Slippery Vaz Gets Off Again

The police have dropped their investigation into Keith Vaz after he was caught on camera offering to buy cocaine for rent boys. This particular police investigation was always at the mild end of Vaz’s sleazy private life…

Baroness Scotland Refuses to Answer Questions at Anti-Corruption Lecture

Baroness Scotland refused to answer questions about her conduct as she delivered Transparency International’s annual anti-corruption lecture last night. The organisers had said Scotland would address her expenses scandal, telling guests it was the “ideal opportunity for her to respond directly to those claims, as well as allowing members of the public and press to raise any questions they may wish to ask”. Alas, Baroness Scotland told an unimpressed audience she was “unable” to answer questions on the scandal because the press regulator is investigating. There is no reason an IPSO investigation means she cannot answer questions, the Baroness is stretching the truth once again…

Scotland did tell the room that corruption “is a scourge which holds in thrall millions of our Commonwealth sisters and brothers… the Commonwealth will.. eliminate the scourge of corruption from institutions of governance and public life at every level”We know where to start…

Full “Confidential” Bung Claims By Green Party Chair

This is the full 30 page report written by Kingston Green Party chair Ryan Coley alleging the party was offered a £250,000 bung to stand aside in Richmond. Coley has confirmed to Guido that he co-wrote the report. A lot of questions for the Greens to answer here…

UPDATE: At some point tonight the Green Party put in a copyright complaint to our previous host – this from the party that prides itself on transparency – so it is now hosted elsewhere and will be available by email to anyone who wants it (team@order-order.com) if we have any other problems. Bear in mind that they originally said they denied all knowledge of it – now they claim copyright.

Full PDF download here.

Green Party ‘Offered £250,000 Bung Not to Stand in Richmond’

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The Green Party was offered a £250,000 inducement not to stand a candidate against the LibDems in Richmond, according to the chairman of the local Greens. Ryan Coley, the Kingston Green Party chair, claims his members were pressured by party officials not to run a candidate because the party had been offered £250,000 conditional on standing aside for the LibDems. Guido has obtained an internal report written by the local chairman and members Clare Keogh and Kieron Merrett. They complain “party staff added pressure” on them, “telling us that there was an offer of a large donation to the party which was conditional on the party demonstrating its desire for a progressive alliance”. They allege the offer amounted to £250,000 and the order to stand aside came “on the instruction of the Chief Executive“.

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The report says the offer failed the party’s donation scrutiny procedures and the donation did not go through. After Guido put the allegations to the Green Party they confirmed they would investigate. A Green Party spokesman does not deny the offer of the bung:

“This is an unofficial report from a handful of members of Kingston Green Party and is not officially recognised by either the national Green Party or the local party in question. Many of the claims are disputed and this report has been referred to the Green Party Regional Council and will be looked into as soon as possible.” 

This is a bombshell allegation – not denied by the Greens – that a wealthy donor offered them cash to stand aside for the Remain cause. Local Greens are furious with Caroline Lucas and Jon Bartley over this…

UPDATE: The Greens have a carefully worded new line:

“The Green Party has not accepted any donations connected with the Richmond Park by-election and no donation offer was made on the basis that the Party choose not to field a candidate. Any donation accepted by the Green Party must meet strict ethical criteria and that includes the donation not being used to gain leverage over strategic decisions.”

Guido has asked them if an offer was made in relation to the ‘Progressive Alliance’, as the local chair claims, and why party officials told the local party such an offer existed. They have declined to answer…

Brooks Newmark Back Helping Women2Win

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One of the main reasons Brooks Newmark’s sexting was so inappropriate is that he co-founded the Women2Win group helping young women get involved in politics. Newmark invited our Sophie to a Women2Win event – he was abusing his position in the group to meet young Tory women. Well, Women2Win have welcomed Brooks back into the fold, there he is in the photo above holding a Women2Win placard while campaigning for the Tory candidate in the Sleaford by-election. Alongside a bevy of young Tory women. Have to wonder if this is responsible from those now running Women2Win…

DfID Slams “Poorest Performer” Baroness Scotland

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The Department for International Development has delivered a scathing assessment of Baroness Scotland, labelling her Commonwealth Secretariat one of the “poorest performers” when it comes to spending taxpayers’ money. A new DfID report out today has found “the Commonwealth Secretariat continues to underperform” and that “improvement is essential if DFID is to continue to fund the organisation”. The report warns “the Secretariat requires urgent organisational reform” in terms of “transparency” and “human resource management”, slamming Scotland’s department for its poor “financial management and budget discipline”. The Commonwealth Secretariat scored a mark of 2 out of 5 on transparency, accountability and value. This could not be a more damning indictment of Baroness Scotland’s exorbitant spending and lack of accountability…

