Tory MP Probes Speaker’s Passholder Donation Mystery

On Sunday Guido revealed that John Bercow is facing accusations of ‘cash for access’ over a curious donation from a businesswoman to whom he gave a parliamentary pass. For any other MP such an arrangement would provoke suggestions of impropriety. Today Tory MP Rob Wilson has sought clarification from the Speaker, with a view to potentially reporting him to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards:

Dear Mr Speaker,

I am writing to you today to raise the concerns of several of my constituents about an item in Guido Fawkes’ column in the Sun on Sunday. It outlines that you have signed off on a Parliamentary pass for Farah Sassoon. The item continues that in addition to your signing off on a pass for her that she has donated substantial sums to your office via her company, Trust Reservations Ltd. Appropriately, this donation has been put into the Register of Members’ Interests.

Integrity, accountability and openness, are part of the seven Nolan Principles of Public Life which are enshrined into Parliament by their inclusion in Code of Conduct for MPs. In this spirit and on behalf of my constituents, I would request that you put on the record as soon as possible answers to the following questions:

1. Why Ms Sassoon was given a Parliamentary pass?
2. What kind of pass was she given? (Member’s Staff, Staff of the House etc.)
3. When was this pass issued, and when does it expire?
4. What was the intended purpose of her company’s donation to your office?
5. Did you consult with any of the Parliamentary authorities, such as your foremost adviser, the Clerk of the Commons, on the propriety of accepting a donation having issued this pass?

I am sure that you will be able to provide a speedy answer to my questions and would request that you do so by Friday 1st of August. Several of my constituents have suggested that I write directly to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, however in the first instance I feel it is appropriate that you should be afforded the opportunity to respond.

In the interests of transparency I am placing a copy of this letter in the public domain.

Yours sincerely,

Rob Wilson MP

Has Bercow fallen a little short of the standards of probity expected in public life? Guido awaits the answer, especially to question 5…

Ruffley Resignation Raises Recall Row

The Recall measures announced in the Queen’s Speech would mean MPs on the Standards Committee, not local voters, will decide whether disgraced politicians should be booted out. David Ruffley’s announcement last night that he would be standing down at the election shows why it is crucial that parliament passes a proper Recall bill, not Nick Clegg’s fudge. 

Who pushed the Ruffley story and forced him to fall on his sword? Not his fellow MPs on either side of the House, who were either silent or actively trying to keep him out of trouble. The people saw things differently though…

Ruffley went mainstream because of the admirable work of women both inside and outside of the Tory party; from the Dean of St Edmundsbury’s devastating letter calling for him to quit; to the voices of women’s groups both locally and nationally, to the petition that amassed more than 40,000 signatures organised by an outraged woman. Guido understands 15 Tory women were going to publicly and openly protest Ruffley’s candidature tomorrow, some of them high profile. They were under immense pressure not to go ahead from within the party.

Ruffley will remain as the MP for Bury St Edmunds for ten months, earning more than £50,000 from his salary and pension contributions courtesy of the taxpayer when he should arguably be leaving parliament immediately. He cut a deal with the Tories and remains on board the gravy train. A Recall Bill that lets MPs decide whether their fellow MPs will face a vote is not going to work. David Ruffley shows more than ever why we need a proper Recall Bill to democratically boot out morally bankrupt politicians once and for all…

You can see all Guido’s stories about how the Ruffley story unfolded in full here.

Bercow Faces ‘Cash for Access’ Accusations
Speaker Accepts Donation From Sally’s Security-Cleared Pal

John Bercow is facing accusations of ‘cash for access’ after Guido revealed he has accepted a donation from a businesswoman to whom he gave a parliamentary pass. Farah Sassoon, who is a close friend of Sally Bercow and is well known for her booze-fuelled exploits with the Speaker’s wife, was granted clearance by the Bercows allowing her to bypass parliament’s security checks. Handy for Farah, since she is a significant donor to the Labour Party; giving them £40,000 through her hotel reservations company.

What did the Speaker get in return for giving Farah unfettered access to parliament? Surely the £5,000 donation from her company Trust Reservations Ltd this month is completely unrelated. If this were any other MP this would provoke allegations of cash for access. Though surely Bercow as Speaker is squeaky clean and beyond reproach…

Va Bene! Silvio Acquitted

The Italian appeals court has today acquitted Silvio Berlusconi in his underage prostitution “Rubygate” trial. He had been sentenced to seven years behind bars but now walks free. Salute!

UPDATE: His ban on holding public office has also been overturned, reports AP. Time for a comeback?

And the Lord Spake Unto MPs…

And Lo!  All the MPs saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain spinning, and they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said unto Lord Bew, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, “Speak thou with us and we will hear. But do not let Guido speak with us, lest we die.” And Lord Bew said unto the MPs, “Do not be afeared, for these are the rules of public life.”

