Vince Spending More Money on Spin

Business Secretary and obvious shoo-in for the next LibDem leader Vince Cable is on the lookout for a new spinner. His department is advertising for new comms man and are offering a generous £80,000 per year to the successful candidate. Apparently “personal credibility, political nous and sound judgement will be essential“. Someone should tell Vince…

Boris Invites Murdoch to Olympic Swimming Final

Guido has to admire Boris’ cojones this afternoon. Peter Dominiczak reports that the London Mayor has invited Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi to be his guests of honour at Rebecca Adlington’s swimming final on Friday. Apparently Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger was also invited but was “unable to attend“. Might have been slightly awkward.

Why not bring the kids and make a day of it?

The £20,000 Question for Wandsworth Conservatives

Yesterday Guido shone some light on over £8,000 worth of cheques written to Justine Greening’s agent in the run up to the 2010 General Election. Today he brought you a rather muddled statement from Wandsworth Conservatives that can be summarised as “move along people, nothing to see here”. They are currently standing by Robert Morritt – who is now a councillor and on the Audit Committee, ironically, of Wandsworth Council. As if the previous allegations were not enough to spark a new inquiry, how about this…

Guido can now reveal that a further £20,000 paid to Justine Greening’s former agent between 2007 and 2010 has gone unaccounted for. Wandsworth Conservative Group employees are required to record a reason for the issue of cheques in an invoice ledger, but Morritt failed to do so on no less than 23 separate occasions. Here is how the internal investigation – that Wandsworth Conservatives chairman Anthony Cole claims had settled the matter – covers the issue:


Why has Morritt failed to give an adequate explanation for £20,000 worth of cheques paid to him?

Where is the money?

See also:

David Earns Half a Mil-iband

Under Ed Miliband’s stewardship Labour have set themselves firmly against excessive pay for the wealthy: “There is a need for responsibility at the top as well as at the bottom. Rewards for failure are bad for society“.

Ed’s brother clearly didn’t get the memo however – defeated leadership candidate David has raked in some £500,000 in the last year thanks to a series of positions he holds in addition to being an MP. According to the Register of Members Interests, David earns over £25,000 per speech and £75,000 a year as a director at Sunderland FC, even pocketing a hundred grand for four days’ work as an advisor to an energy company in California. Welcome to the 1%…

Via William Green.

Wandsworth Tories Demand Guido “Desist” No Evidence Presented to Suggest Allegations Inaccurate

Wandsworth Conservative Group have broken cover in response to Guido’s recent exposé. Their Chairman Anthony Cole has released this statement:

“In the course of his employment with Wandsworth Conservative’s [sic.], Mr Morritt was required to incur expenses.  In early 2010, legitimate questions were raised about expenses paid to Mr Morritt and the surrounding control systems. A detailed, thorough and independent investigation was performed and a series of detailed questions subsequently put to Mr Morritt.  Mr Morritt satisfactorily answered all of these questions. There was no ‘missing money’ or ‘fraud’; there is absolutely no evidence he ‘kept the cash for himself’ or that there was personal gain for Mr Morritt.  I request that you immediately desist from allegations to the contrary.”

They are standing by their Councillor Robert Morritt, who sits on Wandsworth Council’s audit committee…

So Mr Cole, Guido has a copy of the said report that was compiled in late 2010. As covered here, Morritt was forced out from his position as agent in July 2010 – after the General Election – and it was only after that the books were turned over and other questions arose. Guido has asked Wandsworth Tories whether “early 2010” suggests that suspicions had been raised pre-election.

The “detailed, thorough and independent investigation” that Guido has a copy of would suggest that far from “satisfactorily answering” questions about missing cash, it in fact opened a huge can of worms. Guido showed you yesterday over £8,000 of unexplained cheques. There are more to come too…

If there was no “missing money” or “fraud” how come the accounts do not show any reference to these “expenses” racked up by Mr Morritt? The accounts were not an accurate reflection of spending…

If, as Mr Cole claims, “Mr Morritt satisfactorily answered all of these questions…” and there was  no “personal gain for Mr Morritt”, how come he was forced to pay back over £5,000 when he was ousted in autumn 2010?

