The Smith Institute, a charity widely seen as a front for Gordon Brown, who seemed to be the only beneficiary of the charity, acted as an integral part of his long campaign to become PM. By law it was supposedly a non-partisan, non-political organisation, yet it hosted a “how to beat Cameron“ event to which the Conservatives formally objected.
Wilf Stevenson, the director of the institute claimed, somewhat implausibly, that there was no direct link to Gordon Brown. Guido revealed that Sarah Brown got Konrad Caulkett the job at the Smith Institute. Despite Konrad being at the centre of allegations that the Smith Institute broke the law, Sarah Brown has once again stepped in to help him get a job, this time as her SpAd. So despite him being suspected of various breaches of the Charity laws, despite denials of links to Gordon, he has been brought onto the No. 10 payroll. Downing Street sleaze clearly didn’t end with Blair.
See also Sith attempt to cover-up use of No. 11, Mrs Brown recruits Konrad as the Sith apprentice, The back story to the Sith’s Konrad, The public charity which refuses to talk to the public, Non-political charity does policy at No. 11, Sith’s Konrad paid by charity to campaign for Balls’ election, The Charity Commission announcement, The Sith and the Statesman.
This note also provides guidance to ministers in relation to the requirements of the Ministerial Code.
During the leadership/deputy leadership election campaign, ministers remain in charge of their departments. Government business continues as normal.
All costs associated with the leadership/deputy leadership campaign – travel, accommodation, printing and so on – should be met by the individuals or the Party not the taxpayer.
Under the terms of the Ministerial Code, ministers must not use government resources for party political purposes. They must uphold the political impartiality of the civil service and not ask civil servants to act in any way which would conflict with the Civil Service Code.
On leave or out of office hours with their minister’s approval. That excludes, by definition, being sat at your desk all day toiling endlessly to get the candidate elected, shooting off emails to all and sundry and running up the national debt on the phone for hours. The whole purpose of the restriction was to prevent the situation we have now. Dozens, and Guido means dozens, of SpAds doing little else but plot and conspire to further the private interests of party candidates in an internal party election. They are not acting to further the political interests of the government minister, the job the taxpayer pays them to do, they are acting to further the interests of the private individual climbing the greasy pole.
That is not appropriate activity for civil servants, which is what SpAds are, and that is the reason why the Code of Conduct exists. Clause 7 in the model contract for Special Advisers states bluntly:
Special Advisers should not use official resources for Party political activity. They are employed to serve the objectives of the Government and the Department in which they work. It is this which justifies their being paid from public funds and being able to use public resources, and explains why their participation in party politics is carefully limited.
The author of this document is Blair McDougall, he is Ian McCartney’s Special Adviser (SpAds). Ian is Hilary Benn’s campaign manager and a minister at the FCO. SpAds are not allowed to campaign under the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers at the taxpayers expense for their masters in internal party matters. In fact they are supposed to take unpaid leave – see the recent example of Peter Hain’s ex-SpAd Phil Taylor.
Since Guido has started on his mission to catch SpAds cheating the taxpayer and breaking the ministerial code, some have quite properly taken leave. Guido has just spoken with McDougall about the briefing. He didn’t claim, nor can he retrospectively pretend, that he was working on his own time. The document was prepared on his desk computer at the FCO, sent from his email address at the FCO, during office hours. Pressed by Guido that this was a breach of the Code he refused to answer, invited to deny that he had produced the document at the taxpayer’s expense, he declined to deny it. How does this differ from benefit fraud?
Looks like a job for the Cabinet Secretary…
Call the national Shop-a-SpAd hotline on 0709 284 0531.
Fresh from flogging campaign T-shirts from a sweatshop, her SpAd Paul Richards is working on her leadership campaign on the taxpayer’s time.
Maguire suggested he improperly emailed him about a political issue on his government computer, Richards replied: “I will check with the Propriety and Ethics Team of the Cabinet Office. But I’m sure this is legitimate activity for a special adviser.”
No if, no buts, it isn’t.
Taylor and Hain parted company last week due ‘irreconcilable differences’. Hain didn’t agree with Taylor’s advice which contradicted the advice of the individual actually employed to run the campaign, Steve Morgan. Taylor had a tantrum, threatened to leave, Hain suggested he do so forthwith. Hain showed little loyalty or gratitude – given that presumably Phil Taylor sacrificed any pay-off as a SpAd when he volunteered to work on Hain’s campaign for free?
Taylor is currently looking for work, although without any success.
Lib Dems Should Support EU Referendum | LibDemVoice
Feldman’s Denial | Fraser Nelson
Obama’s Presidency is Imploding | Nile Gardiner
Miliband Could Be a Great PM | Thomas Pascoe
What Are You Really Paying in Income Tax? | TPA
Galloway’s Mad Month | The Commentator
Murdoch: Facebook is the New MySpace | Telegraph
Clegg’s Manifesto Referendum Pledge Spin Unravels | ConHome
Coalition Here to Stay | Ben Brogan
Tories Plan Coalition Divorce | Times
Public Doesn’t Back Dave on Europe | Peter Kellner
Tom Harris bemoans the public’s attitude to politicians…
“Mr Oborne echoes the lazy, anti-politics whine we hear so often these days, all based on the absurd notion that politicians were once loved and only fell out of public favour during the expenses scandal. He should take a walk to the Strangers’ Bar. But not to sup with the patrons he seems to despise so much, dearie me, no; he should instead look at the paintings on the corridor outside the bar, which depict the devastating fire which consumed most of the Palace in 1834. And he should reflect on the fact that on that dramatic night, as the Commons went up in flames, a crowd gathered on the South Bank to clap and cheer.”
The thing that Dave needs to work out is which group is more likely to vote Conservative. Mad swivel-eyed loons or mad homosexuals wishing to get married.