Vaz Didn’t Declare Hotels Used For Encounters With Young Men

hotel

Tuesday’s Sun reported that between September 2013 and December 2014 Keith Vaz “often” stayed at the Washington Mayfair hotel, and “sometimes there were other young men with him”. The paper says Vaz does not appear to have been charged for the bookings. Receipts were signed off “As per Mr J. Sanger”, suggesting they were freebies from the hotel’s mega-rich Indian owner Joginder Sanger. MPs are required to declare all hospitality over the threshold in the Register of Interests:

“Over £660 for the total of benefits of whatever size from the same source in a calendar year”

Vaz made no declaration of free hotel stays in 2013 or 2014…

Just three stays plus a few drinks bills would have put Vaz over the threshold. Hotel workers suggest it was more regular than that:

“Keith Vaz would often arrive at very short notice. Sometimes there were other young men with him. There were a number of times when he didn’t stay the whole night. He would stay for just a few hours before checking out.”

If Vaz stayed there often and for free, the hotel rooms used for liaisons with young men should have been declared to the Commons authorities. All this seems so far removed from Vaz’s promise when he was first elected that he would only accept a workers’ wage and donate his parliamentary salary to his constituency Labour Party:

vaz-worker

Somehow he has managed to make millions and the mystery source of his wealth is unexplained, least of all to his local Labour Party…

Farage: I’ve Never Taken a Penny From Putin

neera tanden hillary clinton

On Monday top Hillary Clinton aide Neera Tanden sensationally claimed “the Russians” were “directly funding” UKIP. Quite an allegation, and one for which Team Clinton alas offered zero evidence. Nigel Farage has addressed the claim :

Breitbart: “According to her, Nigel, you are a far-right politician funded by the Russians. Is that right?”

Farage: “Hmm. Well, I can’t tell you how touched and thrilled I am that, starting with Hillary, and now one of her acolytes, they’ve chosen to make me a political football in this presidential election… All I can say to her acolyte is that I’ve never taken a penny piece from Mr Putin, so frankly what she’s saying is slanderous, there’s no other way of putting it.”

Now, about those Saudi donations to the Clinton Foundation:

clinton

Bit rich of Saudi-funded Hillary, a “family friend” of Egyptian tyrant Hosni Mubarak, to accuse anyone else of having cosy relationships with foreign despots…

Mail Retracts “Escort” Story After Trump Hires Gawker-Bankrupting Lawyer

The Daily Mail has issued a lengthy, grovelling retraction after Melania Trump filed a lawsuit against them in a Maryland court for publishing claims she was once an escort. Trump’s attorney Charles Harder is suing them for $150 million:

“Defendants broadcast their lies to millions of people throughout the US and the world. Defendants’ actions are so egregious, malicious and harmful to Mrs Trump that her damages are estimated at $US150 million.”

Harder is the infamous lawyer who represented Hulk Hogan in his successful suit against US gossip blog Gawker. Hogan was awarded damages of $140 million, Gawker was bankrupted and shut down. Late last night the Mail published a long retraction expressing “regret“:

“To the extent that anything in the Daily Mail’s article was interpreted as stating or suggesting that Mrs. Trump worked as an ‘escort’ or in the ‘sex business,’ that she had a ‘composite or presentation card for the sex business,’ or that either of the modeling agencies referenced in the article were engaged in these businesses, it is hereby retracted, and the Daily Mail newspaper regrets any such misinterpretation.”

Calling a presidential candidate’s wife a hooker does seem a little high risk. Gawker went under for reporting the truth…

MacShelved Pound Shop Europhile

mc-shelved

It is a continuous struggle for Denis MacShame, the ex-convict fraudster, to make an honest living. He must look at Paul Flynn’s plans for receipt free expenses and think “if only”…

Picture courtesy of co-conspirator, Paul T Horgan.

Flynn’s Expenses Plan Would Have Covered Up Own Troughing

flynn

Paul Flynn’s crackpot plan to abolish MPs’ expenses receipts has been met with the contempt it deserves. He is one of Corbyn’s top allies but even the Labour leader’s team are slapping down his ridiculous proposal. Flynn wants it so MPs don’t have to reveal what they’ve spent your money on. Under his opaque scheme, taxpayers would have been unaware that during the expenses scandal Flynn wrongly claimed over £2,000 in mortgage interest and had to pay it back. Nor would you have known that he blew £7,000 of your cash on a new kitchen. Or another £1,100 on new carpets. Or another £1,200 on decoration. Flynn wants it so MPs can claim expenses with impunity without filing receipts because it’s a “chore“. Clearly having two Shadow Cabinet jobs is too much of a strain on the old fool…