Baroness Scotland to Deliver Anti-Corruption Lecture

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Who have Transparency International decided is the best person to deliver their “Annual Anti-Corruption Lecture” next week? Baroness Scotland will be giving the talk, discussing how important it is “to champion integrity, increase public awareness on the adverse impact of corruption, and promote appreciation of how important it is that the UK acknowledges the pressing need to tackle corruption within its own borders”. Transparency International admit it’s a slightly odd choice given the Baroness has been mired in a sleaze scandal of her own. They say:

“We are aware that since then a number of allegations have been made against Baroness Scotland and our Annual Lecture will provide the ideal opportunity for her to respond directly to those claims, as well as allowing members of the public and press to raise any questions they may wish to ask.”

Starting with that £307 toilet seat, those phantom school fees and her £90,000 crony contract

Vaz Dodges National Crime Agency Meeting

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Since Keith Vaz’s appointment to the Criminal Finance Bill committee this week it has sat twice, on Tuesday and today. For some reason – to the great disappointment of hacks – Vaz has absented himself from both sessions. Guido can give readers some background as to why that might be…

Guido understands Labour whips have been told that not only is Vaz now under investigation by Scotland Yard, they have been made aware that four files regarding Vaz have been passed to the National Crime Agency. Given that the Bill committee has been taking evidence from the National Crime Agency, it would clearly be completely inappropriate for Vaz to attend this committee. If Vaz had attended he would either have to recuse himself or declare his interest. Rather than face the embarrassment, slippery Vaz has unofficially recused himself by not showing up…

Vaz to Scrutinise Unexplained Wealth Laws

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Today’s Sun reports Keith Vaz has been appointed a member of the Criminal Finance Bill committee despite being under active police investigation. As Guido reported last month, Vaz’s role will include helping to scrutinise new plans to strengthen so-called Unexplained Wealth Orders, anti-corruption laws where assets can be seized if owners are unable to explain how they were funded.[…] Read the rest

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Baroness Scotland’s New Loo Seat Cost £307

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Baroness Scotland charged the taxpayer £307 for a new loo seat in a bathroom in her Mayfair home which cost £24,000 to refurbish. She has also admitted spending thousands to paint six rooms with top-of-the-range Farrow & Ball paint, despite previously dismissing reports as “outright lies, half-truths and innuendo”.[…] Read the rest

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Guy News Visits Baroness Scotland’s Mayfair Mansion

During her Today programme interview last week, Baroness Scotland invited listeners into her Mayfair home to show she was telling the truth that there is “no extravagance”. Guy News took her up on her offer…[…] Read the rest

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PM Demands Answers From Baroness Scotland

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Theresa May has broken her silence on Baroness Scotland, demanding answers and insisting the Commonwealth Secretariat needs “reform”. The PM has said during her trip to India:

“The UK is a strong supporter of the Commonwealth – we believe as an organisation it has a role to play in dealing with shared challenges around the world such as human rights.

[…] Read the rest

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Antiguan PM: Baroness Scotland Has Brought Shame on Commonwealth

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The Prime Minister of Antigua has launched a devastating attack on Baroness Scotland for bringing “shame” on the Commonwealth. A report in the Antigua Observer says PM Gaston Browne has slammed Scotland’s extravagant spending as an “embarrassment for the Caribbean”.[…] Read the rest

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Baroness Scotland Does Not Deny Claiming Phantom School Fees

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Baroness Scotland does not deny claiming a taxpayer-funded school fees allowance for her adult children. The astonishing claim was made by a senior Commonwealth official in an internal complaint about Baroness Scotland’s “revised salary package”. According to Ram Venuprasad’s complaint, published below, Baroness Scotland demanded she was paid an “educational allowance” for her children.[…] Read the rest

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Guy News Special: Baroness Scotland’s Spending Spin

Baroness Scotland’s case for the defence during her Today programme interview this morning was essentially: Extravagance? What extravagance? Does that defence stand up to scrutiny? Guy News takes a look…[…] Read the rest

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Baroness Scotland Speaks: Extravagance? What Extravagance?

Baroness Scotland has surfaced on the Today programme where she insisted “there has been no extravagance at all” in her spending since she became Commonwealth Secretary General.

Scotland said it is “untrue” she demanded £4,000 for a mirror-lined cupboard.[…] Read the rest

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