Third Time Unlucky For Hancock

Weirdy-beardy LibDem MP and coalition critic Mike Hancock has never been far from controversy involving his sex life, and this weekend was no different. Hancock has done well in recent months to keep certain stories about him out of the media.  Carmen the busty señorita he wined, dined and even gave a personal tour of the House of Commons never surfaced and Hancock’s re-election campaign in Portsmouth was blighted with much darker allegations that were injuncted. However this time there was nothing Hancock could do to stop being splashed across the Sunday papers again – mainly because he admitted the allegations put to him.

Hancock has not denied he pestered a mentally ill constituent who came to him for help. He dined with her in the House, bought her a teddy bear and other gifts and pestered her with “sexy” text messages. He claims her was just trying to “cheer her up” but the woman’s carers have reported him to the police, who are now investigating. Given his track record it’s unlikely Hancock’s long suffering wife will buy that line…

On the back of the scandal that he had employed a researcher who has links to the KGB, the knives are sharpening around Hancock. Guido spoke to a senior council source down in Porstmouth who is fuming about the lastest embarrassment Hancock has caused:

“The pressure is mounting on Hancock. There have been many rumours about him swirling around Portsmouth and Westminster for years, but this latest news is particularly worrying. It is not acceptable for him to remain in a Cabinet role on Portsmouth City Council – where he has influence over policy regarding care for the vulnerable – at a time when the police are investigating him for allegedly abusing a vulnerable constituent. Whether he should remain an MP is a matter for the Liberal Democrats, and his conscience.”

Looks like Hancock might be waiting a little longer for his long-coveted title Lord Hancock of Fratton…

Pointless Access

This morning’s Telegraph splash about “cash for access” is a little over-hyped. These conference 30-second-hand-shake gigs are nothing new and something both major parties have been guilty of for years. Party funding is a mess and throwing rocks in either direction is a waste of time without a comprehensive overhaul of the whole system. They sound dreadful too. You couldn’t get Guido to go if you paid him £1,000…

For what it’s worth though, paying a £1,000 to sit next to a Government Minister makes a lot more sense than paying £1,521.62 for breakfast and a drinks reception with some washed up Labour Shadow Ministers, as advertised for this year’s conference.

Guido can’t really see any point, other than being close enough to punch one of them.

UPDATE: Sky’s newish politico Rachel Younger points out that for “£40 you can dine with Business Secretary Vince Cable at the Quay Hotel in Deganwy. The fundraising dinner held by the North Wales Liberal Democrats takes place on the 30th of October and in these penny-pinching times it sounds like a bargain to me.” Shudder.

Lobbyists Still Bending Access Rules

Parliament has finally got round to publishing the list of pass-holders and their various sponsors. Tory Mark Garnier has given one to the nice lady who organises his dining society. For his life Guido can not work out why Labour’s Anne McGuire would need to give unfettered access to a US Embassy ‘Political Analyst’. Sounds very spooky…

Matthew Ball is a lobbyist, and a not bad one at that. He’s the director of the Westminster Bridge Partnership. They lobby on behalf of the Co-Operative group mainly. How nice then of Andy Love, a Co-Op MP, to give him a pass. All day Ball can wander around Parliament pressing flesh on behalf of his clients, keeping it all in the Co-Op family.

Guido is bemused at how, despite clear guidelines on lobbyists being in Parliament, the rules can be broken so blatantly. How about Rosemary Hadow who works for the Lighting Industry Federation, representing a niche but lucrative industry. Conveniently she does a bit of work for the All-Party Parliamentary Lighting Group and hey presto she can have a pass from Tony Baldry. Perfect for spreading the word about the fight against compulsory maximum wattages on light bulbs and other campaigns over drinks on the Terrace eh?

And what about those forgotten lobbyists, pushing for the special interests of a minority. Well seventeen Labour MPs have given a parliamentary pass to trade union political officers, with no fewer than five for Unite.  The list is long – could co-conspirators help crowd source the cross referencing of lobbyists and passholders. Have a look through the list yourself and email Guido with any names you might recognise or that stick out…

A Spiv Too Far

ConservativeHome sums up the David Rowland story thus:

The Daily Mail Sinks the Tory Treasurer

By Tim Montgomerie

First CCHQ announces that David Rowland will be the new Tory Treasurer.

THEN…

Fundraisers tend to have a bit more chutzpah than your average party hack (think sleazy Lord Levy), but Rowland (pictured here with a blonde not his wife) had trouble written all over him.  The cleaning up of politics means parties will have to raise funds from their memberships, appeal to members, listen to the grassroots, represent their interests. It is just lazy to raise funds from a few plutocrats…

UPDATE : Just a thought: can you imagine the Daily Mirror going after a bent Labour backer with as much venom as the Mail went after Rowland? Can you imagine LabourList or LeftFootForward joining in the pursuit? The Mail has done the Tories a favour in the long term.

