Warburton Formally Under Investigation

Commons Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone’s workload has just got a lot bigger, as she announces a formal investigation into David Warburton. The announcement on the parliamentary website spells out the probe will look into the allegations revealed by the Sunday Timesclaiming he took a £100,000 loan from a Russian businessman without declaring it. A claim Gabriel Pogrund correctly predicted could lead to an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards…

“Warburton knew about Joukovski’s past problems with the [Financial Conduct Authority], but took the loan via an offshore entity linked to the businessman’s family trust. He later brought the Russian-born British citizen into the Palace of Westminster and used his parliamentary email address to organise meetings for Joukovski, including one with Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Brexit opportunities secretary, who was a backbencher at the time in 2017. According to a source with direct knowledge of the transaction, Warburton has since repaid the money at high levels of interest.”

The Commissioner’s announcement specifies the investigation will look into “Paid advocacy, Declaration of an interest, and Registration of an interest under Category 3 of the Guide to the Rules [Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources]”.

He joins Sir Keir, David Lammy, Andrew Bridgen and Chris Philp on Stone’s to-do list… 

Hat-tip: James Heale

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Shadow Chancellor Did Break Commons Rules

It took just one month for the Commons Standards Commissioner to rule that shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves did break MP sleaze rules over her registration of donations. As Guido pointed out when he reported she was under investigation, this is a ruling against someone who’s accused the Tories of sleaze no fewer than 31 times on Twitter. 

According to the commissioner’s findings, Reeves declared a £2,482 donation from CEG to cover the cost of her Christmas cards outside of the 28-day limit, also failing to register a donation from GMB Yorkshire (£2,500) and a donation from Trevor Chinn (£25,370).

A cool £30,352.

As spelt out in black and white by Stone:

“I have decided that by providing inaccurate information about CEG and registering the donation outside of the 28-day time limit set by the House you have breached Paragraph 14 of the Code of Conduct for Members.”

No doubt if this were a Tory minister Reeves would be the first to point the finger of sleaze…

mdi-timer 1 April 2022 @ 12:34 1 Apr 2022 @ 12:34 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Cox Finding Makes Mockery of Commons Sleaze Rules

Geoffrey Cox has been let off the hook by parliament’s Standards Commissioner. Kathryn Stone has found Cox not guilty of using his Commons Office during a Zoom call for his second job, on the grounds there is insufficient evidence to justify beginning an inquiry. Despite screenshots and videos having him bang to rights…

Stone’s limp-wristed decision sets an alarming precedent, arguing the rules on the use of taxpayer-funded parliamentary offices should be operated with a degree of proportion. While this creates an absurdly subjective grey area, Guido confesses he worried this would be the outcome. As the scandal played out last month, he spotted that while the 2010 MP’s handbook had explicitly said Commons Offices must not be used for non-MP work, this rule had been written out of the guidelines come the 2017 update:

In 2010 MPs were instructed that no resources provided should be used for “personal or party use”, however by 2017 this rule had been watered down to only refer to stationery and IT services.

Far from this decision only impacting Geoffrey Cox, it also jettisons Guido’s campaign against five Labour MPs he’d caught using their parliamentary offices to campaign in by-elections: Matt Western and Catherine West for Batley & Spen; Helen Hayes and Vicky Foxcroft for Old Bexley & Sidcup; and Kate Green for both.

Guido wrote to all five last Friday asking why they thought it an appropriate and fair use of taxpayer-funded resources, unsurprisingly receiving no reply from any. Guido reckons Kathryn Stone must be one of the few taxpayers in the country happy to fork up her cash for MPs like Cox et al to abuse the system and let them get away with it…

mdi-timer 30 November 2021 @ 16:18 30 Nov 2021 @ 16:18 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Sleaze-Slamming Ed Davey Placed Under Sleaze Investigation

If only the LibDem leader had followed the old rule of letting him without sin cast the first stone: since the beginning of the Owen Paterson scandal, Ed Davey has been all over the airwaves and social media slamming the Tories’ supposedly sleazy behaviour. He recently appeared on Politics Live to accuse the PM of being “mired in corruption and sleaze”

Guido pointed out that Davey himself rakes in £78,000-a-year for 120 hours work on his second jobs. It now transpires Parliament’s Standards Commissioner is taking a second look at Davey’s earnings. It’s been spotted that last week he became the first MP since the sleaze scandal broke to be placed under investigation by Kathryn Stone for “Registration and declaration of an interest under the Guide to the Rules”

Try and stifle your laughter…

Hat-tip: Henry Dyer

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