Political Party Richlist

January Loans Graph merged

2016’s first quarter saw a bumper month for parties vying for local election funds, with the Tories raising £6,744,212 and Labour £5,486,345. This represents around 50% less than last year for both major parties in the same period (the larger ammount is to be expected in election year). Meanwhile, the SNP’s sighs of relief at not losing the Scottish Parliament are palpable, with the party only beating UKIP in donations due to the latter’s refusal to take public short money (the SNP received nearly £80,000 less than UKIP in private donations). More importantly, however, is the Nat’s massive outstanding loans: £1,165,553 all told, significantly above any other party. Guido’s sure those hefty government contracts north of the border will quickly help them recover…

Electoral Commission on Jock-‘Copter Campaign

sturgeon+hendry

Above are images which, as the Getty captions say, show Nicola Sturgeon on May 2 last year in Portree and Inverness on her helicopter tour campaigning for local candidates. You can tell that she is because it clearly says behind her “Vote Drew Hendry”. People were excited to see her turn up in a helicopter and it pulled in large numbers for the candidate’s election rally. She’s definitely campaigning for the local candidate’s election…

CyberNats are tweeting that this is fine by the Electoral Commisssion. The SNP press office promised us a statement from the Electoral Commission confirming this was the case – so far nothing seen. Here is what we got from the Electoral Commission when we inquired about the SNP’s Jock-‘Copter campaign:

“If the travel promotes both the local candidate and national policies, then a portion of the cost of that bus should be allocated towards the candidate’s spending limit and a portion towards the party’s national spending limit.”

Bang to rights, these pictures don’t lie…

Sturgeon Ducks Chopper Question

Nicola Sturgeon faced a grilling from Kay Burley this afternoon following Guido’s revelations about the SNP’s helicopter spending during the general election. Sturgeon didn’t answer the key point that the chopper was used to campaign for local candidates…

SNP MP Swerves Questions About Own Party’s Spending

Pete Wishart is the SNP MP who wrote to the Met demanding a full investigation into Tory election fraud. Yet Pete had no answer when the Daily Politics asked him about Guido’s story on the Nats’ own spending:

Jo Coburn: “It’s been alleged that Nicola Sturgeon’s helicopter tour at the last election included some local campaigning. Are you confident that the cost of that helicopter was all properly declared?”

Wishart: “Listen, we want national leaders to go to constituencies…” 

JoCo: “Yeah but that wasn’t my question. Are you confident it was properly declared?”

Wishart: “There’s always what about if-ery and all this sort of stuff…”

The Nats insist the helicopter was rightly declared as national spend, but the Electoral Commission say that if it was used for any local campaigning – as it was – the cost should be divvied up. The MP who called the cops on the Tories has no answer…

SNP Chopper Not Declared Properly

Last night the SNP wrote to the Met Police asking them to investigate the Tories for failing to properly declare their election battle buses. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…

Back during the election campaign, the SNP used a helicopter to fly Nicola Sturgeon around Scotland. This was declared as part of the SNP’s national spend, which would be fine so long as Nicola only used it for national campaigning, limited to talking about the SNP’s policies and why voters should back her party as a whole. Yet Sturgeon used her chopper specifically to campaign for local candidates as well – for example Peter Grant in Glenrothes, Stephen Gethins in North East Fife, and Drew Hendry in Inverness. The Electoral Commission tells Guido that if a party leader travels to campaign on behalf of a local candidate, some of the travel costs should be declared as local spend:

“If the travel promotes both the local candidate and national policies, then a portion of the cost of that bus should be allocated towards the candidate’s spending limit and a portion towards the party’s national spending limit.”

Sturgeon’s helicopter visited 12 constituencies and was used for local campaigning, so according to the rules some of the cost should have been declared as local spend. It wasn’t. Drew Hendry and Callum Kerr became MPs but would have bust their limits if they’d declared the chopper. Bold of them to call the cops…

UPDATE: An SNP spokesman responds:

“Unlike the Tories the SNP did not transport and pay hotel costs for party activists in marginal seats. Transporting the party leader around the country is national campaign expenditure and the SNP correctly registered it as such with the Electoral Commission.”