See also : Rowland Gave Tories a Million to “Set the People Free”

Tory Taylor Tipped for Trial

Lord Taylor of Warwick is due at Westminster Magistrates Court today on six charges of dodgy accounting. Though a barrister, he is going to find it hard to wriggle out of charges of claiming expenses for living outside of London when that seemingly wasn’t true. Mysteriously the addresses he claimed he lived in don’t really check out. If it wasn’t for eagle-eyed co-conspirators, Taylor would probably have some role in government right now.  

As with the investigation into Jim Devine, he would have got away with if it wasn’t for those pesky bloggers…

UPDATE 14.19: Taylor pleads not guilty and is remanded on bail until 17th September.

Huhne’s Park Communications Confusion

The Sunlight Centre for Open Politics has been sniffing around Chris Huhne’s election expenses and despite asking very nicely, they are not getting any reply from him. Now Guido knows the multi-millionaire gold-mining, horizontal jogging Secretary of State for Energy and the Environment has other things on his mind, but it appears there are some serious questions involving some interesting invoicing practices, possibly designed to hide the true cost of printing.

You can read some of the background to the Sunlight Centre’s investigation here, but essentially the invoices for Huhne’s leaflets are from the “Itchen Valley Printing Society”, who mysteriously share his constituency office. The  produced material however was in reality printed by Park Communications Limited. Park is an interesting organisation that is very, very close to the Liberal Democrats – their chief exec hosts events with the head of the LibDem campaigns department. Through various holding accounts, the money it makes from a host of LibDem candidates ends up offshore in Guernsey.

Perhaps if Chris Huhne could find a moment over the weekend he might want to clear this little matter up. Or maybe he would like to go on Channel4 News and chat about it with Jon Snow…

Friends in Nye Places

So Gordon made it along to Westminster to watch old Sue become Baroness Nye of Lambeth. Gordon’s newly domiciled dodgy donor Lord Paul even managed to put in a rare appearance in the Lords. As gatekeeper Sue would have had a lot of responsibility dealing with the hundreds of thousands of pounds Paul took from the pension funds of his steel conglomerate and threw Gordon’s way. Guido imagines he will be buying the drinks later, although his other close friend, Sarah Brown, won’t be joining the party… When Gordon comes down to London from Scotland, She’s goes from London to Scotland on a mystery “mini-break”.

UPDATE: Jon Craig had a view of Gordon:

…there he was, standing bolt upright and staring straight ahead at Sue, no smile, the sort of serious expression he used to display at the Cenotaph on Rembembrance Sunday. Once Sue had signed in, I ran downstairs to the Peers’ Lobby to see if I might bump into him and grab a word. But I failed. He had left the Lords chamber by a side door and I was thwarted. So, now I know he’s on the premises, will he turn up – and perhaps even speak – in the third reading debate on the Finance Bill?

Guido isn’t holding his breath…

+ + + Breaking: Lord Taylor Charged with False Accounting + + +

Troughing Tory peer Lord Taylor of Warwick has been charged for claiming expenses in relation to a house he didn’t own.

Having been brought down by a blogger he’s now on his own, out of the party and in the dock. He’s accused of fiddling the second home allowance by claiming to have spent six years living at the former home of his dead mother.

Developing…

Miliband’s Own Donors Don’t Believe in Him

David Miliband proudly published his formidable donors list on his website yesterday. Intriguingly the law firm Mishcon de Reya have given the favourite in the race £13,077 through a donation-in-kind of legal services. This strikes an odd note given […]

+ READ MORE +

Pervy Porn Councillors Quit

Scandal looks set to rock Kensington and Chelsea Council as two Tory councillors have just quit following the circulation of, err, extremely inappropriate material, via their council email accounts. All sorts of rumours are flying around about Cllr’s Barry “filthy”[…]

+ READ MORE +

Sunday Sleaze

Sunday Sleaze

A pretty quiet round of Sunday’s. Labour’s Frank Cook is the latest MP to feel the heat of the Telegraph’s rehashed expenses attack. The story was worth printing just for the headline, but as Dale points out these two […]

+ READ MORE +

Up in Arms: Back Again Despite Being Twice Stripped of Pass,
Loophole Lets Lobbyist Back into Parliament for Third Time


On first impression the aims of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces – “to promote in Parliament better understanding of the UK’s armed forces, and their objectives and activities” – seem reasonable. Alarm bells start to ring […]

+ READ MORE +



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Liam Fox shreds Cameron’s Calais scaremongering:

“Sad and disappointed to see our Prime Minister stoop to this level of scaremongering, especially as he knows the Calais agreement is nothing to do with the EU and agreed between the two govts”

Top Posts This Week

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.

