Tory MP Slammed By Expenses Watchdog
+ Ordered to Pay Back £1,000 in Incorrect Mileage Claims 
+ Claimed ‘For Twice the Distance Shown on Google Maps’

+ Guilty of “Incorrect” and “Laissez-faire Attitude” to Expenses

Tory MP Bob Blackman has been found guilty of repeatedly over-claiming for his mileage expenses by IPSA and has been ordered to pay back more than £1,000 to the taxpayer. In a damning report released this morning the expenses watchdog found:

  • “on average, your claims are almost twice the distance shown on Google maps and in some cases, significantly more”
  • “mileage claims submitted by Mr Blackman are, in almost every instance, not accurate and greater than the distance travelled”
  • Blackman “wrongly submitted” claims including canvassing and party political events
  • he “demonstrate[s] a pattern of incorrect claiming and a laissez-faire attitude to the submission of constituency mileage in general”

The total number of claims found by IPSA to be incorrect or not allowable is 734 and Blackman has been ordered to repay £1,006.20. If he had been in the private sector he probably wouldn’t have kept his job…

Tories Gag Bashir: “I’m Not Allowed to Give a Statement”

Guido has spoken with Amjad Bashir by telephone this afternoon to ask him for a response to the slew of stories that have emerged about him over the last 48 hours. An extremely nervous sounding MEP refused to comment, pleading that he had been gagged his new party:

“I’m not allowed to give a statement. They have all the answers”.

When Guido asked if he had ever been a member of Respect, he hung up.

Yesterday a Conservative Party spokesman contacted Guido to directly ask him to clarify that Bashir “denied he’s ever had anything to do with Respect”. Today that line has shifted to silence. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Tories were misled by Bashir in this regard.

First thing this morning Guido contacted the CCHQ to ask which of these allegations Bashir now denied:

  1. He was previously a member of the Labour Party.
  2. He was previously a member of the UK Independence Party.
  3. He was previously a member of the Respect Party.
  4. He was previously a member of the Conservative Party (prior to this time, if indeed he is now actually now a paid up party member).
  5. That he was a director of a restaurant which was raided for employing illegal immigrants.
  6. That he withdrew a complaint about reporting of the restaurant matter on counsel’s advice because his counsel felt he was misled about the facts of the matter.

A full working day later and they have refused to comment. Instead, Bashir’s Twitter account has mysteriously been deactivated and he has been banned from the airwaves. Is the Prime Minister still ‘delighted’ by the defection?

Bashir ‘Lied’ About Times Illegal Immigrants Exposé

Yet more evidence emerges today that the Tories’ star defector Amjad Bashir has serious questions to answer regarding his honesty around his company’s employment of illegal workers. Legal documents seen by Guido accuse Bashir of lying in a Press Complaints Commission complaint about last year’s Times story alleging he had employed seven illegal immigrants in his Zouk restaurant in Manchester.

The Times reported Bashir resigned as a director of Zouk Ltd three days after it was raided by immigration officials. Bashir denied this, complaining to the PCC that he had left a month before the raid.

However, Companies House documents show that nothing was filed to confirm any resignation until after the raid. An internal investigation by UKIP’s lawyers carried out last July found “Mr Bashir had put in the resignation 3 days after the raid but back-dated it to a month earlier”.

The UKIP legal advice then states: “without any credible evidence to substantiate the position of Mr Bashir, on the approval of the party secretary, counsel withdrew the Press Complaint”. They concluded – six months before he defected – that:

“It is counsel’s view that Mr Bashir has put forward a false account of the incident to minimise his involvement in any wrongdoing and pushing it forward so publicly was both brazen and irresponsible when thinking of the Party’s reputation at large.”

So Bashir’s counsel withdrew his complaint when they realised he wasn’t telling the truth. Something that UKIP sat on for months. Remember when the Tories claimed they vetted him and found he was fine?

Mandy Behind New Generation Of BlairitesLord of Darkness Star of Intimate Right-Wing Gathering

The Blairites are not quite done yet. Peter Mandelson’s former SpAd Matthew Doyle organised a £100 per head “exclusive event… at Lord Alli’s home in Covent Garden” last week to raise cash for two up and coming Labour right-wingers. Though he admitted it won’t be “an overly large group.” Will the last Blarite to leave Westminster for Scotland please turn off the light…

Outgoing MPs Claim For New Laptops and iPads on Expenses
… And They Don’t Have to Give Them Back When They Leave

Shameless MPs standing down at the election are rinsing the taxpayer for brand new laptops and iPads on expenses before they leave parliament… and they DON’T have to give them back.

Two weeks after Andrew Lansley announced he would quit the Commons he claimed £499 for a new iPad, but the rules mean he can keep it when he leaves in May. Eric Joyce confirmed he would quit when Labour told him he was “unfit to stand” back in 2012. Yet last June he claimed £1,777 for “replacement laptops” on expenses, which he is allowed to keep when he goes this year.

Six months after Tim Yeo was booted out by his local Tories last February, he then charged the taxpayer £1,319 on expenses for two new computers. John Denham revealed way back in 2011 that he would be leaving at the election, yet that didn’t stop him from claiming £639 on expenses for a new tablet computer in April 2014. Sacked Energy minister Charles Hendry announced he would stand down from his seat when he lost the role back in 2013. Yet in September last year, eight months before he was set to leave, he claimed £1,024 for a new Latitude laptop.

