Prince of Darkness Exploits Lords Loophole to Keep His Dark Money Undeclared

With all the focus Sky News / Tortoise is putting on their collating of MPs declarations it is easy to forget the other half of the legislature – the Lords – is often the scene of even murkier activity. Going by his register of interests, you might think 2022 had been a quiet year for Peter Mandelson – the Prince of Darkness registered no speaking events, nor foreign trips. Yet one co-conspirator has been quick to point out that this picture isn’t quite complete. In March 2022 Mandelson took a leaf from the New Labour relic’s playbook and schmoozed an authoritarian regime. He spoke at the Doha summit in Qatar, alongside David Beckham, which must have been convenient considering his consultancy has recently opened an office there. Just don’t tell Sir Keir.

Mandy then took a much-needed break from the stresses of Westminster politics for a visit to the Milken Summit in Singapore. That’s the same Milken indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud and then pardoned by President Trump. Of course, these could well be above board – assuming they were paid by Mandy himself or his consultancy – it’s just not exactly transparent. It doesn’t take a master of the dark arts to work out why Mandy might want to keep the trips on the down-low…

mdi-timer 12 January 2023 @ 14:24 12 Jan 2023 @ 14:24 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
All the Labour Cronies Elevated to the Lords Under Sir Keir

Labour’s big Sunday headline was their plan to abolish the House of Lords to “restore trust in politics”. The idea to replace the Lords with an elected upper chamber was pitched to contrast the party with successive Tory governments “handing peerages to ‘lackeys and donors'”. 

Ignoring the fact that Blair put hundreds of Labour-supporting peers in the Lords and subsequently faced the Cash-for-Honours scandal – Sir Keir’s railing against lifelong jobs for mates looks pretty odd. Since taking over as Labour leader, he’s seen 18 Labour supporters into the upper house…

31 July 2020

  • Kathryn Clark, Baroness Clark of Kilwinning – former Labour MSP and MP
  • Bryn Davies, Baron Davies of Brixton – former Labour GLC member
  • Susan Hayman, Baroness Hayman of Ullock – failed Labour MEP candidate, ex-Labour MP
  • Prem Sikka, Baron Sikka – policy advisor for Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell
  • Tony Woodley, Baron Woodley – former general secretary of Unite

22 December 2020

  • Judith Blake, Baroness Blake of Leeds – former Labour leader of Leeds City Council, mother of Labour MP Olivia Blake
  • Jenny Chapman, Baroness Chapman of Darlington – former shadow Brexit minister, former Labour MP
  • Vernon Coaker, Baron Coaker – former Labour MP
  • Wajid Khan, Baron Khan of Burnley –former Labour MEP
  • Gillian Merron, Baroness Merron –former Labour MP

14 October 2022

  • Sonny Leong, Baron Leong – long-time Labour activist, co-founder of SME4Labour
  • Frances O’Grady – general secretary of the TUC
  • David Prentis, Baron Prentis of Leeds – former general secretary of UNISON
  • Kuldip Singh Sahota, Baron Sahota – former Labour councillor
  • Ruth Smeeth, Baroness Anderson of Stoke-on-Trent – former Labour MP
  • Sharon Taylor, Baroness Taylor of Stevenage – former Labour councillor
  • Fiona Twycross, Baroness Twycross – former Labour London Assembly member
  • Tom Watson – former Labour deputy leader

This represents twice the number of new peers installed under Jeremy Corbyn, who himself gave chums like Shami Chakrabarti the ermine robes.

We also recently learnt that Rosie Cooper, who in September said she was going to resign as an MP, is refusing to stand down while she tries to secure a peerage. More than the Lords hypocrisy, Guido reckons Remainer-in-Chief Starmer will have a hard time restoring trust in politics with constitutional reform after his years of attempted Brexit-blocking…

mdi-timer 21 November 2022 @ 11:53 21 Nov 2022 @ 11:53 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Lords is a Working Legislature, Not a Retirement Home

This week there has been a coordinated attempt to drive the outrage bus over Boris’s resignation list, it hasn’t really got going – probably because the list is a lot shorter than most suspected (so much for the so called ‘lavender list’ warnings that Boris would try to appoint 50 peers) and the fact the MPs on it are deferring any by-elections. Which is a peace-making gesture to Rishi that he would be unwise to spurn…

This morning’s Telegraph picks on Charlotte Owen, whose crime appears to be that she is a young woman in politics, reporting disapprovingly that she is 27 years of age, she is actually 29. The Times complained yesterday that Ross Kempsell was in his twenties, he is 30. If you are going to thunder about someone’s age, best get it right.

