Thursday, January 16, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Tory MP Claims Rent For Same Address Twice
Expenses Money Paid to Family of Donor

James Gray is the Tory MP for North Wiltshire. Readers may remember his crowning career achievement of cheating on his cancer-stricken wife with a married woman.

Now a Guido investigation can reveal that Gray double claims on the rent for his constituency office and constituency accommodation, separately charging the taxpayer thousands of pounds for each despite them being at the same address.

Gray claims £4,800-a-year in expenses for his constituency office rent. His constituency office address listed on the official parliament website, shown above, is that of his local Conservative association. Guido phoned the number given, and indeed the person who answered was sitting in the Tory association office. Yet IPSA records show Gray is claiming constituency office rent expenses for a separate address.

Guido’s investigation has discovered that Gray separately claims both constituency office and accommodation rent expenses for the same Wiltshire address: Ganbrook Farm. He claims a further £13,474-a-year for his accommodation, also charging the taxpayer up to £35,000-a-year to employ his new wife Philippa as his diary secretary on the farm they live in together. Yet if you call his listed constituency office number to book an appointment, the phone rings in a building miles away. Gray therefore appears to be doubling up on his rent expenses for his home and office, a ruse last tried by Denis MacShane.

IPSA rental arrangement files show that the landlord of the property is the “Andrews Settlement”. Guido has learned that the Andrews Settlement is the trust for the Neston Park estate, a large local estate controlled by Sir James Henry Fleetwood Fuller, 4th Baronet. Gray has confirmed that Fuller is the recipient of both his office and accommodation expenses, for the same farm. Electoral Commission data reveals that Fuller and his family have donated £1,250 to Gray through his association, and over £20,000 more to the Conservative Party.

Despite the photo evidence, Gray says that his constituency office and accommodation are “entirely separate” properties with separate leases, merely “adjacent” to each other on the same farm. He insists the arrangement is “open, declared… wholly above board [and] absolutely legitimate and honest”. Despite the publicly-listed address and telephone number for his constituency office being the local Tory association, Gray claims they merely “field very occasional calls and forward the tiny amount of post which arrives there”. However you cannot write to him at his real constituency office – for which we pay – because IPSA told us, it is kept private for the “protection of the MP’s security”.

Gray rather amusingly warned Guido: “you might want to be very cautious how you phrase your story.”

Monday, July 1, 2013

MPs Who Froze Public Sector Pay Want £10,000 Pay Hike

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) looks set to bung troughing MPs a 15% / £10,000-a-year pay rise, even though both Labour and Tory MPs support policies restraining public sector pay rises to 1%. As Ed Balls says: “There is no way we should be arguing for higher pay when the choice is between higher pay and bringing unemployment down.” Last week Osborne attacked “some public sector employees” who “see annual pay rises of seven per cent”. MPs are about to get double that. A large group of MPs are in favour of the people that clean their offices suffering a 1% pay freeze, yet want 15 times that for themselves…

Their argument is that they need higher pay to attract the best people to the job, despite there being no evidence that there is a lack of applicants for a job offering triple the average wage plus housing and travel allowances. As things stand MPs are already in a different world; their expenses alone are around the median wage, with everything included they take home more than £1,100-a-week:

Bringing in people who see being an MP as a vocation not a profession is the only change to the system that we need; real people who have done something with their lives rather than ex-SpAds climbing the greasy pole. Under the current system “powerless” ministers bleat that MPs will be able to voluntarily choose not to take the extra cash. The CV of a typical ex-MP is expense fiddling, lying, dissembling, spinning and smiling in pictures. We are fools if we think they won’t line their pockets again…

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kev and Denis: Better Off Out

Poor old Kevin Maguire. You know how it is; put a good word in for a disgraced mate, after all, what harm could come from bigging them up despite the fact they were forced out of Parliament for their thieving ways? Bit too risky for the Mirror so pop a kind word in the Staggers, hardly anyone will see it there anyway. Poor old Denis, he deserves a pat on the back. Et cetera:

“Britain’s nascent Eurofan fightback against the Europhobes is tussling with how to utilise Denis MacShane, a former MP who many on both sides of the Commons feel was treated roughly when forced to quit Rotherham. It was MacEurope, a walking encyclopaedia on all things EU, who spotted instantly that Cameron’s double-Dutch big speech on 22 January would upset Monsieur Hollande and Frau Merkel by clashing with the 50th-anniversary celebrations in Berlin of a Franco- German Élysée treaty. Denis the Menace has baggage but few will be as combative or as skilled in the trench warfare ahead.”

Presumably Kevin filed this before the police relaunched their fraud investigation into MacShane yesterday.

“Baggage” is one way of describing it.

He will be super-useful coordinating the great EU-fight back from a cell.


Seen Elsewhere

India’s Modi Bypasses Mainstream Media | Index
Bercow on the Knife Edge | Quentin Letts
Welcome to Mississippi | Conservative Women
LibDems Select Hancock Replacement | Blue Guerilla
Carswell Resigning: “Moment Labour Won Election” | Labour Uncut
Why We Need Change | Douglas Carswell
The Howard Roark of Westminster | Guardian
Carswell, the Clacton Cassandra | James Ford
Love Bomb Carswell | ConservativeHome
Denis MacShane’s Ex is Now Hacked Off Spokesman | Speccie
How the Carswell Story Unfolded | Sky News


VOTER-RECALL
Get the book Find out more about PLMR


Douglas Carswell’s side-kick Dan Hannan MEP pours water on the obvious question:

“I won’t be joining UKIP, though I wish Douglas Carswell all the best. He has been a superb MP, and it’s honourable to stand for re-election.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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