Facebook

Open Minded Herbert’s Made His Mind Up Open Minded Herbert’s Made His Mind Up
Amazon’s Lawyers Prepare for Zombie Apocalypse Amazon’s Lawyers Prepare for Zombie Apocalypse
PMQs (Rap Version) PMQs (Rap Version)
Top Europhile Defects to Out Campaign Top Europhile Defects to Out Campaign
BARROSO: BRAKE WON’T PUT OFF MIGRANTS BARROSO: BRAKE WON’T PUT OFF MIGRANTS
PESTON OUT OF THE LOOP PESTON OUT OF THE LOOP
LABOUR’S CONSISTENT FLIP-FLOPPING ON SURVEILLANCE LABOUR’S CONSISTENT FLIP-FLOPPING ON SURVEILLANCE
UBER TRIES TO KILL HAILO UBER TRIES TO KILL HAILO
CALAMITY CORBYN’S COMICAL CAMPAIGN COCK-UP CALAMITY CORBYN’S COMICAL CAMPAIGN COCK-UP
PARLIAMENTARY PANCAKE RACE (INSERT MANDATORY TOSSER JOKE HERE) PARLIAMENTARY PANCAKE RACE (INSERT MANDATORY TOSSER JOKE HERE)
SADIQ LOSES IT WITH BBC JOURNALIST OVER TFL FARES SUMS SADIQ LOSES IT WITH BBC JOURNALIST OVER TFL FARES SUMS
FRENCH GOVERNMENT DISPUTES CAMERON ON CALAIS FRENCH GOVERNMENT DISPUTES CAMERON ON CALAIS
EX-LABOUR MINISTER COMES OUT FOR BREXIT EX-LABOUR MINISTER COMES OUT FOR BREXIT
EU GOING TO PAY FOR THAT? EU GOING TO PAY FOR THAT?
TORY MPS PAN CAM’S CALAIS SCAREMONGERING TORY MPS PAN CAM’S CALAIS SCAREMONGERING
LEAK: LANSMAN MOCKS “CLUELESS” UNITE CHIEF LEAK: LANSMAN MOCKS “CLUELESS” UNITE CHIEF
CARSWELL: “NOT GOING TO CRITICISE FELLOW EUROSCEPTICS” CARSWELL: “NOT GOING TO CRITICISE FELLOW EUROSCEPTICS”
SUNNY DAYS AHEAD FOR SCRAPBOOK SUNNY DAYS AHEAD FOR SCRAPBOOK
HOW MANY MPS DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE A SOAP DISPENSER? HOW MANY MPS DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE A SOAP DISPENSER?
KEN PREDICTS MCDONNELL WILL BE NEXT LABOUR LEADER KEN PREDICTS MCDONNELL WILL BE NEXT LABOUR LEADER
Don’t Criticise Fellow Brexiteers Don’t Criticise Fellow Brexiteers
EU CABINET GUIDE: WHITTO MOVES UP, GOVE TORN EU CABINET GUIDE: WHITTO MOVES UP, GOVE TORN
PROTESTER CHUCKS DILDO AT MINISTER PROTESTER CHUCKS DILDO AT MINISTER
LEAVE 9 POINTS AHEAD SINCE DAVE’S DEAL LEAVE 9 POINTS AHEAD SINCE DAVE’S DEAL
VENEZUELA FORCED TO FLY IN PLANELOADS OF CASH VENEZUELA FORCED TO FLY IN PLANELOADS OF CASH
SILLY SAUSAGE: TORY MP’S COMMONS DOUBLE ENTENDRE SILLY SAUSAGE: TORY MP’S COMMONS DOUBLE ENTENDRE
SRAELI EX-AMBASSADOR ‘LATE NIGHT VISITS’ SCANDAL BREWING SRAELI EX-AMBASSADOR ‘LATE NIGHT VISITS’ SCANDAL BREWING
UKIP WARNS OF RISK OF TURKEY JOINING EU UKIP WARNS OF RISK OF TURKEY JOINING EU
HIGHEST-EARNING MP DIDN’T NOTICE £400,000 INCOME HIGHEST-EARNING MP DIDN’T NOTICE £400,000 INCOME
BORIS’ NEW BALDNESS-BATTLING BARNET BORIS’ NEW BALDNESS-BATTLING BARNET