Guido will “desist from allegations to the contrary” when some evidence is presented. Vague claims of “expenses” are not good enough in the light of overwhelming evidence of dodgy activity. Given Guido has the accounts, the reports and the cheques, perhaps Mr Cole and Mr Morritt would like to show him some receipts?

See also:

Johann Hari Mark II

A US hack has been caught making up quotes from legendary singer Bob Dylan.

Read all about it over on MediaGuido

American Hack Sees Visions of Johann

A US journalist has been forced to resign from the New Yorker magazine after being caught making up quotes from singer Bob Dylan. Jonah Lehrer first tried to contest the allegations but yesterday conceded that he had falsified quotes from the sixties legend: “I said that they were from archival interview footage provided to me by Dylan’s representatives. This was a lie spoken in a moment of panic. I then continued to lie and say things I should not have said.” Seems Johann Hari took his old tricks with him when he fled across the pond…

Kevin Maguire on Chancellor Zero:

Where did they find the 2% of Tories who still thought Osborne could be leader? Must be his family.”

Hollande Gives Dave Olympic Kicking

Pint sized French President Francois Hollande has stuck the boot in on the Olympics. It’s good to see France is shedding it’s international reputation as a sore loser – London beat Paris to host these Games:

“The problem is that there are simply too many corporate seats. It will be up to French organisers to sort out this problem if a bid for a future games is to be successful. I am not here to announce a candidacy, but we will present an extremely strong bid: we don’t talk of money, we talk of gold. The British have rolled out a red carpet for French athletes to win medals. I thank them very much for that, but the competition is not over. We will put the French medals into the Europe pot, so that the British will be happy to be European.”

Are you going to take that, Dave?

Twitter Troll Nicked for Threats Not Insults

Another day and another Twitter user silenced. Before the dust has even settled on the Twitter joke trial, a 17 year old kid has been arrested, apparently after some seriously poor taste Tweets sent to Team GB diver Tom Daley. While his arrest over night is splitting opinion, its worth bearing in mind that while the messages sent about Daley’s dead father were disgusting, it was probably the threat to “drown” the diver that crossed the legal line and got the police involved.

That pertinent fact does not seem to be getting much traction though…

Incidentally, Guido gets regular online death threats and abuse. He doesn’t dial 999. He does sometimes find out the threatener’s phone number and call them. They never sound very brave in person…

Twitter Gag Indy LA Hack

No word from the social network yet, but the Indy are telling their side of the story:

Twitter and journalists don’t seem to be having a very good time at the moment…

Morritt Pocketed Election Deposit Dosh Missing Cash Scandal Spreads Beyond Wandsworth

Not content with cashing £1500 meant for comms equipment and nearly three grand supposedly for a colleague’s leaving present, it seems even a general election provided an opportunity for Tory councillor Robert Morritt to play his missing money game to a new level. On 7 April 2010, Morritt was issued with a cheque for the sum of £2,000 to pay for “candidate deposits” in the approaching general election. Deposits are £500 per constituency and there are only three constituencies in Wandsworth. So what was the other £500 for? No explanation, it would appear, so we can only assume “expenses” again.

All those Tory candidates in True Blue Wandsworth got their deposits back at the election. Morritt was refunded £1,500 by Wandsworth Council shortly afterwards. No doubt he quickly repaid the amount to Wandsworth Conservatives, right? Nope, he kept it for himself. What’s more, if you’re a Tory reading this in Wimbledon, he pulled the same trick on you. £500 of your money for Stephen Hammond’s deposit never came back. “Expenses” are very expensive these days.

By Guido’s reckoning that’s nearly £8,000 gone on unexplained “expenses” for agent – now councillor – Morritt. It’s no wonder he’s on Wandsworth Council’s audit committee. He knows every trick in the book.

