Labour Expenses Piggy's Second Home Heating Bill

Readers will remember disgraced former Labour MP Joan Ryan, kicked out by the voters of Enfield North in 2010 after she was caught “flipping” her second home. Now she is standing for parliament again, pounding the streets listening to constituents’ concerns about their energy bills and campaigning on Labour’s doomed energy price freeze.

Back when she was their MP, Joan had no similar concerns about keeping warm in winter – receipts released during the expenses scandal show that she claimed £2,476 for gas and electricity utility bills for her second home on expenses. Clearly claiming £4,500 for repairs on her Enfield second home before flipping it with her flat in south London was not enough. No wonder local Labour activists begged members not to select her…

Hedge Funds Put Roof Over Tory Heads – Literally

One of Labour’s favourite lines is that the Tories are in the pay of rich City traders, so no doubt they will be pleased to hear millionaire money men will literally be putting a roof over their heads. The Tories will share their new headquarters at 4 Matthew Parker Street with Polar Capital, a hedge fund. And the building is owned by Morley Fund Management who describe themselves “one of the UK’s largest fundmanagers”At least the Treasurer’s Office will not have to travel far for a whip round.

£17 Million Windfall Sends Hunt to Top of Cabinet Rich List

Jeremy Hunt is set to trouser a cool £17 million if a deal to sell Hotcourses, an education listings service he holds a 49% stake in, is sold to Inflexion Private Equity. Merci, big drink tonight!

Taxpayer's £2 Million on Written Questions Since June

Oral questions tabled in the House make up only a fraction of the total questions asked in parliament. Hundreds of written questions are tabled each day, most with the aim of political point-scoring and each at an average cost of £164 to the taxpayer. New figures show that there have been 11,327 written questions between June and October, costing the taxpayer an approximate total of £1,857,628. The number was released in an answer to a written question, obviously…

Unite’s Beef With the TPA

Guido thought he had herd it all, but the Taxpayers Alliance have raised the steaks with their suggestion of saving money on grass-cutting by using cattle and sheep to graze on council land. Clearly a vealy good way to provide the taxpayer with value. Surprise, surprise then that Unite are milking it, coming out with an udderly ridiculous statement trying to butcher the policy:

“The credibility of the Taxpayers’ Alliance has to be seriously questioned when ideas taken from medieval times, such as grazing sheep, are wheeled out in its endless quest for publicity. Has the alliance worked out how much it is going to cost to buy these animals and pay the substantial veterinary bills? The prospect we face is hundreds of these animals freely roaming around municipal parks ignoring health and safety considerations when children are playing – and being a prime target for urban rustlers.”

That’s grazy talk.

“Ex-Politician” Gordon Paid £349,501 in One Month

No wonder the Prime Mentalist has forgotten he is still an MP. In October alone he has declared payments for outside work of £349,501, including for speeches and junkets to Shanghai, Johannesburg, Monaco and New York. As ever Gordon warns the press:

“I am not receiving any money from this role personally. It is being held by the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown for the employment of staff to support my ongoing involvement in public life.”

Presumably that’s the “ongoing involvement in public life” he cannot remember he is still supposed to be doing.

That “office” flies Gordon around the world first class and puts him up in five star hotels, refuses to disclose how much it gives to charity, how much it pays Sarah Brown, how much is sitting in its bank account for when he finally quits. Who does he think he’s kidding…

Flashback: Indian Spaceman Thanks British Taxpayer

As India prepares to launch a giant up yours to China by sending a probe to Mars, lets just remember how grateful the Indian spaceman was to receive the £800 million in British aid since 2010. Blast off!

Re-Renting: Davey Claims Expenses for LibDem Owned OfficeMoney Paid to Company of Which Wife is Director

Dozens of  MPs claims for their constituency office on expenses even though it is already owned by their local party or a friendly donor. Taxpayers end up effectively making a donation to party funds or refunding donations given privately. Parliamentary authorities have cottoned on to the “re-renting” scam and are preparing a report which will once again out dozens with their snouts in the trough. Yet another round of expenses scandals…

Guido can reveal one of the big name ministers set to be exposed is the LibDems’ Ed Davey. He claims £12,352 for 2012/13 on expenses for his constituency office rent in Surbiton – which is more than enough to cover any mortgage. As revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, deeds seen by Guido show that the property is already owned by the Kingston Liberal Democrat Property Company Ltd, and his wife Emily is a director of the company. The building is also being used by local LibDems as their headquarters for party political activity, subsidised nicely by the taxpayer.

We put the £200,000 mortgage borrowing into our calculator with a standard 25-year term and found the LibDems should have been paying just over £900 a month in mortgage repayments, yet Davey is claiming for over £1,000 a month towards rent. The rules state that for an office shared between party political and constituency work the costs should be apportioned to fairly reflect the dual use. So how is he is claiming not just a proportion of the property cost for rent, but more than the entire property costs to mortgage?