Labour Plan to Abolish MPs’ Expenses Receipts Because Filing Them is a “Chore”

flynn

Labour have drawn up plans to end the requirement for MPs to provide receipts for expenses claims. The staggeringly opaque proposals have been made by Shadow Leader of the House Paul Flynn, who is responsible for his party’s policy on MPs’ expenses. Flynn admits his plan is “provocative“, but claims it is necessary to abolish the expenses watchdog and implement an unreceipted allowance for MPs, because filing expenses is a “chore“. The text of the plan, seen by Guido, states:

“A monthly 30 minute chore was complicated by IPSA into hours of tedious frustrating trawling through a bureaucratic morass of rules that are complex and tedious. IPSA robs MPs and our staff of much of their most precious possession – time. There is continuing resentment against unnecessary chores that diminish MPs ability to do their numberless essential tasks.”

Hundreds of thousands of workers across the country take the time to file expenses claims, but Flynn says that’s too much effort for MPs…

He argues the current system, which allows the public to hold MPs to account on each expenses claim they make, should be abolished and replaced by a new “automatic” allowance with no receipts and no transparency whatsoever:

“MPs would embrace a new system without claims or the expensive IPSA. It could be based on an allowance calculated on average expenses based on distance from Westminster and paid automatically.”

So he wants the taxpayer to write MPs a cheque for tens of thousands of pounds and never know how the money is spent. Opaque, unaccountable and ripe for corruption, this is Labour’s new policy on expenses…

UPDATE: A Labour spokesman says “What Paul Flynn has suggested is not Labour Party policy”. But as Shadow Leader of the House Flynn is responsible for their policy on MPs’ expenses…

Sainsbury Broke Labour Rules, Purging Likely

LORD SAINSBURY

Top Labour donor Baron Sainsbury’s grant of over £2 million to the Lib Dems this year means, without any doubt, he has broken Labour’s strict membership rules. The 2016 rulebook, Chapter 2 clause I section 4 paragraph B calls for the automatic exclusion of any members who “supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group”. £2,125,000 to a rival party surely counts as support…

Sainsbury’s money, though much needed with the collapse of union donations on the horizon, can’t have been welcomed too much by the current leadership. Although Sainsbury has, particularly during the Blair years, donated some £15.6 million to the party, he’s given over £5 million to the New Labour faction’s Progress and £1.35 million to the Movement for Change – a now defunct front for David Miliband’s ambitions and that was once seen as integral to the New Labour continuity project in the way that Momentum is to Corbyn. The rules are however clear – with £2 million given to the LibDems – Sainsbury has to be purged by Labour’s Compliance Department…

MoD Spends More on Accountants Than Fighter Jets

jet accountant mod no ttext

The MoD spent £4.2 billion on “Technical, Financial Services and Other Services”. A handy statistical bulletin released today itemised the £20 billion of the defence budget spent within the UK in 2014/15:

“The industry group that received the highest level of expenditure from the MOD was ‘Technical, Financial Services and Other Business Services’, at just over £4.2 billion. This covers services for legal, accounting, management consultancy, and technical testing and analysis.”

The amount spent on pen pushers is nearly twice the level of expenditure on “Aircraft and Spacecraft” and approximately 350% more than on “Weapons and Ammunition”. Maybe the MoD is developing “keyboard warriors”…

PRCA Complain to Carolyn Harris Over Lobbyist’s Pass

prca-bailey

Following up Guido’s story Francis Ingham, the ever-lunching director general of the trade association for lobbyists the PRCA, has written an open letter to Carolyn Harris to complain about the lobbyist being granted a parliamentary pass by her. Guido revealed that Harris had granted a parliamentary pass to Lawrence Bailey of Whiterock Consulting, a man who was by his own admission “not an employee or member of Carolyn’s staff.” The PRCA’s Director General writes:

“I would like to remind you of your obligations to behave ethically as this story undermines the reputation of the lobbying industry and the integrity of MPs.

… Mr Bailey should have never entertained the idea of a parliamentary pass, and as an MP you should have never employed a lobbyist and given him a pass. Situations like this can seriously damage the public’s trust in politics.

We hope that there will be some swift action to clarify the situation. Will this matter be referred to the Commons Authority by yourself? Will Mr. Bailey be questioned as well?”