When Guido put these allegations to Morritt last week he claimed “In the course of my duties I naturally incurred a number of expenses that have all been satisfactory accounted for.” Yet as you can see his explanations are more than a little shakey. We haven’t even got on to the cheques written out with an explanation…

Guido spoke to one senior Wandsworth Conservative earlier who lamented: “I was present at a meeting shortly after the 2010 elections where it became obvious that we were basically bankrupt. No one could understand why. Now it seems we are finally getting an explanation.” When Guido approached another senior official at Wandsworth Tories, who is believed to have unearthed all of the wrongdoing, he refused to comment. However, when pressed with the details Guido has revealed today, he declined to deny they were accurate…

To be continued…

See also: Justine Greening’s Agent in Addison Lee Fraud MessWandsworth Tory Auditor in Voodoo Accounting Mystery More Questions Over Morritt’s Missing Money

Lego Lands Guardian With £400,000 Bill

Like all sensible news operations, the Guardian have have spent the weekend recreating the Olympics out of Lego. Since they lose £91 per minute, by Guido’s maths*, the cash-starved newspaper has lost nearly £400,000 in the time it must have taken do it. And they wonder how they haemorrhaged some £44 million last year…

*£91 per minute x 1440 minutes per day x 3 days = £393,120

Tory MP Charlie Elphicke tweets:

I often read Political Scrapbook and then find out from Guido Fawkes that what they’ve written is not true #fail

More Questions Over Morritt’s Missing Money – Councillor Kept Comms Cash For Himself

Earlier Guido revealed how Justine Greening’s former agent and current Tory Councillor Robert Morritt has become mired in a missing money mystery, but the questions don’t stop there. While selecting council candidates in 2009, Wandsworth Conservatives recognised the need to boost their communications capabilities and decided to splash out on some conference call equipment. Morritt was issued with a cheque for £1,500 to go and buy the equipment (which he promptly cashed) but, three days later, he hadn’t managed to find anything suitable. In the end, a senior activist was dispatched to solve the problem. She paid for the kit herself and was then properly reimbursed. As for the £1,500 given to Morritt? You guessed it, it was never seen again…

And there’s more. Selection meetings can be long and tedious so a nice venue, some decent wine and a few nibbles goes a long way to breaking the boredom. In 2007, Wandsworth Conservatives set about selecting a candidate for the local London Assembly seat. This was a joint task with Merton Conservatives. Morritt was only too glad to organise both stages of the whole affair, and he was reimbursed £796.25 for the costs shortly afterwards . The problem is that the books show other invoices paid by Wandsworth Conservatives for the same events, also amounting to £700. So, Guido hears you ask, why would the treasurer reimburse him if the bills had already been paid?  The answer is simple: Morritt reimbursed himself. He had access to pre-signed cheques and filled in his name and the amount he decided he should take. So what was this money for? When asked in 2010, back came the answer: “Expenses”.

Guess what? There’s more…

See also: Justine Greening’s Agent in Addison Lee Fraud MessWandsworth Tory Auditor in Voodoo Accounting Mystery

Friends Reunited

Sounds “absolutely brilliant”…

Robert Morritt’s Missing Money – Wandsworth Tory Auditor in Voodoo Accounting Mystery

Last week Guido broke the news of a brewing crisis involving Justine Greening’s former agent and current Wandsworth councillor Robert Morritt. When reading the following revelations, remember that Morritt sits on Wandsworth “the careful spending” council’s audit committee. Upon discovery of his secret taxi account in 2010, shocked Tory chiefs in Wandsworth Conservatives did some more digging. Guido has seen a report into the results of the internal investigation, and it makes for very interesting reading…

There’s nothing more important than sending off a long-serving volunteer with a good leaving present. In fact, if the 2008 books of Wandsworth Conservatives are to be believed, the going rate is pretty steep.  It seems that when a blank cheque was handed to Morritt to buy the gift in May 2008 he promptly cashed it for the astonishing sum of £3,000.  Sadly, the unsuspecting recipient – his identity will be revealed in later disclosures  – actually only received a much more modest decanter valued at £200. So, £2800 missing? Where did that go, councillor? When asked that question in 2010 whilst under investigation, he simply replied “expenses”. Someone had a good night out…

The missing money doesn’t stop there. Party members constantly moan about the cost of party conference but, if the books of Wandsworth Conservatives are to believed, they have something of a point. In 2008 Morritt (as was his right as agent) asked them to pay for his pass for the annual conference in Birmingham. The problem is that the bill seems to have come to £1,012 – at least that is the value of the cheque he was written for that very purpose in July that year. On this rare occasion, he does seem to have provided a receipt. For £118. So that’s another £894 missing. “Expenses”, presumably?