A quick browse of comparable local offices available to rent shows that Davey is charging taxpayers double the market rate for office space. The cash is being recycled from the taxpayer into party funds. There is no chance of the Energy Secretary or local LibDems going cold this winter either. Davey claims for the office’s gas and electricity bills on expenses as well.

Labour Owe Troubled Co-Operative Bank £3,391,000

The Co-Op bank’s £1.5 billion black hole will see 50 branches closed after the ‘ethical’ bank went cap in hand to hedge funds rescuers.

In 1999 the Labour Party borrowed £3,580,000 from the bank and only £189,000 has been repaid.

Miliband and Balls owe the troubled lenders £3,391,000. How many jobs could they save if they paid it back?

Ed Balls’ £5 Million State Subsidy For The Guardian

Guido isn’t sure who this one is more embarrassing for. While in office, Ed Balls used taxpayers’ money to subsidise the Guardian to the tune of 1% of its turnover. As Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Balls bunged Kings Place £4,899,688 between 2007 and 2010. The money went on services ranging from advertising to training courses. Guardian News & Media had a turnover of £261.9 million in 2007/2008, that year they were the lucky recipients of £2,445,787 from Balls’ department or 1% of their annual turnover. Someone had to help keep them afloat, turns out it was the taxpayer…

Judgement Day for Wandsworth Tories

Wandsworth Conservatives were once a flagship campaigning force, whose success was emulated across the country. They were held up as a shining example of  what the Tories could do in local government. Fast forward five years and it stands on the brink; riddled with infighting and shamed by accusations of corruption and cover ups. The scandal is centred around the group’s agent at the last election Rob Morritt who was exposed for fraudulently cooking the books to hide more than £30,000 in missing money and a secret £25,000 Addison Lee bill. Blank cheques, dodgy expenses and lies – Morritt used every trick in the book.

When this was exposed internally in 2010 it was ignored and NDAs were drawn up to try make the issue go away, yet Guido exposed the truth. Three years later and Morritt has managed to get himself elected as a Putney councillor but tonight he finally faces losing the whip when the Tory council group meet to determine his fate. They have been shamed into action by an independent report that confirmed the allegations Guido made. The vote tonight requires a two thirds majority to remove the whip. Despite the council leader Ravi Govindia kicking the stool away from his former campaign manager, plus the evidence of two investigations piled up against Morritt, it’s expected to go to the wire. Bizarrely there are still those willing to defend him. It’s time to lance this boil.

You can see all of Guido’s stories on the Wandsworth cover up here.

Flint’s “Only” Gaffe Today

Caroline Flint claimed in her response to Ed Davey’s energy statement that green taxes and levies “only” costs households £120 a year. Only £120?

Easy for someone to afford on MP’s salary, with a Minister’s pension and expenses to bung bills on, but talk about the mask slipping…

 Only £120?

The Global Race

Always keen to support a good cause, Guido was browsing the Just Giving website when he came across Craig Oliver’s 10k fun run page. He’s already raised over two thousand pounds, thanks mostly to eager hacks opening their wallets for stories. Who said chequebook journalism was dead?

The Mail’s Tim Shipman will double his donation if Craig wears his infamous Dre headphones, Simon Walters “wouldn’t want you to fall flat on your face in the mud”, Jeremy Vine wonders “if you can beat your time last year of 7 hours” and Matthew d’Ancona asks if he has become a Tory donor chipping in a ton.  Sky News have whipped around for another £100 and it seems Mark Easton, the BBC’s home editor who was singled out by the Tories at the weekend for being a pinko-under-the-bed, is not sore enough to hold a grudge.

Number 10’s very own Andrew Cooper wins with “I think you’re taking the global race too seriously.” George Osborne has chipped in £50, plus £12.50 gift aid of course from the rest of us. Though no sign of the PM…

Guido was feeling generous:

Joking apart, you can donate here.

Tory Meltdown in Wandsworth Greening, Hammond and Ellison Facing Questions

Guido hears that it’s been a busy old day in SW18 and down the road in Putney.  As revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Justine Greening’s former agent Rob Morritt, aka the Wandsworth Fraudster, will face a crunch vote on Halloween which should see him thrown out of Wandsworth Council Conservative Group over the allegations that he defrauded his local party of £60,000 while acting as electoral agent to no less than three Tory Minsters. Justine Greening, Stephen Hammond and Jane Ellison are yet to comment publicly on their agent’s alleged fraud, yet Guido hears that pressure is mounting for Morritt to accept that the game is up.

