John Hemming: I Was Victim of False Sex Abuse Allegations

The former LibDem MP John Hemming has said he was the victim of false sexual abuse allegations by a woman who claimed the existence of a Westminster paedophile ring. Police yesterday dropped their two-and-a-half year long investigation into Hemming, who has today chosen to identify himself. He has some damning words for the coverage by the controversial website Exaro, and says the Labour Party also tried to smear him. Hemming was never even arrested.

“I am pleased that the Police have now made it clear that there has been a concerted effort to promote false criminal allegations against me and that the allegations had no substance whatsoever… There are many worse things that happen to people, but this was a really bad experience.

It is bad enough to have false allegations made about yourself to the police, but to have a concerted campaign involving your political opponents and many others in public creates an environment in which it is reasonable to be concerned about ill founded vigilante attacks on your family and yourself. Luckily there was a more substantial lobby to the contrary as well, which included many people who were themselves real survivors of abuse, which has helped…

The police themselves have handled the allegations well. However, although it was obvious from the start that the allegations were nonsense, it has taken two years for this to be resolved. Identifying why that is will take time, but I believe that the system is too tolerant of false allegations. The current CPS guidelines on handling false allegations are in my view too tolerant of malicious allegations and need review. The unnecessary delay of around 2 years in resolving the issue I believe arises from procedures that are being used being flawed.

It has been in the public domain for 2 years that the complainant changed her allegations in early 2015 from those she had made publicly previously and that she had stated publicly that she had never met a politician…

It should be noted that the newspapers generally have handled the issue reasonably well. Exaro and Exaro’s funder have behaved dreadfully. Sky should recognise that not only was their broadcast of the original allegations in May 2015 a complete nonsense, but also had it been based upon truthful allegations that it would have undermined a criminal investigation. The attempts to drum up additional false complainants through the use of publicity highlights a difficulty with publicising cases whilst a police investigation is going on. There are people who will make false allegations merely because someone suggests that they are looking for such allegations.

Some members of the Labour Party, including my opponent in the last two General Elections, have invested considerable time in promoting these allegations. The promotion of the complainant as an expert in this subject area as a consequence of these allegations has caused additional difficulties for my family.

I am not myself aware of another situation where members and supporters of a political party have promoted such allegations in such a public manner – essentially arming the villagers with torches and pitchforks and setting off on a lynching. There were public attempts to prevent me from standing as a candidate because of allegations made maliciously by a Labour Party member backed by other members of the Labour Party. Many Labour members will find this unacceptable and it is an issue that needs consideration by the Labour leadership.

I have asked the police to investigate this attempt to pervert the course of justice and await their response. There are, of course, many procedural options that are open to me to obtain justice for my family. I will consider those over the near future.”

Grim stuff…

Second LibDem MP Faces Election Expenses Questions

The Scottish papers think they are onto something with LibDem expenses at this year’s election. Yesterday the Herald accused Jo Swinson of omitting thousands of pounds worth of claims from her expenses return, which if declared would have put her over the limit. Today they are going after new LibDem MP Christine Jardine, claiming voters were sent personalised mail which was not accounted for in her spending return, and that if she had declared this £3,000 of expenditure in her local spend she would have bust her limit by £1,350. The LibDems are protesting their innocence, as they did before they were given the maximum fine by the Electoral Commission after the 2015 election. Expect more LibDem names to come out in the next few days…

Swinson in Trouble Over “Vanishing” Election Expenses

Here we go again… LibDem Jo Swinson is feeling the heat north of the border after thousands of pounds were apparently left off her election expenses declaration. The Herald reports Swinson claimed her spending had come in £210 below the limit, but only after £7,000 worth of claims were left undeclared. Swinson says money was spent on items that were never used so she didn’t declare it – other claims were declared as national spend in a move reminiscent of Nick Clegg’s controversial election expenses last time round. One to watch, who’s up for another summer of election fraud stories?

Vince Cable: I’m Not Supporting Chapman

This afternoon James Chapman claimed Vince Cable will be helping him launch his new party:

It’s news to Vince. A LibDem spokesman says Cable may attend anti-Brexit events but will not have anything to do with ‘The Democrats’:

“There is no question whatsoever of Vince Cable supporting the launch of a new party, as James Chapman is suggesting. A new party is completely unnecessary.”

During literally hundreds of non-stop tweets today Chapman has repeatedly called Theresa May and his former boss David Davis “Nazis“. He has also had an interview with Channel 4 News cancelled diplomatically for “technical reasons”. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Journalists and Remainers enabling this single-sourced nonsense need to take a look in the mirror…

LibDem Chief Executive Tim Gordon Out

Guido can reveal the Liberal Democrat chief executive Tim Gordon has resigned. Gordon was appointed by Tim Farron in 2011, and after weeks of internal speculation in LibDem circles that Vince Cable wanted him out, the party boss has fallen on his sword. A LibDem source says “he jumped before he was pushed”, the move is being seen as a Cable power grab. Well, as far as any power can be grabbed in the LibDems.

