housing?
  • The family?
  • Mortgage rates?
  • Sentencing policy?
  • Prison building?

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…

Chaytor Alleged to Have Falsified ‘Consultancy’ Invoices

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.

  • We knew already that he claimed for a phantom mortgage.  He says that was an oversight because he was busy and his mother was ill.
  • The Sunday Times revealed that Chaytor drew up a tenancy agreement with his daughter using her middle name instead of her surname.
  • HIs published expenses reveal that he used the same name-change trick to pay his daughter Sarah £5,000 from his Commons office allowances while she was a student.

The CPS needs to move, no matter if there is an election in the offing.  Justice delayed is justice denied.

Sunday Sleaze

Sunday Sleaze

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…

pork-spotlight

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.

Gordon’s “Fund With No Name”

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?

  1. It could be that John  Lyon is snowed in with complaints about our troughing political class.*
  2. John  Lyon could be referring to the scathing Charity Commission report into Bob Shrum’s involvement with Gordon’s other slush fund – the Smith Institute – before proceeding.
  3. The Commissioner could be looking for an excuse to not investigate a secret slush fund controlled by the Prime Minister in the sensitive run-up to a general election.

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.

Gordon Reported to Standards Commissioner
Over Second Slush “Fund With No Name”

It seems Gordon was not content with just the Smith Institute as his personal play thing and slush fund. Perhaps the most damaging allegation by Peter Watt yet, has been the emergence of Gordon’s secret “fund with no name“. Watt accuses Brown of siphoning donations to the tune of fifty grand a year to his own private polling fund, the only record of which was a tatty old exercise book. How very Gordon.

As regular readers will remember, when the Charity Commission reported that The Smith Institute, despite their many failings in terms of political neutrality were not paying the salary of Gordon’s private yank pollster Bob Shrum, Guido will admit to some confusion as to how Brown had managed to wriggle his way out of this. It now appears that Shrum could well have been paid out of this second, secret “fund with no name.” Whatever this fund was being used for it was breaking the rules for personal benefits that MPs must declare. The rules state that MPs must “provide information of any financial interest or other material benefit which a Member receives which might reasonably be thought by others to influence his or her actions.” Unsurprisingly a complaint has been put in to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards:

Guido reckons there is a very strong case for an investigation into this murky secretive fund.

Sunday Sleaze : Pesky Bloggers Do It Again

Sunday Sleaze

Lord Taylor of Warwick is back in a spot of bother over claiming overnight expenses in relation to properties which he doesn’t live in – again – and if wasn’t for those pesky blogs he would have got away with […]

+ READ MORE +

Sunday Sleaze

Sunday Sleaze

target-baronessThe Attorney General, Baroness Scotland flouted the tax laws, broke employment laws she herself drafted and fiddled £170,000 in expenses.  She was given a £5,000 fine for what she described as “technical breach of the rules”.  […]

+ READ MORE +

Sunday Sleaze

Sunday Sleaze

pork-spotlight

The Mail thinks Tony McNulty could be suspended from parliament for using his expense claims to house his parents in a second home in his Harrow constituency only 11 miles from Westminster and 4 miles from the home he and […]

+ READ MORE +

+++ Rennard Admits Flipping Main Residence in 2007 +++
+++ Ruling : No Definition of ‘Main Address’ +++

Shhh, Don't Tell Anyone We're in StockwellIn a very odd ruling following a complaint made by the Sunlight Centre about Lord Rennard to the House of Lords Clerk of the Parliaments’ Office, the Clerk has decided that in “the absence of any definition of main address […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Adam Boulton says David Cameron campaigned as a neo-Thatcherite…

“The manifesto programme, with its sell-off of social housing, clampdown on public sector strikes, EU in/out referendum and benefit cuts, represents a much more traditional, neo-Thatcherite conservatism than that offered by Cameron Mk 1…”

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