In July last year Tory MP Mike Weatherley revealed he would not stand for re-election, and two months later he claimed for an £849 Microsoft Surface Pro touch-screen laptop. Tory MP Jonathan Evans announced he was quitting in 2013, yet in August 2014 he claimed £572 for a new Dell laptop, and then another £479 for an iPad Air the following month. In 2011 Tory James Arbuthnot revealed his intention to leave, but still charged us £594 for a new iPad Mini and case last summer.

In the last six months eleven other MPs also claimed laptops and tablets on expenses, including Labour’s Tom Watson – who claimed for two – Siobhain McDonagh, Michael McCann, Huw Irranca-Davies, Roberta Blackman-Woods and Fabian Hamilton, and Tories Theresa Villiers, Nick Hurd, Keith Simpson, Glyn Davies and Tobias Ellwood.

IPSA tell Guido: “we advise MPs who are standing down to pass them on to their successors but we cannot compel them to do so”. Fill your boots…

Review of 2014: Guido Has Never Seen Anything Like It

A record smashing 10th anniversary year with over 30 million visits to this site in 2014. The top ten traffic posts published this year were:

  1. THE RESHUFFLE: All the Sackings as They Happen
  2. WATCH: Former Tory Whip Boasts About Paedo Cover Up
  3. LISTEN: Miliband’s Radio Wiltshire Clusterf**k
  4. Khan Crash: Sadiq’s Rush Hour Horror
  5. Islington MP’s Rochester Culture Shock
  6. EXC: Gordon Brown Office Has £10,000-a-Week “Expenses” 
  7. Brown Office Gives Just 1 in 4 Pounds Raised to Charity
  8. WATCH: Penny Mordaunt’s Loyal Address in Full
  9. Roll Call of Shame: Every MP Who Voted Against Recall
  10. UKIP’s Poster Girl Quits Party Citing Racism

Here are our favourite stories of the last 12 months:

emily

Ten hours after Guido added the word “snob” to Emily Thornberry’s now infamous Image from Rochester, Labour’s Islington MP had resigned from the Shadow Cabinet. ‘Snobberry’ had never seen anything like it, making Ed “more angry than he has ever been” and incurring the wrath of White Van Dan. According to the BBC, it was Guido wot won it. And don’t miss the tale of Lady Nugee’s walled garden… 

In the absence of a Twitter storm it took slightly longer to secure the resignation of David Ruffley. Guido had reported on Ruffley’s anger management problems before, yet the Tories were silent when he accepted a caution for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Despite Ruffers telling Guido he was “cheerful“, the people of Bury St. Edmunds demanded their MP do the decent thing, domestic violence charities called for his head and, crucially, the Dean of the local cathedral told him “your position is untenable”. In June Ruffley finally announced he would be standing down, and parliament was rid of another nasty piece of work…

2014 was a year when several Tory MPs found themselves in Guido’s crosshairs, none more so than Tim Yeo. From leadership contender to loser in nine years, this blog has been exposing Yeo’s absenteeism and conflicts of interest for the best part of a decade. In January Guido went to find troubled Tim, not in his Suffolk constituency, but in Sandwich in Kent, where he had gone golfing. The following month Yeo was deselected by his local party. Victory at last…

Last but not least, who can forget Brooks No-marks, the Tory women’s champion who sent a paisley-clad dick pic to our very own Sophie Wittams. Despite the wailing from the less popular parts of the press, a public service was confirmed when Brooks was revealed to have used the exact same modus operandi. Yes, yes, yes Minister. 

Despite our detractors’ weak claims of bias, we’ve had a direct hand in ending the careers of three Tory MPs who had absolutely no intention of quitting in 2015. That’s 1% of the parliamentary party. Happy New Year, roll on that election. 

Going, Going… Wrong

“Good evening everybody and welcome to Sotheby’s,” said Tory co-chairman Lord Feldman at a fundraising auction last week… At Christie’s.

The real joke was the fact a signed copy of Cameron’s flop of an immigration speech went for £45,000.

Newmark Confirms Comeback is Off

Brooks Newmark has conceded defeat over the plan to stand again in Braintree. Speaking to his local paper, Newmark claims “I am extremely flattered by the lovely messages of support from members of the public and my local party asking me to reconsider my decision to step down at the next election,” adding: “However, I have decided to stick with my original decision”. As Guido revealed earlier this week, Brooks had been “wavering”, but any attempt by him to stand again was blocked by high command. The Tories say the selection process in the seat will now resume “in the near future”. In the New Year… when local associations can have shortlists thrust upon them by CCHQ.

BREAKING: UKIP Suspend General Secretary Roger Bird
Read Party Statement on “Allegations of Impropriety” in Full

A UKIP spokesman says:

“The UK Independence Party has announced that it suspended its General Secretary Roger Bird on the 7th of December following allegations of impropriety.

Shortly after a claim came to light about the conduct of Mr Bird

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Exclusive: Tories Block Newmark Comeback

As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun on Sunday, the selection process in Braintree to replace disgraced dick pic king Brooks Newmark has been cancelled amid speculation he is planning the unlikeliest of comebacks. Brooks was spotted holding secret talks […]

+ READ MORE +

Breaking: Carol Mills DID Mislead Senate Over Spying Scandal

John Bercow’s choice for Commons clerk is facing disgrace Down Under after a committee found she provided them with “contradictory” and “misleading” information. A scathing report from the Aussie parliament’s Privileges Committee today condemns Carol Mills for “a serious breach […]

+ READ MORE +

Dorrell Exits Through Revolving Door

When Stephen Dorrell stood down as chairman of the Health select committee back in June, Guido wondered:

“Why would [he] not want to keep the coveted post, as well as the extra pay, for [his] last year in the

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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