But the Electoral Commission say that if a leader did any local campaigning, as Sturgeon did, the cost should be split…

71% of Scots Think Corbyn’s a Disaster

YouGov Regional Poll Labour

YouGov’s poll of Labour members produced a miserable top-line figure for ardent Corbynistas, showing just 18% of members thought the left-wing leader had done well in the recent round of local and PCC elections. Although that’s not so bad considering he’s the first opposition leader to have lost local seats in over 30 years…

Looking at the regional breakdown, a much bigger problem for Corbyn emerges. Part of the supposed “logic” Corbynistas wheeled out during his election as party leader was that his left-wing, anti-austerity stance could win over the Scotch who had fled to the SNP in droves. Far from Corbyn’s prediction of a crushing victory over the Nats in Hollyrood, Labour managed to lose 13 seats, plummeting behind the hated Tories. As a result, Labour supporters north of the border are not impressed: 71% of them think the party did badly, with 41% believing he did very badly. Inevitably, London felt most positively about the Islingtonian-led party, with 20% approving of Labour’s performance. Corbyn has the same North London metropolitan elite problem as Miliband…

Disgraced Nat Pays Out Over “Holocaust” Smear

Readers will remember Natalie McGarry, the SNP MP who resigned the whip amid a police probe into her campaign’s financial irregularities. She’s the one who was questioned by Turkish special forces for recording the sound of bombs falling in Syria on her mobile. Not the brightest hope of the 2015 intake.

Today McGarry has agreed to pay £10,000 to charity for wrongly branding a unionist a “Holocaust denier”. She has apologised on her Twitter account:

Part of the agreement is that McGarry must ‘pin’ the apology to the top of her Twitter account for all to see for the next fortnight. Yet her account is locked, so at the moment her mea culpa is being kept hidden from the public. Classy…

H/T @camusson@camusson

SNP MP Puts Luxury Jermyn Street Shirts on Expenses

BOSWELL SHIRTS

Walking expenses catastrophe Phil Boswell tried to claim £136.95 worth of luxury shirts on expenses just four days after being elected. The SNP MP attempted to bill the taxpayer £29.95 for items from high-end Jermyn Street tailor TM Lewin, £59 for a single shirt and £48 for clothing from Next. Why? The claims were made due to “lost luggage” and were filed on the 12th and 13th of May. IPSA told him to get lost and refused to accept the claims. Just four days in parliament and he was already on the take…

Of course Boswell already faces two investigations into allegations that he has been abusing expenses and failing to register financial interests. His past form also includes an £450 claim for a series of YouTube videos watched just 650 times. Guido wants to know if he ever got his luggage back…

Natalie McGarry ‘Arrested By Turkish Special Forces’

Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry – now sitting as an independent after resigning the whip in disgrace – has apparently been arrested in Turkey. Local journalists say she was detained in the Sur district of Diyarbakir by Turkish Special Forces. […]

+ READ MORE +

Third MP in Two Months Facing Expenses Probe

IPSA say they are investigating loud mouth SNP MP Phil Boswell over expenses irregularities:

The Compliance Officer for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has opened an investigation to determine whether Mr Phil Boswell MP has been paid an amount under

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Salmond Quotes Cher On ISIS and Trump

Cher

Alex Salmond’s LBC show tonight was rather more interesting than last week, if only because he quoted Cher. The former SNP leader singled out for particular praise one tweet from the singer arguing that Donald Trump couldn’t face ISIS:

[…]

+ READ MORE +

SNP Expenses Crusader Employs His Own Wife

SNP Nepotism

Who would have thought SNP MP George Kerevan’s crusade against expenses abuses would turn out to be complete pish? Kerevan was elected last year on a ticket to clean up Westminster and fight greedy MPs:

“I don’t think Westminster MPs

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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