Tight Tory’s £4.50 Remembrance Expenses Shocker

Earlier this year, Guido revealed Labour MP Sarah Champion’s £17 expenses claim for a poppy wreath.

Then top Miliband aide John Cruddas was caught putting funeral flowers on the taxpayers’ tab.

Now the Tories are at it too.

Wealthy Stephen Hammond rakes in £67,000 a year as the MP for Wimbledon. He also owns a luxury £500,000 second home in Portugal, complete with a swimming pool.

That didn’t stop the rotund miser from filing a £4.50 expenses claim on Remembrance Sunday last year for “mileage” to drive, in his own car, to “two Remembrance services” within his constituency.

This is what greedy Hammond said about MPs’ pay in the last parliament:

“An MP salary should be linked to a public sector job of similar responsibility such as a GP. Official figures I have been shown put the average salary for a GP at over £105,000.”

At least then maybe he’d be able to find the cash to honour our heroes from his own pocket.

Police Investigate Sexy Shower Scene MP

It’s been a busy first few weeks for new Plymouth MP Johnny Mercer. First he put his wife on the public payroll, then hit the headlines for lathering up topless in a shower gel advert, and now he is under investigation by the police. That escalated quickly.

The preened poser has lawyered up after bitter opponents called the cops in over his election expenditure. Mercer mysteriously told supporters he needed “some manpower, and a decent dose of Commando Spirit” on “the night-time of 6/7 May”.

The next day, polling day, his defeated Labour opponent Alison Seabeck claims she “suddenly woke up with every bridge and every lamppost covered in posters and fliers”, claiming this “does influence people significantly and it is improper”.

Mercer himself paid for the £1,642 clean up out of his own pocket and insists:

“I am confident I haven’t broken the law and this allegation is being dealt with by my lawyers.”

Well, he looked clean in the advert…

Tory MP’s House Husband Subsidised By Taxpayer

ansell

Continuing Guido’s series of troughing new MPs who are already employing family members on the public payroll, meet the new Tory MP for Eastbourne.

At her selection, Caroline Ansell revealed that her husband Nick would be giving up his full time job as a teacher if she was elected as an MP to look after their three boys.

A noble commitment. 

Yet, just two months since she came to Westminster, Caroline has declared:

“I employ my husband, Nicholas Ansell, as a full time Personal Assistant.”

Guido asked Caroline why the change of heart, but alas she declined the opportunity to comment. Only a cynic would suggest that Nick’s role as a house husband was being subsidised by the taxpayer…

IDS Should Face Benefit Sanctions

welfare

Awkward, via PA:

Iain Duncan Smith had his official credit card suspended after running up more than £1,000 in expenses debts, it can be revealed.

The Work and Pensions Secretary was among more a dozen MPs subject to action by the Commons watchdog after failing to show spending was valid.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) issues MPs with credit cards for to pay for items such as travel and accommodation.

The politicians then have to prove the spending was genuine by the end of the month, or they build up debts to the watchdog.

What would the DWP have to say about such a flagrant breach of the rules?

  • 3 categories of sanction – ‘higher’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘lower’ – depending on the nature of the offence

Seems pretty serious: Higher.

  • different levels of sanction for first, second and third offences

Hardly the first time that the words ‘IDS’ and ‘expenses’ have been heard in the same sentence…

Certainly a case for suspending hand outs.

UPDATE: Team IDS get in touch:

“Iain has not had his card suspended. IPSA have confirmed twice in writing that this issue was an error on their part. To be clear no money is owed”

Yet IPSA still insist the credit card was switched off and that they stand by their original claim entirely. So who’s telling the truth?

New MP Puts Secretary He’s Shagging on Highest Pay Grade

Yesterday Guido revealed the roll call of shame of new MPs boarding the gravy train by giving cushy jobs to family members.

Most impressive of the bunch is Gerald Jones, top left, the new Labour Honourable Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.

Gerald is not even two months into the job and he has already found his new Senior Parliamentary Assistant: his partner, Tyrone Powell, top right.

That job title means lucky Tyrone goes straight into the highest pay grade available, potentially taking home £43,272 of taxpayer cash a year.

He must have plenty of parliamentary experience…

New MPs Already Have Their Snouts in the Trough

They have barely been in their jobs for eight weeks, but our new Honourable Members are already learning how to milk the system.

In addition to their imminent public sector pay freeze-busting 10% pay rise, these new MPs have already begun to employ family members on their taxpayer-funded parliamentary expenses.

Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne) I employ my husband, Nicholas Ansell, as a full time Personal Assistant.

Richard Arkless (Dumfries and Galloway) I employ my wife, Anne Elizabeth Arkless, as part-time Personal Assistant.

Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) I employ my step-son, John O’Leary, as Caseworker.

Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) I employ my wife, Anne Double, as full time Senior Caseworker and Diary Secretary.

Harry Harpham (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough) I employ my wife, Gill Furniss, as part-time Researcher.

Gerald Jones (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney) I employ my partner, Tyrone Powell, as Senior Parliamentary Assistant.

Scott Mann (North Cornwall) I employ my non-cohabiting partner, Nicola Wade, as part time Secretary.

Johnny Mercer (Plymouth, Moor View) I employ my wife, Felicity Cornelius, as part-time Constituency Support Officer.