There are many issues with the Lords and how appointments are made that need reforming, appointing younger peers is surely not one of them. The average age in the upper chamber is 71, 13 members are aged 90 or over. The highest concentration of members from all parties is in the 70–79 age band, except the bishops, whose members mostly fall into the spritely 60 – 69 age band. The house is regularly referred to as a retirement home, which it should not be, considering it is a working legislature. Injecting some youth might be energising…

There are recent precedents for young advisers in their thirties being appointed by departing PMs; Cameron made Nat Wei a Lord at 33 and his press secretary Gabby Bertin was 38 when she became a Baroness, Jo Jo Penn was 34 when Theresa May put her in ermine. Let’s also not forget that the previous youngest person ever to receive a life peerage at 32 years of age, Lord Redesdale, was proposed by the LibDems in 2000….

mdi-timer 11 November 2022 @ 17:37 11 Nov 2022 @ 17:37 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Boris’s Resignation Honours List

As revealed by the Times last night, Boris’s resignation honours list has now been finalised. And as expected, there are a few recognisable names among the 20-or-so appointments…

Nadine Dorries, Alister Jack, Nigel Adams, and Alok Sharma, are all getting peerages at the end of the Parliament to avoid by-elections. Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, Dan Rosenfield, Ben Gascoigne, and Boris’s former City Hall adviser Kulveer Ranger can expect their rewards sooner. Ross Kempsell and Charlotte Owen will become the youngest life peers in history, both under the age of 31. Congratulations in particular to m’Lord Kempsell…

Like clockwork, the media are having fun pretending to be outraged. The Times says a source has pointed out that Dacre’s name reappearing on the list means Rishi “may have to choose whether to veto Dacre if the commission advises against his appointment again.” This does seems like convenient timing to throw the scent off other, erm, negative stories nagging Number 10 at the moment. Guido couldn’t help noticing this is yet another scoop Lara Spirit has had that is well timed for Camp Rishi…

mdi-timer 8 November 2022 @ 09:08 8 Nov 2022 @ 09:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Lords Commission U-Turns on Tom Watson Peerage

Last night, The Telegraph gave us advanced sight of the latest political cronies set to don ermine and enter the Lords. Boris is appointing a group of Brexiteers, Tory donors, former MPs, and Paul Dacre – though shakes up the list with top Remainer Sir Nicholas Soames. Labour, on the other hand, finally seems on the verge of getting former deputy leader Tom Watson into the upper house. The LibDems get precisely zero new Lords…

Tom Watson’s impending investiture is arguably the most surprising on the list, given just two years ago it was widely reported that he’d been blocked by the House of Lords Appointments Commission following a nomination by Jeremy Corbyn.

At the time, The Independent, The Sun, The Guardian and The Times all confidently reported that Watson’s blocking from the Lords was wholly down to his scandalous support for allegations of a Westminster paedophile ring, made by the jailed fantasist Carl Beech. Back in 2020, it was former Tory MP Harvey Proctor who successfully led the campaign to deny Watson a peerage after being smeared as part of Operation Midland.

What exactly has changed in the last two years?

mdi-timer 7 October 2022 @ 08:48 7 Oct 2022 @ 08:48 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Angry Peers Suggest Gove Moves to Stoke

Michael Gove was a brave man entering a bear pit when he went to meet with Tory peers this afternoon, following an almost week-long row about his suggestion the Upper House moves to Stoke-on-Trent during parliament’s restoration. Fighting it out, Guido hears Gove was on the receiving end of some cold fury from the party’s traditionalist Noble Peers, not least Lord Cormack who compared the Secretary of State’s letter to an estate agent’s brochure. Andrew Lansley questionably complained the only reason the QE2 Conference Centre had been retained in public hands was to allow the Lords to decamp there. Guido’s mole reports Lords Norton, Geddes, King, Taylor and Hayward all raised concerns, though arguably it was Lord Vaizey who went the furthest. Suggesting it should be Gove moving to Stoke on Trent…

There wasn’t total unity among Tory lords, however. Baroness Fookes asked whether a site to which the Lords would decamp has been identified in Stoke and what costings/savings had been determined. The implication of her question was that there was no site and no costings/savings had been identified. Lord Frost said he’s open-minded about relocation. Appropriately this whole showdown took place in Parliament’s Moses Room. Though by the sound of it Michael Gove won’t be leading an exodus of peers out of SW1 and across the Red Wall any time soon…

mdi-timer 18 May 2022 @ 17:30 18 May 2022 @ 17:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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