Bailey, who has so far received at least £51,305.60 in taxpayers cash while working for Harris and her predecessor, is not a PRCA member but is still bound by Parliament’s rules, which strictly forbids granting passes to lobbyists. Quite something for an MP to be blasted by lobbyists for a lack of ethics…

Rio Judge Orders Arrest of Top Farron Donor

marcus evans

A judge in Rio has ordered the arrest of a top donor to Tim Farron. Marcus Evans, whose firm was previously under fire for selling unlicensed rugby tickets, is one of four men at the centre of a new Olympics touting scandal. His company THG Sports is alleged to have obtained vast quantities of Irish tickets to be resold to the public at exorbitant rates “under the camouflage of hospitality packages.” Pretty much every major sporting event of the last few years has seen Evans, his companies, or one of his employees embroiled in scandal and unseemly allegations. The 2010 football World Cup and Ryder Cup both led to Evans being embroiled in allegations of illegal reselling, even gaining the title “the biggest ticket tout in the world.” What is it with Farron and accepting dodgy cash?

No Cap on SpAd Salaries

SPADS

This morning’s Times reported that special advisers’ salaries are to be capped at £72,000, a very low bar that would not only rule out talented candidates, it would mean current SpAds getting a pay cut. Guido is told that no such cap will be enforced. A Downing Street source says:

“It is not true that there is a new cap on special adviser salaries. All special advisers will be appointed on merit and paid according to their experience and responsibilities. The rules have not changed.”

Guido also understands that reports each Secretary of State will be limited to two SpAds each are wide of the mark. Some ministers will be allowed larger teams. Someone has been giving some naughty negative briefings about the new regime… 

Bob Geldof Speaking Gigs: No Charity Requests Please

bob

Fresh from his ill-fated waterborne intervention during the referendum, Bob Geldof is looking for work as a corporate after dinner speaker. Bob’s agent has emailed round promising “Sir Bob’s keynotes are always bespoke and tailored completely to client’s requirements”. Apparently Geldof has “been paying a lot of attention to international politics” and is “very relevant to so many international businesses right now”. Sounds like he really needs the money:

“We also have a couple of other opportunities with Bob for ‘filler’ events where we can consider reduced fees and would already have the international airfares covered either in full or part.”

Geldof’s biography on his agent’s website boasts of his charity work but there is a message for anyone who tries to book him: “Please note: we are unable to assist with any charitable requests”.

bob2

Give him your f***ing money…

MP’s Social Media Expenses Paid to Labour Crony

RUTH CADBURY TECH

If an MP had spent a whopping £7,000 of taxpayers’ money on top tech gear, “comms management” and social media training, you would expect to see some results. Ruth Cadbury billed the taxpayer for a Macbook Pro, an iPad Air 2 and an office full of new computers, as well as funnelling £2,575 to former Gordon Brown SpAd Caroline Badley to teach her, among other things, how to use social media. Your money well spent? After the social media splurge Ruth has a measly 680 Facebook followers, just 5,000 odd Twitter followers, and a grand total of zero YouTube subscribers. Is this taxpayer cash actually being spent on anything or is it just lining the pockets of a Labour crony?

Brexit Boom! Post-Referendum Consumer Spending Surge

SPENDING

Despite claims from Remainers that a Brexit vote would see consumer confidence plummet, new figures out today show spending has surged since the referendum. Just a few weeks ago Remain doom-mongers were writing about a “dent in confidence”, how people were “gloomy” about their finances and wanted to “rein in spending” because of the Leave vote. Yet analysis from Visa and Markit shows a “sharp” rise in expenditure of 1.6% year-on-year in July, up from 0.9 percent in June. There’s been an 8.9% rise in spending at restaurants, a 5.2% rise in recreational spending and a 3.9% rise in spending on clothing. In the first week after the referendum consumer spending rose 2.14%. Rather than rein in spending, Brexit Britain is booming…

UN Deletes Article Calling Hamas Operative “Hero”

MOHAMMED KHALIL TEXT

The United Nations has deleted a webpage calling charity worker Mohammed El-Halabi a “humanitarian hero” after he was arrested for funnelling millions of pounds of aid to Hamas’ military wing. An archived version of the page quotes El-Halabi claiming to have “fully dedicated my life to helping people and children”, he said the best part of his job was “managing to restore the smiles of children”. Instead he allegedly stole the money meant for those children and funnelled it to Hamas fighters, sending the terror group £5.5 million a year. You can still view El-Halabi’s glowing UN profile here

Dave’s New Landlord Blasted Brussels and Talked Up Brexit

cameron

David Cameron’s new landlord reckons Britain will be “richer” and “more plentiful” outside the EU. Dave and the family have moved into a three-storey end-of-terrace house in Chelsea, which would usually rent for £11,000-a-month. Its owner Dominic Johnson is an old friend and is letting the Camerons stay there for free. Johnson runs an asset management firm and used to be a full-blown Europhile, that was until last year when he said he had “fallen out of love” with the EU:

“I was pretty clear that I would vote to stay in – regardless of the outcome of any negotiation. But then I started to look more closely at the facts… If the UK left the EU (assuming trade treaties and other issues can still be negotiated), I do not believe that it would make any difference at all to the ease – or difficulty – of trade for our industry in the EU. Indeed, the fact that London has to suffer under the weight of such EU regulation is currently a deterrent for international boutiques locating here. If we leave, we may even get richer and our human capital more plentiful.”