Paul Monaghan (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) I employ my brother, Mark Innes Monaghan, as Constituency Communications Manager.

Jess Phillips (Birmingham, Yardley) I employ my husband, Tom Phillips, as Constituency Support Manager.

Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole) I employ my wife, Frances Mynors, as my Personal Assistant.

David Warburton (Somerton and Frome) I employ my wife, Harriet Warburton, as a Communications Officer and Personal Assistant.

Corri Wilson (Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock) I employ my son, Kieran Donoghue, as Caseworker/Personal Assistant.

They will go far.

Theresa May Urged to Launch New Handycock Probe

Self-confessed teen fondler Mike Hancock might have lost his seat but he is not out of the woods yet. The Tory, Labour, UKIP and even LibDem group leaders in Portsmouth have all written to Theresa May demanding that the police take action:

Dear Mrs May,

We, the undersigned councillors of Portsmouth City Council, feel compelled to write to you about the failure of Hampshire Constabulary to investigate and take appropriate action regarding allegations of serious misconduct surrounding former councillor and MP Mike Hancock…

As you may know from national press reports, the careworker for a vulnerable adult (known as ‘Annie’) with mental health issues reported to Hampshire Constabulary in 2010 that Cllr Hancock had sexually assaulted or harassed Annie, in proper compliance with the Safeguarding Adults Policy. We have been informed that two male police officers then visited ‘Annie’ and counselled her not to pursue her complaint, because Cllr Hancock was a powerful person…

In the light of recent similar cases, where Hampshire Constabulary have admitted failures in procedure and in fact paid substantial damages, we view this situation to be of professional concern and unacceptable. We would therefore urge you to order an independent inquiry as to why Hampshire police have taken no action in this case, and, if necessary, make direction that the case should be looked at again by a police force other than Hampshire Constabulary.

We believe that this is the only way in which public confidence in Hampshire Constabulary might be restored in this case. This letter is a summary; all points raised in this letter can be evidenced.

We would appreciate a full, written reply to this letter which is of great importance to victims of alleged sexual abuse.

Yours faithfully,

Cllr Luke Stubbs, deputy Tory council leader

Cllr John Ferrett, Labour group leader

Cllr Steve Wemyss, Tory group leader in 2010, when the matter first surfaced

Cllr Colin Galloway, Ukip group leader

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem group leader

Handycock went from 18,921 votes in 2010 to 716 in 2015, so the people of Portsmouth certainly cottoned on that he was a wrong’un. Significant that all four parties are demanding action…

Cash For Influence: How a Labour Donor Killed a Bill

Guido has written previously on how Labour have let trade union donors buy influence in the House. Well, they have been caught red handed once again.

On May 29, Labour peer Baroness Turner sponsored a Private Members’ Bill seeking to reform Easter trading laws – introducing it at its first reading in the House of Lords.

The bill would have removed the prohibition on Easter trading for large shops.

Two weeks later, on the afternoon of June 16, the general secretary of the USDAW union emailed Labour peers asking them to oppose the Labour bill:

From: John Hannett

Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Subject: Please oppose the Easter Day Trading Bill – Second Reading on Friday 19th June

Dear XXXX,

As the main retail union for the UK’s 3 million shopworkers, Usdaw urges peers to oppose the Private Member’s Bill on Easter Day Trading at second reading on Friday. The UK already has the longest trading hours in Europe, with over 150 shopping hours a week, and only 2 days per year of large stores being closed – Christmas Day and Easter Day…

As the attached briefing sets out, two thirds of shopworkers are already under pressure to work on Sundays, and this pressure intensifies at busy trading times, with holidays not permitted…

For these reasons, I urge you not to support the Easter Trading Bill. 

Yours sincerely

John Hannett

General Secretary, Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive & Allied Workers)

Just three days after that email was sent to Labour peers, Baroness Turner withdrew her bill:

In the last five years, USDAW has donated over £6 million to the Labour Party. It has regularly lobbied in defence of exisiting Sunday trading laws.

A major Labour donor, which lobbies heavily on a single issue, successfuly gets a Labour bill withdrawn after lobbying Labour peers. It stinks…

MacShame’s First TV Interview: Send Him Back Down

Denis MacShane has surfaced to try and flog his prison diaries. Choosing the softest of soft interviews, MacShame was his usual unpleasant self on the Victoria Derbyshi*e Show:

The whole video is worth watching for MacShame’s total lack of contrition, […]

+ READ MORE +

The Minister, the Lobbyists and the Charity Fat Cat

nanny

Last week Guido exclusively revealed plans by tobacco lobbyists ASH to spy on gay people, pregnant women as well as ban smoking in theatres, prisons and private cars. He wrote:

“The anti-smoking lobby group have written a wide-ranging wishlist for

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Vaz Spins Hacking Line in Yet Another Passport Scandal

Keith Vaz

The timing of Keith Vaz’s latest passport scandal is rather suspicious given the forthcoming Select Committee elections:

The former head of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz, has been reported to the parliamentary standards commissioner after lobbying visa officials

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Best Reponses to MP Pay Rise Consultation

Sitting somewhere in an office on Millbank, an IPSA employee sifts through the hundreds of responses to their consultation on MPs’ pay while trying to justify giving them an extra 10%. Here are some of the Great British public’s more […]

+ READ MORE +



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“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”

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