Gordon was the LibDems’ registered campaign officer in the 2015 general election – he was the subject of a police probe after the Electoral Commission found £184,676 missing from his spending return. The Electoral Commission found Gordon had committed an offence under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act and fined the LibDems the maximum £20,000 fine as a result. Gordon’s previous claim to fame was handling the review into LibDem harassment following the Rennard scandal, another stunning success. A LibDem spokesman confirms he is out. Bye…

UPDATE: Sir Vince says: “Tim has managed the party staff and finances very effectively during challenging times, and I want to thank him for ensuring that the party is now in such good order to move back into the centre of British political life.” Hardly glowing…

Farron on “Colourful” Faiths With “Funky Garb”

Tim Farron, still the leader of the Liberal Democrats remember, has gone full Westboro Baptist Church and compared himself to a North Korean dissident, mocking other faiths with “funky garb” with “interesting buildings”. He’s basically saying he’s a modern day Jesus, the victim of religious persecution. Get out the tiny violin… 

“Christians do feel marginalised, and they are meant to… the Bible tells us regularly that our faith will go against the grain, that we’ll suffer for being a Christian. Being Christian is not meant to be easy.  The writer of Philippians says “it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him”.  

Now, being harangued by journalists or slagged off by political opponents for my faith, hardly compares with the struggles of being a Christian in North Korea, where you have a one in four chance of being imprisoned for your faith. But the point is that Christian faith will go against the grain, if you aren’t struggling at least a bit against the expectations and assumptions of the world- then well, you should be!…

My own experience during the election tells me that people don’t mind people of faith in politics – so long as their faith is only of the cultural variety. So, if you wear funky garb, have nice colourful festivals, have interesting buildings and ceremonies, then we are absolutely fine about your faith – in fact your religious culture makes us more diverse and allows me to define myself as very liberal and tolerant by demonstrating how cool I am with your religion. However the moment you show any signs of actually believing in this creed, of thinking that this stuff about Jesus might even be true or that this faith might in any way impact on your conscience or your life choices… well, we don’t like that one bit.”

Tim, you had to deal with a few questions about thinking gays are sinners, not Judas and Pontius Pilate. If your faith and politics are incompatible you are not a persecuted Christian. You are in the wrong party.

Swinson Slaps Down Vince

Does Jo Swinson regret not running for leader and allowing a Vince Cable coronation? Her colleagues certainly do. Following doddery Vince’s not very LibDem claim last week that race and gender are no longer issues in politics, Swinson has issued this slap down. Which is about a subtle as a brick.

Not too late to change your mind, Jo…

Harsh Delivery For Sarah Lol-ney

The cruellest of timing – deposed LibDem Sarah Olney has revealed she received her P45 in the post in the same delivery as a thank-you leaflet from Zac Goldsmith. At least she can laugh about it…

Vince Cable Compares May to Hitler, Says Racism and Sexism ‘Not Issues Any More’

Vince Cable is facing accusations that he is too old, doddery and out of touch with the current Liberal Democrat party to be a successful leader. He has confirmed all three charges in an interview with the New Statesman. First he invoked Godwin’s Law and compared Theresa May to Hitler:

“I thought that particular phrase [‘citizens of nowhere’] was quite evil. It could’ve been taken out of Mein Kampf. I think that’s where it came from, wasn’t it? ‘Rootless cosmopolitans’? It was out of character for her.”

Then he claimed gender and race are longer issues in British politics:

“Gender isn’t an issue any more, rightly so. Thanks to Obama, race isn’t really an issue any more – at least, we hope not. And age shouldn’t be, either. It should be who you are and what you have to say.”

Which is certainly not what most LibDems think. And probably an unwise thing to say for the potential leader of a party which has always struggled in terms of female and ethnic minority MPs. Can’t imagine Swinson making these unforced errors…

Sir Ed Davey Not Standing

LibDems bewildered as to why Sir Edward isn’t running. He says it’s for family reasons. Sir Vince the only candidate…

Public Auditors Blast Ed Davey’s Hinkley Deal

Ed Davey is expected to launch his bid for the LibDem leadership imminently, so it is good timing for the National Audit Office to release their report into his Hinkley Point deal today. Sir Edward was the Energy Secretary pushed though the £18 billion deal and insisted it was good value. The National Audit Office disagrees, this morning calling Hinkley Point “a risky and expensive project” that is “not value for money“. They say the case for the plant is “marginal“. As damning language as it gets…

Even more embarrassingly for Sir Edward, his own party opposes Hinkley Point. LibDem energy spokesman Lynne Featherstone says:

“Failing to call a stop to Hinkley will prove a costly mistake. The opportunity to pull the plug on Hinkley has been missed, and we will all pay for it from our pockets.”

