Labour Plan to Abolish MPs’ Expenses Receipts Because Filing Them is a “Chore”

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Labour have drawn up plans to end the requirement for MPs to provide receipts for expenses claims. The staggeringly opaque proposals have been made by Shadow Leader of the House Paul Flynn, who is responsible for his party’s policy on MPs’ expenses. Flynn admits his plan is “provocative“, but claims it is necessary to abolish the expenses watchdog and implement an unreceipted allowance for MPs, because filing expenses is a “chore“. The text of the plan, seen by Guido, states:

“A monthly 30 minute chore was complicated by IPSA into hours of tedious frustrating trawling through a bureaucratic morass of rules that are complex and tedious. IPSA robs MPs and our staff of much of their most precious possession – time. There is continuing resentment against unnecessary chores that diminish MPs ability to do their numberless essential tasks.”

Hundreds of thousands of workers across the country take the time to file expenses claims, but Flynn says that’s too much effort for MPs…

He argues the current system, which allows the public to hold MPs to account on each expenses claim they make, should be abolished and replaced by a new “automatic” allowance with no receipts and no transparency whatsoever:

“MPs would embrace a new system without claims or the expensive IPSA. It could be based on an allowance calculated on average expenses based on distance from Westminster and paid automatically.”

So he wants the taxpayer to write MPs a cheque for tens of thousands of pounds and never know how the money is spent. Opaque, unaccountable and ripe for corruption, this is Labour’s new policy on expenses…

UPDATE: A Labour spokesman says “What Paul Flynn has suggested is not Labour Party policy”. But as Shadow Leader of the House Flynn is responsible for their policy on MPs’ expenses…

Tory Hunk’s Taxpayer-Funded Social Media Juice

mercer fb

Soapy hunk Johnny Mercer should have no problem getting social media followers. Those shower commercials should mean he has all the ingredients required for likes, follows, and re-tweets galore. Surprising then that this Tory totty has charged the taxpayer £2,500 on expenses for “professional services” on social media management. His Twitter following stands at a relatively modest 13,579 – fewer than many 2015 intake colleagues – and his Facebook page has a mere 3,708 likes. His YouTube channel has a paltry 33 subscribers and his last video had just three views. If Johnny wants to boost his following, selfies are probably a better approach…

Scandal-Hit Lavery’s Shredding Expenses Splurge

Readers will be aware that shadow minister Ian Lavery has been mired in a scandal over how he benefited from a miners’ benevolent fund – catch up here if not. The Labour union man has dodged questions on this for weeks and lost the support of many colleagues, who’ve been angered by the revelations involving a £250,000 loan, £60,000 of redundancy pay and £85,426 in additional redundancy costs. Guido is amused by another sum of money: the £283.50 Lavery recently claimed on expenses for services from Shred-It, a company which “provides the most secure and efficient confidential information destruction service in the industry.” If only he’d used them back in the day he wouldn’t have all this grief…

Named and Shamed: Full List of MPs Shagging Their Secretaries

This morning IPSA revealed MPs had sent £21 million of taxpayer cash to family members in the last five years. Guido names and shames the MPs who employ wives, husbands and children on the public payroll below…

MPs who currently employ their spouse/partner according to the Register of Members Interests:

  1. Nigel Adams employs his wife
  2. David Amess employs his wife
  3. Caroline Ansell employs her husband
  4. Richard Arkless employs his wife
  5. Adrian Bailey employs his wife
  6. Margaret Beckett employs her husband
  7. Henry Bellingham employs his wife
  8. Hilary Benn employs his wife
  9. Paul Beresford employs his wife
  10. Clive Betts employs his partner
  11. Bob Blackman employs his wife
  12. Peter Bone employs his wife
  13. Karen Bradley employs her husband
  14. Graham Brady employs his wife
  15. Julian Brazier employs his wife
  16. Alistair Burt employs his wife
  17. Liam Byrne employs his wife
  18. Gregory Campbell employs his wife
  19. Ronnie Campbell employs his wife
  20. Douglas Carswell employs his wife
  21. William Cash employs his wife
  22. Maria Caulfield employs her partner
  23. Christopher Chope employs his wife
  24. Alberto Costa employs his wife
  25. Stephen Crabb employs his wife
  26. David Crausby employs his wife
  27. Byron Davies employs his wife
  28. David Davies employs his wife
  29. Glyn Davies employs his wife
  30. Jeffrey Donaldson employs his wife
  31. Steve Double employs his wife
  32. Jackie Doyle-Price employs her partner
  33. Michael Dugher employs his wife
  34. Graham Evans employs his wife
  35. Michael Fallon employs his wife
  36. Caroline Flint employs her husband
  37. Paul Flynn employs his wife
  38. Yvonne Fovargue employs her husband
  39. Roger Gale employs his wife
  40. Barry Gardiner employs his wife
  41. Mark Garnier employs his wife
  42. Cheryl Gillan employs her husband
  43. John Glen employs his wife
  44. Robert Goodwill employs his wife
  45. Helen Grant employs her husband
  46. James Gray employs his wife
  47. Chris Grayling employs his wife
  48. Stephen Hammond employs his wife
  49. Simon Hart employs his wife
  50. Alan Haselhurst employs his wife
  51. John Hayes employs his wife
  52. Oliver Heald employs his wife
  53. John Healey employs his wife
  54. Simon Hoare employs his wife
  55. Sharon Hodgson employs her husband
  56. Kelvin Hopkins employs his wife
  57. George Howarth employs his wife
  58. Lindsay Hoyle employs his wife
  59. Dan Jarvis employs his wife
  60. Diana Johnson employs her partner
  61. Gareth Johnson employs his wife
  62. Gerald Jones employs his partner
  63. Helen Jones employs her husband
  64. George Kerevan employs his wife
  65. Greg Knight employs his wife
  66. Ian Lavery employs his wife
  67. Edward Leigh employs his wife
  68. Emma Lewell-Buck employs her husband
  69. Ian Liddell-Grainger employs his wife
  70. Tim Loughton employs his wife
  71. Ian Lucas employs his wife
  72. Angus MacNeil employs his wife
  73. John Mann employs his wife
  74. Karl McCartney employs his wife
  75. Patrick McLoughlin employs his wife
  76. Alan Meale employs his wife
  77. Johnny Mercer employs his wife
  78. Grahame Morris employs his wife
  79. James Morris employs his wife
  80. Sheryll Murray employs her partner
  81. Andrew Murrison employs his wife
  82. Brendan O’Hara employs his wife
  83. Neil Parish employs his wife
  84. Priti Patel employs her husband
  85. Owen Paterson employs his wife
  86. Teresa Pearce employs her partner
  87. Mike Penning employs his wife
  88. Jess Phillips employs her husband
  89. Stephen Pound employs his wife
  90. Yasmin Qureshi employs her husband
  91. Jonathan Reynolds employs his wife
  92. Laurence Robertson employs his wife
  93. Alec Shelbrooke employs his wife
  94. Dennis Skinner employs his partner
  95. Angela Smith employs her husband
  96. Henry Smith employs his wife
  97. John Stevenson employs his partner
  98. Bob Stewart employs his wife
  99. Gary Streeter employs his wife
  100. Julian Sturdy employs his wife
  101. Desmond Swayne employs his wife
  102. Hugo Swire employs his wife
  103. Robert Syms employs his wife
  104. Mark Tami employs his wife
  105. Michael Tomlinson employs his wife
  106. Derek Twigg employs his wife
  107. Valerie Vaz employs her husband
  108. Martin Vickers employs his wife
  109. Charles Walker employs his wife
  110. Ben Wallace employs his wife
  111. David Warburton employs his wife
  112. Iain Wright employs his wife

MPs who currently employ other family members:

  1. Ian Blackford employs his step-son
  2. Rehman Chishti employs his sister
  3. Thérèse Coffey employs her sister
  4. Alex Cunningham employs his son
  5. Nadine Dorries employs her daughter
  6. Jim Dowd employs his nephew
  7. Julie Elliott employs her son
  8. Pat Glass employs her niece
  9. Neil Gray employs his brother-in-law
  10. John Howell employs his daughter
  11. Simon Kirby employs his sister
  12. Paul Monaghan employs his brother
  13. Kate Osamor employs her son
  14. Albert Owen employs his son-in-law
  15. Dan Poulter employs his mother
  16. Graham Stringer employs his step-daughter
  17. Graham Stuart employs his sister
  18. Craid Whittaker employs his daughter
  19. Corri Wilson employs her son

MPs are doing to the taxpayer what they do to their secretaries…

MPs Pay Family Members £21 Million

snouts

+ 139 MPs’ family members employed on the public payroll +

+ 1 in 4 MPs have employed a relative +

+ Relatives’ salaries “significantly higher” than other employees +

+ Pay rises awarded “at twice the rate” +

IPSA releases its consultation on MPs’ expenses this morning – the most eye-catching revelation is that MPs pay family members more than other staff, and are more likely to give pay rises to family members. As of March this year a total of 139 “connected parties”, which means MPs’ family members and those with a close business association, were on the payroll as secretaries and assistants. 1 in 4 MPs employed a connected party in the last parliament. £21 million of taxpayers’ money was sent by MPs into the bank accounts of relatives…

IPSA admits that “controls to prevent misuse of funding on employing connected parties were limited”, adding:

“their salaries were significantly higher than the average across all MPs’ staff. Salaries of connected parties had also risen at twice the rate of other staff”

Family members are paid on average £5,600 more than other staff.

IPSA are so concerned that they are consulting again on the issue of connected parties, but only for new staff. MPs already had a 10% pay rise and earn three times the average wage, yet a quarter of them have employed family members on up to £55,000-a-year on top. Stay tuned – Guido will name and shame the piggies shortly…

Osborne Exempts “Politically Exposed Persons” From Money Laundering Checks

MPs complained earlier this year that they are being hounded “like African despots” following anti-money laundering checks from banks like HSBC. These checks are designed to ensure money isn’t being funnelled into criminal gangs or other corrupt arrangements. Charles Walker was furious that MPs and their families are on the list of “Politically Exposed Persons”, the automatic anti-money laundering watch list used by banks:

“It is ridiculously heavy-handed for banks to treat British MPs and their families in this aggressive way. They should be targeting crooked despots and dictators, not MPs’ grannies.”

Because politicians’ family members would never be involved in anything dodgy…

George Osborne this afternoon accepted an amendment to the Financial Services Bill which will see some Politically Exposed Persons and their families exempted from these anti-money laundering rules. Ministers will now “exclude… specified categories of persons” from the list of so-called PEPs, as Osborne says it is “disproportionate” for banks to include MPs and relatives on the watch list. Mossack Fonseca will be able to whisk MPs and their families through the account opening process…

MPs Send £1 Million of Expenses Offshore

Over £1 million of taxpayers’ money has been diverted to offshore property companies through the MPs’ expenses system. In 2012-13, 13 MPs were paying rent expenses for properties in the luxury riverside Dolphin Square complex, made famous as the home of coke-snorting Lords (and worse).

Records show MPs including top Corbyn allies Steve Rotheram, Nic Dakin and Shabana Mahmood paid the expenses cash to subsidiaries of Westbrook Dolphin Square Ltd. This is a network of 612 companies which own two flats each in Dolphin Square. All 612 companies are registered in Jersey…

Tory MP Jonathan Evans meanwhile paid rent expenses to Abal Establishment, a property company with offices in London but which is registered in the tax haven of Lichtenstein:

Overall in 2012-13 MPs sent over £230,000 of taxpayer cash to tax-avoiding offshore property companies. Extrapolating these figures means over the course of the last parliament well over £1 million of your money was sent offshore so MPs could live it up in London…

“Unfortunate Victim” Tim Yeo Suing Sunday Times

Tim Yeo

Disgraced former Tory MP Tim Yeo is suing the Sunday Times for libel over three articles from 2013. Readers will remember the paper alleged that when Yeo was chairman of the Energy & Climate Change Select Committee, he offered two undercover journalists to act as an advocate on behalf of their fictitious solar energy company. For a £7,000 daily fee.