Surprisingly, Greening’s Association Chairman Mark Elliot is organising support for Morritt ahead of Thursday’s vote. As it stands, Greening has not yet publicly distanced herself from the accused fraudster, despite the fact that her own council leader is trying to force him out. Morritt used to be Greening’s deputy Association Chairman, though that is kept quiet these days. Local sources claim that Morritt spoke to Greening on the phone last week, but this has not been officially confirmed or denied. As for her Association Chairman, a regional-level party source points out: “it’s hardly going to help Elliot’s own political ambitions when his behaviour forces us to put the association into special measures and kick out his entire team.”  Guido understands that is a very real possibility if Morritt is not given the boot from the local party.

Guido has asked for comment from Greening, Ellison and Hammond. As of yet they declining the opportunity to tell their side of the story. Why?

This is a man that stands accused of stealing funds directly from their election campaigns, and a man who potentially misfiled their election expenses to cover up his own fraudulent activity. The Tories have tried to ignore this story since 2010, yet it has never gone away. Why do they still look like they are protecting their agent? What does he have on them?

Yet Another MPs Expenses Scandal Coming Don’t Say Guido Didn’t Warn You…

Next month the rental agreements for MPs’ constituency offices will be published, exposing just how many MPs are bunging taxpayer cash to trade unions and their local parties by claiming rent for properties they could have access to for free. Regular readers will be aware of the potential for troughing here…

It may not be for personal gain, but if the parties are taking money from the taxpayer in murky circumstances, that does not make it any better. Back in 2010 Sarah Teather’s back-door party funding was revealed in a Guy News investigation:

Unions are often major beneficiaries of rental trickery. Luciana Berger claims £1,750 per quarter for her constituency office rent, her office is the UCATT building in Liverpool. They’re donors…

Geoffery Robinson does the same for Unite:

This is a scam used by Labour MPs to, perfectly legally, funnel taxpayer cash to a donor who then gives money back to the party. Next month we will find out if the Tories are pulling an equivalent stunt; claiming taxpayers’ money to pay rent to a private donor, who then gave money back to the party, it would be a major scandal. Where there’s a rule to bend, there’s a will…

Morally Barron

The good news is IPSA says MPs should no longer be able to claim for:

  • A £15 evening meal when Parliament sits after 1930
  • Hospitality tea and biscuits
  • Hotels before 0100
  • Taxis home before 2300
  • Contents insurance for a second home
  • Installing a TV in a second home

The bad news is they think that should come with a bribe of a £7,000 pay rise.

And surprise surprise, the troughers’ union – Kevin Barron’s morally bankrupt Committee on Standards – has rejected the expenses restrictions. How times change…

Taxpayer Still Subsidising Guardian

Back when they were in government Labour used to give the Guardian a helping hand by bunging them taxpayer cash for advertising departmental jobs in the paper. It was one example of government waste the Tories vowed to crack down on. Well in 2012 Maria Miller’s DCMS gave the Guardian £10,698 of taxpayers’ money “as part of the drive to attract a wider spectrum of candidates to the boards of our country’s institutions and encourage more diverse public appointments”. Every little helps…

Diane Abbott Ate My Donation

As revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Diane Abbott took her mind off losing her shadow front-bench job last week by appearing on ITV’s Saturday night gameshow The Chase, alongside celebs Anton du Beke, Denise van Outen, and Matt Le Tissier. She didn’t do too badly, losing in the final round. As it was for charity, host Bradley Walsh generously gave her £1,000 to donate to the Sickle Cell Society. What the cameras didn’t show you however, was that Diane herself pocketed another £5,000 as an appearance fee. A shameless way of doubling the £5,533 a month she earns as an MP.

Crunch Vote Coming for Tory Fraudster Greening’s Agent Finally Losing Support of Council

The clock is ticking for Tory fraudster Cllr Rob Morritt on Wandsworth Council. As exposed by Guido, Justine Greening’s 2010 agent stands accused of fraudulently helping himself of over £50,000 of party funds through cheques and taxis during the campaign. After a cover up and a inquiry was followed by a cover up and another inquiry, Morritt is finally losing the confidence of his colleagues.  The Wandsworth Guardian has more this morning; he finally faces being booted out of the Tory group and deselected at the end of the month:

Click to Enlarge

Who else knew about this?

Background here:

Eleanor Laing: the MPs’ MP

Eleanor Laing is the still the front-runner in Deputy-Speaker election. She has public support from Labour’s side; Kevin Barron has written to Labour colleagues calling on them to support Laing and Chris Bryant is sounding out support for her. If Chris is her campaign manager on the Labour side, his own failure to win election to the Shadow Cabinet doesn’t bode too well.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Michael Crick on Safe Seats:

“In effect, new MPs are being elected day by day now, as, amid huge secrecy, small cabals of party bigwigs pick candidates for safe seats.”

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