Johnson then set Cameron four tough targets for reform and said if they were not achieved he would not be able to “stay committed” to the EU. Is Dave’s new landlord a Brexiteer? He can’t escape them these days…

60% Pay Rise for Manchester Council Fat Cats

RICHARD LEESE

Senior staff at Manchester council have been awarded pay rises of up to 60% while blaming the Tories for cuts in the city. While other staff see a standard 1% increase, council chiefs such as the “Head of Children and Families” will be receiving another £30,358 on top of their £50,442 salary – rising to £80,800 overall. Five staff are getting pay bumps of up to 12.5% to £125,000. In all, the pay rises for council fat cats will cost Manchester taxpayers £112,895. Richard Leese, who has now led Manchester’s Labour council for 20 years, moaned about t’cuts last year, claiming “I think it’s going to hit the poorest people in our country and it’s bad news for Manchester.” Austerity? What austerity? Wonder what wannabe Manchester mayor Andy Burnham thinks…

UPDATE: John Leech, former LibDem MP in Manchester, comments:

“These increases are frankly disgusting. The council is now clutching at straws because they’ve been caught dishing out indefensible pay rises. They are now trying to justify these enormous pay rises at a time when other members of staff are getting just 1 per cent, and residents are being told that services have to be cut.”

DfID Funding Hamas Scandal Charity

DFID HAMAS

DfID has given £27 million to a charity whose lead organiser in Gaza has just been arrested for funnelling 60% of his budget to Hamas. World Vision’s Mohammed El-Halabi was seized in an operation by Israeli intelligence and is accused of moving “tens of millions” of aid money to Hamas’ military wing. A Hamas member, Halabi allegedly “infiltratedWorld Vision in 2005 with the explicit intention to steal money and funnel it to fighters. He gave £5.5 million every year to the terror group – including 40% of the charity’s civilian project fund. World Vision is funded by the British taxpayer through DfiD’s aid programme. That’s the first budget for Priti Patel to shut down then…

UPDATE: Luke Akehurst, Director of We Believe in Israel, says:

“Kind-hearted Brits have given tens of thousands of pounds to a Christian charity to help needy children in Gaza, only to find out they were duped and their money stolen and diverted to fund Hamas’s terrorist activities. It’s outrageous that instead of helping Gazan children being fed and clothed, Hamas prefers to build terrorist infrastructure, dig attack tunnels into Israel, pay their terrorist fighters and buy missiles that will be used against Israeli civilians.”

UPDATE II: A DfID spokesman says that money given to World Vision was not designed to go to the Palestinian Territories, however they concede they did give money to the charity’s Gaza appeal in 2014 as part of the Disaster Emergency Committee. They cannot rule out that some of this money may have found its way into Halabi’s hands…

Dave’s £225 Swimming Trunks From Designer Notting Hill Shop

dave

The Sun has snapped some unflattering pictures of Dave on holiday in Porto Vecchio – their headline across a double page spread reads “Blue Whale Spotted Off Corsica”. Even more eye-catching is the fact that the former PM is wearing a pair of £225 swimming trunks. Guido has found them on the swish Orlebar Brown website, which offers pricey “designer swimwear” and “expertly tailored shorts” for gentlemen of a fuller figure. Cameron chose the “Bulldog” trunks, which feature a print of guests around a swimming pool at the luxury Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc in Antibes:

“Based on the traditional 17 piece pattern of a man’s suit trouser, the Bulldog is not just a swim short – but a short you can swim in. A perfect bridge short, tailored for style, comfort and performance. Wear on and off the beach.”

They come in up to a 41 inch waist and have engraved side fasteners to adjust. Get the look here or at any of Orlebar Brown’s shops in Mayfair, Notting Hill and Chelsea…

Woolfe’s £5,000 PayPal Receipt: Deposit Paid Just In Time

woolfe2

Guido has got hold of the PayPal receipt for Steven Woolfe’s £5,000 UKIP leadership deposit, showing he paid the money at 11:35am, 25 minutes before the midday deadline. His nomination papers were not received until 12:17pm due to a “technical glitch”.[…] Read the rest

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