Mr Yeo’s counsel Desmond Browne QC says the Sunday Times acted “with a singular lack of responsibility both at the journalistic and the editorial level“:

“Mr Yeo was the unfortunate victim of that irresponsibility. He says that in his last years of service as an MP, his reputation was trashed. At no stage during the lunch when he spoke about ways in which he might be able to assist the journalists, did Tim Yeo understand that what he was being asked to do was act as a paid advocate in breach of the rules.”

During his time as a member of parliament Yeo lobbied for an end to unnecessary air travel as he flew around the world on golfing jollies, used House of Commons banqueting facilities to wine and dine a group of environmental investors, while at the same time raising money for AFC Energy, a company of which he was chairman, and at one point was earning over £100,000-a-year from his green investments as he lobbied the government to stop green cuts. Nuff said m’lud…

Poll: How to Deal With MPs Not Settling Debts?

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How to deal with the 26 MPs who refused to pay back money owed to the taxpayer despite being asked “several times” by IPSA? The Taxpayers’ Alliance say dock their pay:

“If sitting MPs are unwilling to pay what is due, the simple solution would be for the amount to be docked from their next salary payment.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

How Much Would Bercow’s £172 Trip Cost in a Taxi?

Even less in an Uber[…]

+ READ MORE +

VAZ ACCUSED OF ABUSING POSITION

VAZ-ABUSING-POSITION

A reader writes:

My fantastic girlfriend bought me afternoon tea on the Palace of Westminster terrace as part of a surprise weekend in London for my birthday on Saturday 18th July.  As we waited in the Central Lobby at 1:50 pm, I was asked by a security guard if I “was part of Keith Vaz’s group”

[…]

+ READ MORE +

MPs Bow to Pay Rise Twitter Pressure

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The ever-tenacious FleetStreetFox has done her bit to raise thousands for charity by encouraging the Twittershere to publicly embarrass MPs into passing on their 10% pay rise:

mp3mp4mp5mp6mp7mp8mp9mp10mp11

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Plenty of normally chatty MPs are remaining mysteriously quiet…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Guilty Men: MPs Who Backed Pay Rise Named and Shamed

IPSA has revealed the roll call of shame of MPs who begged for more cash in the pay rise consultation. Only four had the balls to go on the record:

“I know I speak for the silent majority (who are not millionaires) to say this increase is well overdue… I hope common sense will prevail and this pay rise will be honoured.” Tobias Ellwood MP

“I am supporting IPSA’s recommendations as they have been done independently of Members.” Keith Vaz MP

“IPSA… must work totally free from government influence.” Mark Field MP 

“In my view IPSA was established precisely to take away the responsibility of this sort of decision from the hands of MPs… MPs were traditionally unpaid. 

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Confirmed: Troughing MPs Will Land Bumper Pay Rise

“MPs’ pay will rise to £74,000 as part of a package of changes to their remuneration,” IPSA confirm this morning: “The pay rise will be backdated to 8 May 2015”. 

The expenses watchdog are spinning that this is a good deal for the taxpayer because the new rules mean MPs “can no longer claim for the costs of hospitality, evening meals, taxis home from Westminster when working late”, and the scandal of resettlement payments has been ended.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Heather Wheeler talks to Burton Mail about her tweet…

“It was a tongue in cheek pop after the European Parliament tweet – it was purely that. I also wanted to congratulate Team GB on a brilliant result and thirdly congratulate the Commonwealth countries who also did very well. Fourth, I am also looking forwarded to establishing new trade agreements. That was it – nothing more. Let’s just enjoy the summer!”

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