The final humiliation for Davey. Well, depending on how his leadership bid goes…

Lamb Ends Silence: Not Running

Norman Lamb has ended his silence and announced he won’t be running for LibDem leader. Just Cable and Davey left in the running…

Sir Vince Standing at 74

74 year-old Vince Cable has announced he is running for LibDem leader. Ming Campbell was 66 when he was forced out because he was too old…

Tom Brake has suggested that he is out of the running, tweeting: “Thanks for your kind words of support & encouragement, but my focus remains on local issues & serving the people of Carshalton & Wallington”. Cable, Davey and Lamb left. The field narrows…

LibDem Leadership Latest

The bookies’ favourite Jo Swinson has decided not to stand, noting “most blokes in my shoes would run for leader like a shot”. Indeed she has a point, the remaining field is a bunch of boring bald, grey or balding, grey blokes ready to lead the LibDems into mediocrity. 

  • Norman Lamb: The new bookies’ favourite, probably because he has been so loudly taking soundings about whether he should run.
  • Sir Ed Davey: LibDems are increasingly tipping Davey as the most likely next leader. Has a growing online band of supporters sharing stories about how he saved a woman’s life. Wants it badly.
  • Sir Vince Cable: Now the third favourite, Vince’s odds have moved out over the last few days as LibDems look for a younger option. Though his supporters will argue Swinson stepping aside could see him as a two-year caretaker option.
  • Tom Brake: Not grey or bald but human beige. Still hasn’t ruled himself out. Probably should. 

At least Swinson would have been a relative breath of fresh air.

LibDem Leadership Runners and Riders

The LibDems have 12 MPs, and it is entirely possible a third of the parliamentary party could put themselves forwards as leadership candidates to replace Tim Farron. And there will be more knights running than women. Guido brings you your runners and riders…

  • Jo Swinson: The early favourite. Won her seat back in East Dunbartonshire, at 37 her allies say she is the youngest, freshest candidate and more exciting than Vince Cable, who would take the party “from Dad to Grandad“. But are the LibDems ready for a woman leader?
  • Sir Vince Cable: He has always harboured ambitions and his allies say he could be an interim “Brexit leader” who would run the party for two years before stepping aside and allowing Swinson to fight an election. Though Vince has gone a bit funny recently, his Diane Abbott moment during the campaign will not inspire the confidence of members.
  • Sir Ed Davey: No secret he’s always fancied the job, he began scheming against Farron as soon as he won his seat back. His irritable personality isn’t exactly endearing and he was the Energy Secretary who struck the “worst ever” deal for Hinckley Point, and then took a job as a paid lobbyist for a firm representing the successful bidder. Is that really the sort of person the LibDems want?
  • Norman Lamb: Held his seat against the odds and now the bookies make him second favourite to be leader. Last night he told Question Time that he was thinking about running. Seems a more decent bloke than some of the others on this list, though that isn’t hard. Sensible enough to defy Farron and abstain on the Article 50 vote rather than vote against.
  • Tom Brake: Tipped by the Guardian to the amusement of LibDem colleagues. He is known in LibDem circles as “human beige”. Mired in all sorts of murky goings on in his rotten borough of Carshalton. Those local stories would soon go national if he were leader.
  • Alastair Carmichael: Proven liar, but since when has that ever stopped a LibDem? Has ruled himself out.

What a choice…

++ FARRON QUITS ++

Tim Farron is resigning as LibDem leader, “I have found myself torn, living as a faithful Christian and leading a political party in the current environment…” Seems a private commitment to Christian values is incompatible with modern liberal values. How intolerant.

Expect it to be Swinson versus Cable or Davey for next leader…

Farron Coup Underway

There have been murmurings of a leadership challenge against Tim Farron being mooted over the last few days. Now Brian Paddick has resigned citing concerns “about the leader’s views on various issues that were highlighted during GE17”. It ain’t his views on spaniels that’s the problem…

Jo Swinson, who won back East Dunbartonshire last week, is the name doing the rounds as a potential challenger. Will Farron survive the summer?

Farron Loses Top Spinner

Guido understands Tim Farron’s top spinner Paul Butters is leaving. This will be a major loss to the LibDem leader, Butters is a page lead wizard with a journalist’s mind who was single-handedly responsible for getting his boss’ name in the paper over the last couple of years. His instantly recognisable catchphrase “mate” will be missed by Lobby hacks struggling for stories in the Red Lion. This election really was the massacre of the contacts…

CLEGG LOSES HIS SEAT

LibDem Phone Bank Based in Egypt

The LibDems are running a phone canvassing operation from Egypt. Phone bank calls received by London voters originate from a +20 number based in the North African country, more than 3,500 miles from Britain. Popular number tracing site Who-Called.co.uk lists dozens of complaints from voters who have also been contacted by the LibDem Egypt operation:

LibDems rang me on this number…from flipping Egypt!”

“Nine times in five days, haven’t answered any of them.”

“LibDems outsourcing canvassing abroad, jokers if they think I would ever vote for them.”

Remainer Ph-arron embracing global markets…[…] Read the rest

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