Boozy ‘Boris For PM’ Parties

Last month Boris wooed 40 or so Tory MPs at a boozy drinks party hosted by his unofficial campaign manager Nigel Adams at his luxury riverside apartment. Those in attendance say the bash was an attempt to wine and dine those backbenchers with whom he does not have a particularly strong relationship. The Boris operation has clearly stepped up a gear – Adams and Chris Heaton-Harris are hosting another party at their flat “for Vote Leave colleagues” in June. BoJo is expected to attend…

Parties thrown by Adams and Heaton-Harris are famous for having only one rule: “NFJ“. No f**king journalists…

Rotten Robertson at the Races

Robertson Race Course

Last month Guido looked at the murky goings on around Tory MP Laurence Robertson, who was then referred to the Standards Commissioner over allegations of cash-for-access. Well, he’s at it again…

Robertson has received four fully-funded racecourse trips from bookmakers Gala Coral, Ladbrokes and William Hill, as well as two further trips from course owners The Jockey Club. In total, that’s £3,466 of free trips to Aintree, Cheltenham and Chepstow, with the priciest trip costing a whopping £800. Such generosity is only to be expected – in December Robertson raised a couple of helpful questions in the Commons in favour of the so-called “racing right”, a key issue for the racing industry and large bookmakers.

Last month it was cash-for-access claims, this month it’s completely coincidental freebies. Time for a stewards’ inquiry…

Bus-ted: Tories Admit Dodgy Election Expenses

battlebus

The outrageous expense fiddling in South Thanet revealed by Channel 4 earlier this year led to a full blown Electoral Commission investigation. While previously the Tories have denied any knowledge of wrongdoing, a new investigation by Channel 4 has prompted the party to come clean over the £38,000 cost of accommodation for Battlebus activists:

” As is apparent from our National Return, the Party declared expenditure related to our CCHQ-organised Battlebus.

However, due to administrative error it omitted to declare the accommodation costs of those using the vehicles. This is something we have already brought to the attention of the Electoral Commission in order to amend the return.  

The Party always took the view that our national Battlebus, a highly-publicised campaign activity, was part of the National Return – and we would have no reason not to declare it as such, given that the Party was some millions below the national spending threshold. Other political parties ran similar vehicles which visited different Parliamentary constituencies as part of their national campaigning.”

If the Conservatives are found to have paid the hotel bills for Battlebus campaigners on locally focussed campaigns, then not declaring the accommodation could constitute a criminal offence. Channel 4’s investigation is set to air on the news tonight. Guido will be watching…

Even BBC and Channel 4 Say Osborne’s Figures Wrong

os

Fraser Nelson accuses Osborne of “deception” and “simply breathtaking dishonesty“, Andrew Lilico says the Treasury report is “irrelevant” and Allister Heath describes it as “shameful, undoubtedly the worst piece of research from a government department in years”. Even more damagingly for the Chancellor, that analysis is shared – albeit in more diplomatic language – by the broadcasters. The BBC’s Reality Check is scathing:

“it is very difficult to predict anything in 15 years… it is a bit odd that the Treasury has used ONS forecasts for what will happen to population by 2030, without considering what difference leaving the EU would make… The precise figure [households £4,300 worse off] is questionable and probably not particularly helpful”

Channel 4’s respected FactCheck blog goes further:

“It’s not quite right to say that Brexit “will cost each family £4,300”, since the actual impact on household incomes from a fall in GDP would almost certainly be lower… The Treasury paper offers a pessimistic view of what might happen to Britain if we left the EU”

And that’s glowing coverage compared to the front pages

Tory MPs’ Verdict on Osborne

Boris: “The Treasury has not been totally successful in all its economic forecasts, let’s be honest.”

Peter Bone: “Treasury’s economic predictions are speculative at best, deceitful at worst”

The response of the Tory benches to the Chancellor’s speech this morning…

London’s Fourth Statue of Simon Milton

Last week Boris Johnson unveiled a statue of the late Simon Milton at One Tower Bridge, a fitting tribute to his former deputy mayor. At least it would be, except Milton has been immortalised in statue form three times already. First there was the ‘decorative frieze’ erected in Piccadilly in 2013:

Then there was the sculpture unveiled in Merchant Square in Paddington in 2014:

On top of that, a bust was commissioned to reside at City Hall:

Meaning the new statue is the fourth Milton graven image in London. By contrast Lady Thatcher has one and Wellington has two. Dowding, who saved London from the Blitz, only has one. Milton however has the same number as Churchill. Surely nothing to do with his former partner Robert Davies being in charge of planning for Westminster council. While in the job Davies was responsible for taking down statues of Newton and Hogarth in Leicester Square. Perhaps he has plans for the free slots?

Corbyn Preferred to Osborne as PM

osborne

Another killer YouGov poll in Red Box this morning. It has not gone unnoticed among Tory MPs:

By 13 points…

Greenslade Shreds Hacked Off’s Whittingdale “Conspiracy Theory”

The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade, a man unlikely to be part of a right-wing media plot to protect a Tory Cabinet minister, dismisses as “conspiracy theory” Hacked Off’s wild claims that the press covered up the Whittingdale story. The pro-Leveson brigade scream intrusion when tabloids reveal married MPs’ affairs, then cry conspiracy when they decide not to write about a single man and his lover. Whitto will be embarrassed by the revelations but he was a single man in a consensual relationship who has done nothing wrong. Brian Cathcart and Hacked Off have hilariously jumped the shark live on TV…

Osborne’s Tax Summary

The Treasury say:

“The dividend income relates to shares in Osborne and Little Group Limited, a UK resident manufacturing company of wallpapers and fabrics that was founded by his father. The dividends are derived from shares that the Chancellor of

[…]

+ READ MORE +

READ: Cameron’s Tax Returns

Cameron has released his tax returns for the last six years. Wisely his inheritance was split into £300,000 from his father and a £200,000 gift from his mother in 2011, tax planning which will ultimately save him £70,000 in inheritance […]

+ READ MORE +

Why Didn’t Cameron Declare Blairmore in 2009 Register of Interests

Today brings some of the worst front pages for David Cameron since be became PM, as Labour MPs hysterically call for him to resign. Could Dave’s £30,000 in an offshore trust be fatal?

Cameron is responsible for the situation, not […]

+ READ MORE +

Dave Had £30,000 Stake in Offshore Trust

He tells Peston he and SamCam did own a stake in his father’s Panama trust, which he sold for £30,000 in 2010:

“We owned 5,000 units in Blairmore Investment Trust, which we sold in January 2010. That was worth something

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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