BBC Exclusive: Labour Donor Criticises Boris

As Harry Cole points out this morning, BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme’s choice of headlines is questionable at best: “Top – a minor Commons yawnfest report slagging off Brexit…; 2nd – Some Tory donor no one has ever heard of, moaning…; 3rd – The EU’s brilliant response to Ukraine crisis…”. Their ‘Tory’ donor exclusive also splashes second top of the BBC website. Guido couldn’t believe his ears, therefore, when Laura Kuenssberg informed listeners that the unknown billionaire in her exclusive interview actually donated £12,500 to the Labour Party last year…

Neither Laura’s report, nor online story, informs readers either that the supposed Tory donor, John Armitage, hasn’t just donated £12,500 to Labour – or that it was his only party donation of 2021 – meaning he hasn’t been a Tory donor since 2020. He also donated almost £65,000 to the official ‘In’ campaign during the referendum, according to the Electoral Commission website.

Anyone else get the sense the BBC’s a bit too keen to push a certain narrative about the PM at the moment?

mdi-timer 9 February 2022 @ 08:57 9 Feb 2022 @ 08:57 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tories Fined £17,800 by Electoral Commission

It just one thing after another for No. 10 this morning, as the Electoral Commission fines them £17,800 for failing to “accurately report a donation and keep a proper accounting record” in regards to the Downing Street flat refurb:

“The investigation looked at whether any transactions relating to works at 11 Downing Street fell within the regime regulated by the Commission and whether any such funding was reported as required.

The investigation found that the party failed to fully report a donation of £67,801.72 from Huntswood Associates Limited in October 2020. The donation included £52,801.72 connected to the costs of refurbishment to 11 Downing Street. The full value of the donation was not reported as required in the party’s Q4 2020 donation report.

The Commission also concluded that the reference in the party’s financial records to the payment of £52,801.72 made by the party for the refurbishment was not accurate.”

It never rains but it pours…

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More Labour MPs Caught Red Handed Phone Banking from Parliament

As Guido pointed out this morning, Labour were quick to report Geoffrey Cox to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for his use of his parliamentary office for non-parliamentary work. A dangerous move given the parliamentary Labour Party has a culture of flouting this same rule.

Part V. Article 16 of the Members Code, as Angela Rayner tells us, insists that expenses, allowances, facilities and services provided from the public purse is always in support of their parliamentary duties” and should not “confer any undue personal or financial benefit on themselves”. Yet, Labour MPs have been using parliamentary facilities for party political by-election campaigning. Pictured here are former Parliamentary Standards Committee Chair Kate Green, Labour MP Matt Western, Catherine West, and an unknown staffer using parliamentary offices for phone banking during the Batley & Spen by-election last June. A clear violation of the rules…

More difficult for the Labour Party legally is the question of the by-election expenses which have to be declared. If Labour MPs are using their parliamentary offices, office equipment and telecommunications facilities (internet/telephones), that will have to be reported on the official election spending expenses return. The Electoral Commission’s advice is thatnotional spending will be incurred where such office space is provided free of charge or at a discount by a political party or a third party”. Under election law, the spending return has to reflect an apportionment of the notional costs, even when the resources are provided free.

Taxpayers should not in any circumstances be bearing the Labour Party’s costs in by-elections. In addition to the law, parliament’s rule as laid out in the Code of Conduct given to every new MP is very clear on this point:

The House provides various facilities and services to Members, the cost of which is either met in full or subsidised by public funds. These include, for example: accommodation, including offices and meeting rooms, research support, ICT equipment and services, catering facilities and stationery.

These facilities and services are provided in order to assist Members in their parliamentary work. They should be used appropriately, in such a way as to ensure that the reputation of the House is not put at risk. They should not be used for party political campaigning or private business activity. You must make yourself aware of the Code of Conduct which has been agreed by the House of Commons.

Parliament’s resources should not be subsidising private business conference calls for Geoffrey Cox, nor should taxpayers be funding Labour’s by-election campaign phone banking in Bexley & Sidcup or Batley & Spen. It is not one rule for Tory MPs and another for Labour MPs…  

See also: Labour MPs Caught Red Handed Using Parliamentary Offices for Phone Banking 

mdi-timer 11 November 2021 @ 15:00 11 Nov 2021 @ 15:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Labour Fined by Electoral Commission

Labour was fined £1,820 by the Electoral Commission at the start of the month for failing to deliver accurate quarterly donation reports, the elections watchdog has announced. Alongside the party, ‘Labour Together’ – a separate network for Labour activists – was fined £14,250 for three offences, including: failure to deliver donation reports within the 30 day deadline; inaccurate donation reporting; and failure to appoint responsible persons within 30 days of accepting donations.

Terrible luck for a party already down on its financial luck…

mdi-timer 21 September 2021 @ 09:57 21 Sep 2021 @ 09:57 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
LibDem Membership Plummets

Today’s LibDem annual report for 2020, published this morning by the Electoral Commission, does not make for happy reading. At the very end of the 25-page audit, the party reveals that in one year their membership collapsed from 126,724, to 98,247 – a fall of 22.5%. Who knew Jo Swinson was such a pull factor…

Labour’s membership figures are also down, albeit by a surprisingly small amount of just 1.7% from 532,046 to 523,046. They can – and do – at least boast that party membership reached a new record high in February, at the time of the Leadership contest.” 

The Tories are the only party of the big three to keep quiet on their specific membership figures, which would usually imply they’re covering up bad news. On the contrary, they claim “membership of the Party remained stable compared to other post-election years with members and wider supporter base responding well to a programme of virtual events and grassroot fundraisers”. The real story will come this time next year when we see how the Labour membership responded to Starmer’s leadership in 2021…

mdi-timer 26 August 2021 @ 11:45 26 Aug 2021 @ 11:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Laurence Fox’s Reclaim Party Raised Same as LibDems

If there were ever a sign of the LibDems’ increasing irrelevance, figures released by the electoral commission today revealed Laurence Fox single-handedly raised almost as much as the entire LibDems in the first quarter one of 2021. Total returns revealed Fox’s Reclaim party brought in £1.53 million, versus the LibDems’ £1.28 million. Fox’s incoming was exclusively from 18 individual donations by Jeremy Hosking…

Unsurprisingly, even Nick Clegg couldn’t turn the LibDems’ fundraising efforts around. The former deputy prime minister resumed donating to his former party, for the first time since the 2019 general election. Electoral Commission records show their former leader gave £5,000 to his old branch in Sheffield, and £10,000 to the Scottish LibDem branch. Guido would have thought his Facebook wage would allow him to be more generous…

mdi-timer 3 June 2021 @ 16:48 3 Jun 2021 @ 16:48 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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