Coulson Cawte Out Over New Spelman Expenses Fiddle

Over the weekend the News of the World revealed that Conservative Party Chairman Caroline Spelman’s Chief-of-Staff, Simon Cawte, was paid out of her parliamentary expenses for two years (2006 & 2007). Parliamentary Staff Allowances are prohibited from being used for partisan purposes. Andy Coulson told his former colleagues at the News of the World that their story was rubbish.

The official spin from Coulson was:

“It is entirely wrong to suggest Simon Cawte was not paid in accordance with the rules. Simon Cawte was employed to support Caroline Spelman in her role as part of the Official Opposition in Parliament. He discharged duties such as speech writing and answering correspondence relating to Caroline Spelman’s role as the Shadow Local Government Secretary. This is entirely permissable within the rules.”

Errr, no it isn’t.

The Green Book states:

6.1.1. Scope of allowance

The staffing allowance is available to meet the costs wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred on the provision of staff to help you perform your Parliamentary duties. Further details of allowable expenditure are set out at paragraph 6.10.1.


6.2.1. Eligibility

Subject to the paragraphs which follow, all Members of Parliament may draw on the staffing allowance to pay their staff. It is a Member’s responsibility to ensure that staff paid from this allowance are: employed to meet a genuine need in supporting you, the Member, in performing your Parliamentary duties; able and (if necessary) qualified to do the job; actually doing the job and that the resulting costs, in so far as they are charged to this allowance, are reasonable and entirely attributable to the Member’s Parliamentary work.
The issue boils down to: Was Cawte’s work in assisting Spelman “entirely attributable to the Member’s Parliamentary work”?

Timeline of Declarations of CCHQ / Taxpayer Funding for Simon Cawte


Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
2004












2005

/










2006
X


X


X

X
X

2007



X

X


X
X
X

2008
X





/





“X” = No declaration of CCHQ Chief-of-Staff funding, “/” = declaration of CCHQ Chief-of-Staff funding, note registers issued irregularly, these are all that were found.

Cawte was definitely paid for by CCHQ in 2005 – and properly declared that February – he was however back on Spelman’s parliamentary expenses in 2006/7 when he suddenly is supposed to have become apolitical, before once again going back on the CCHQ payroll in 2008 when she became Party Chairman. Spelman could hardly pretend that the Party Chairman’s Chief-of-Staff was a non-partisan role, could she?

Guido has had a look at some of the speeches Spelman’s supposedly non-partisan speech writer wrote for her. Here are the final paragraphs from some of the speeches Spelman delivered during that 2006 / 07 period:
The challenge for us is to help people, help themselves. As the Big Issue slogan says “A Hand Up Not a Hand Out”. And that is exactly what David Cameron’s modern, compassionate Conservative Party is all about.

I say continue, because let’s not forget, we are already coming back in places like Birmingham and Leeds and we control the councils of towns and cities like Bradford Coventry Dudley Walsall and Tamworth. Those places are feeling the effects of a modern Conservative Party in tune with the aspirations of today’s electorate. The challenge for us is to make sure the Conservative Party continues to strengthen its presence in or towns and cities and I hope that you, like me, will be straining every sinew in between now and May 4th to help deliver that.
Reconnecting with our cities 07/04/2006

This will be a new politics under a new conservative government. A new Conservative policy on regeneration needs to restore civic pride in community by raising up and building the capacity of local champions who in turn engage the whole community in bringing about change which people want to see and take ownership of. A new Conservative government will have to provide a framework where schools and education are at the heart of regeneration, a sustaining local economy underpins regeneration, and the regeneration of lives goes hand in hand with the restoration buildings. Our hand should be open to the needs of the poor to offer a hand up where money is leveraged by the goodwill and instinct of people to build a better world around them for those they know and love.”
There are plenty of speeches to choose from, all in the same style, almost all concluding with words to the effect “Vote Conservative” – which seems a tad partisan.

Most shadow cabinet Chiefs-of-Staff are paid for by private donors or CCHQ – not the taxpayers – precisely because they do the party political work. Cawte was also Spelman’s Chief-of-Staff when she was in charge of the local government election campaigns – did he really stay out of party politics when the campaign she was leading was going on? We were expected to believe that the professional nanny Tina Haynes was actually her constituency secretary not her child minder at the taxpayers’ expense, based outside the constituency and doing political stuff with a small “p”. We are now expected to believe that her Chief-of-Staff Simon Cawte was not doing partisan political stuff with a capital “P”. That is not credible. Her stories are full of holes…
+++ developing +++



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Boris on Osborne and Project Fear:

Unemployment has fallen by 250,000 to a new low of 4.2 per cent while record numbers of jobs have been created – including no fewer than 8 for the former chancellor and chief architect of project fear who has become a glorious living rebuttal of his own preposterous warnings.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
US Ambassador on Sadiq US Ambassador on Sadiq
Question Time’s £450,000 Gender Pay Gap Problem Question Time’s £450,000 Gender Pay Gap Problem
Riot Convicted Bastani on “Public Nuisance” Riot Convicted Bastani on “Public Nuisance”
Press Gallery Welcomes: Thornberry Press Gallery Welcomes: Thornberry
Labour Candidate on “Holocaust Mongers” Labour Candidate on “Holocaust Mongers”
Lansman to Discuss Corbyn Anti-Semitism “Smears” in Israel Lansman to Discuss Corbyn Anti-Semitism “Smears” in Israel
WATCH: May Speech Brings About Policy Exchange Collapse WATCH: May Speech Brings About Policy Exchange Collapse
Tories Make Sick Labour MP Vote in Wheelchair Tories Make Sick Labour MP Vote in Wheelchair
Leaked Emails Show DfT Lied About Northern Rail Leaked Emails Show DfT Lied About Northern Rail
Alan Sugar Tries to Get Sacked from BBC Alan Sugar Tries to Get Sacked from BBC
May Considers Asking to Stay in Single Market for Goods May Considers Asking to Stay in Single Market for Goods
Smith Must Hold Firm Against Grieve Smith Must Hold Firm Against Grieve
Eurotunnel: Don’t Buy Border Scaremongering Eurotunnel: Don’t Buy Border Scaremongering
CCHQ Defaced With Anti-Heathrow Graffiti CCHQ Defaced With Anti-Heathrow Graffiti
Labour Parliamentary Candidate Distances Herself From Rothschilds, ‘Zion Scum’ and ‘Fake Jews’ Tweets Labour Parliamentary Candidate Distances Herself From Rothschilds, ‘Zion Scum’ and ‘Fake Jews’ Tweets
Saj: Time to Review Scheduling of Cannabis Saj: Time to Review Scheduling of Cannabis
Sally Bercow: We’re Not Packing Bags Yet Sally Bercow: We’re Not Packing Bags Yet
Shouty Cracker Lord Moat’s Mask Slips Shouty Cracker Lord Moat’s Mask Slips
Jolyon’s Mystery £100,000 Donor Jolyon’s Mystery £100,000 Donor