The path of the righteous MP is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of greed. Blessed is he, who in the name of integrity and public service, shepherds his constituents through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of abused children. But for them that would stray, Guido will strike down the crosshairs upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger and smite down those that would attempt to poison and destroy the honest man. And you will know my name is Guido when I lay my terrible vengeance upon thee…

Another Innocent Politician Accused on Newsnight

In their defence, this one was hardly their fault. On last night’s programme, Neil Hamilton accused a former Labour MP of being into kinky sex. Neil Hamilton being Neil Hamilton, he got the wrong one, and Newsnight have now apologised:

“In a live Newsnight interview about party whips’ knowledge of MPs’ personal secrets tonight, former Tory whip Neil Hamilton referred to a former Labour MP, now dead, who he said had been known to visit “bondage and sado masochism clubs and behaved in the most outrageous way.” 

Mr Hamilton incorrectly named the MP as Allan Rogers, who is former MP for the Rhondda. Mr Hamilton says he meant to refer to another former MP, now dead. Mr Hamilton said: “I apologise unreservedly to Allan Rogers. It was an inadvertent slip of the tongue.” Newsnight also apologises to Mr Rogers.”

Whoops!

Senior Welsh Minister Sacked Over Smear Emails
Read Bombshell Emails That Exposed Labour ‘Cabinet’ Member

The one party state of Wales has sacked one of its most senior cabinet members, condemning his “unacceptable” behaviour. Environment minister Alun Davies ordered non-partisan civil servants to use taxpayer-funded resources to dig up dirt on his political opponents. In emails produced here by Guido, Davies told his private secretary to send him details of payments made to the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, leader of the Welsh LibDems and a senior Plaid Cymru politician, in breach of the ministerial code:

The civil servant then emailed the, hilariously titled, ‘Welsh Cabinet Secretary’ to raise concerns that Davies’ request was “for party-political purposes” and that “I do not think it is appropriate”. He goes on to report that despite advising Davies that he was not allowed to release the information, “he has now requested this information verbally again”.

The Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said Davies’ actions were “poorly judged” and “inappropriate”. And he’s just been fired.

Cross Party Councillors Go After Hancock For Cover Up Costs

A cross party motion will be put before Portsmouth Council to get pervy MP Mike Hancock to cough up for the legal costs of the extensive cover up instigated by the old Liberal Democrat regime in the city, concerning his sexual harassment of a mentally ill constituent. Both the Tories and Labour are signed up to this motion that is expected to easily pass:

(f) Proposed by Councillor Alistair Thompson
Seconded by Councillor John Ferrett

The City Council is concerned at the conduct of one its former members’ who has admitted to abusing his position of trust. He has admitted to harassing a resident, making repeated unwanted sexual advances and conduct that falls below the standards expected of a Parliamentarian or a member of this Council.

Over the last four years the Council has spent tens of thousands of pounds investigating this matter, both through court and legal fees and officer time – This at a time when the Council is faced with making cuts to front line services.

The Council believes that this is an unsatisfactory situation.

The Council therefore requests the Governance and Audit and Standards Committee to do the following:

1. Instruct officers to prepare a detailed breakdown of the full costs of this affair
2. To write to all members with this information
3. To write to the former member requesting that given this unnecessary burden on the taxpayers of Portsmouth that now he has admitted to these appalling actions he might chose to repay this sum and thus ease the financial burden on residents
4. To consider legal action to reclaim these costs if he refuses.

A council source tells Guido the bill could easily reach £100,000. 

Finally a Politician Begs for Expenses Forgiveness

Japanese politician Ryutaro Nonomura has committed career harakiri, spectacularly bursting into tears at a press conference over questions about him fiddling his expenses:

Guido would like to see this level of remorse a little closer to home…

UPDATE: In […]

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Criminal at the Heart of Downing Street

Following the news that Nicolas Sarkozy has this morning been formally charged with corruption and influence peddling, will Ed Miliband be raising questions about a criminal brought into the heart of Downing Street by a former Labour Prime Minister? He […]

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Hancock Victim: “It’s Disgusting That No-One Listened to Me”

Portsmouth News have further detail of the heartbreaking pleas made by a vulnerable young woman pursued by Mike Hancock that, as revealed by Guido in the Sun in January, were ignored by the government. “Annie” sent letters, under her real […]

+ READ MORE +

Tories Call for Portsmouth By-Election

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Three way marginal with UKIP.

No wonder the Tories have been so tame previously.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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David Cameron tells MPs after voting:

“Wouldn’t miss this for the world. Secret ballots very important. Remember the Chartists.”

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