Stay tuned for more damaging revelations…

See also: Justine Greening’s Agent in Addison Lee Fraud Mess

Magpie Pierce Lifts Another Guido Story

Regular readers will know that Andrew Pierce has form for plagiarising Guido’s work, so it’s little surprise that the Mail columnist has been at it again. Last week Guido explained the real reason why old adversary Tim Yeo is so upset about cuts to renewable energy funding: he earns over £100,000 a year from green investments. Low and a behold Pierce has penned a piece for today’s paper revealing how – you guessed it – Tim Yeo makes over £100,000 a year from green investments:

 

He also syndicated our story about Lord Hanningfield hiring a penal reform researcher. The invoice is in the post…

See also: Andrew Pierce is a Thief – An Occasional Series, Andrew Pierce Goes all HariDid You See Guido’s Column in the Mail Today?, An Open Letter to Paul Dacre

Twitter Spoofer Launches Legal Fight Mail Bosses’ Extraordinary Allegations Revealed

Guido has learned that the anonymous owner of the spoof Steve Auckland twitter account has launched a legal bid to fight the US subpoena threatening to reveal his identity. The attorney representing the spoofer, who agreed to work pro bono after discussions with Guido, aims to file a motion to quash the Northcliffe Media action in a Californian court today. Twitter had agreed to release the personal information of the account holder on Wednesday but it is understood this process will now be delayed. The fight is on.

Meanwhile Guido has obtained the court document upon which the legal action undertaken by the Daily Mail subsidiary is based. The document makes a series of extraordinary allegations against the spoofer, including that he is guilty of fraud, defamation, libel and even that he hacked a computer in the Northcliffe offices. Nortchliffe, apparently with the consent of the Daily Mail and General Trust, then demand he faces a trial by jury in the States:

The spoofer denies all allegations. His lawyer will see them in court…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

20120730-001857.jpg[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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

Quote of the Day

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
Champion: ‘Not Possible’ to Keep Student Debt Promise Champion: ‘Not Possible’ to Keep Student Debt Promise
BBC Rich List Revealed: Salaries In Full BBC Rich List Revealed: Salaries In Full
Torbynista Greening Loses Fight for New Money Torbynista Greening Loses Fight for New Money
New Labour Spinner Boasted of Bullying Angela Eagle New Labour Spinner Boasted of Bullying Angela Eagle
Remainers Behind Smears and Negative Briefings Remainers Behind Smears and Negative Briefings
Sunday Shows Sunday Shows
Byline Fined For Defamation in First Impress Ruling Byline Fined For Defamation in First Impress Ruling
Freedom From Abuse Not Abuse of Freedom Freedom From Abuse Not Abuse of Freedom
Milne & Blonde Pictured in Restaurant Milne & Blonde Pictured in Restaurant
Corbyn Spends Evening With Assad Loving Genocide Denier Corbyn Spends Evening With Assad Loving Genocide Denier
Osborne Defends Blackrock’s Investment on Front Page Osborne Defends Blackrock’s Investment on Front Page
Taylor Review Hijacked by Union Sock Puppets Taylor Review Hijacked by Union Sock Puppets
Assange Lawyer Named as Milne’s Mystery Blonde Assange Lawyer Named as Milne’s Mystery Blonde
The Great Fairtrade Scandal The Great Fairtrade Scandal
Stewart Jackson Tapped for Davis Job Stewart Jackson Tapped for Davis Job
Robbie Gibb New No 10 Comms Chief Robbie Gibb New No 10 Comms Chief
Corbynistas Must “Hold the Streets” If There’s a Coup Against PM Corbyn Corbynistas Must “Hold the Streets” If There’s a Coup Against PM Corbyn
Watson and Wimbledon Watson and Wimbledon
No 10 Comms Director Runners and Riders No 10 Comms Director Runners and Riders