Named and Shamed: MPs Refusing to Pay Back Debts to Taxpayer

snouts

The expenses watchdog has decided not to pursue the recovery of debts owed by 26 shameless MPs, who owe the taxpayer amounts up to £500 but are refusing to pay up. The cost of recovering the debts means it is “not cost-effective” to force the MPs to pay the money back, though IPSA insist: “All MPs have been contacted several times about these outstanding sums”. These are the names of the piggies cheating the taxpayer…

Charles Hendry

Chris Skidmore

Clive Efford

Daniel Poulter

Frank Dobson

Frank Roy

Guy Opperman

Ian Mearns

Joe Benton

Julie Hilling

Khalid Mahmood

Laurence Robertson

Michael Meacher

Paul Farrelly

Peter Bone

Sian James

Stephen Barclay

Stephen McCabe

Stephen Williams

Stewart Jackson

Tim Yeo

Tobias Ellwood

Guido would like to buy their debts. And send round the heavies…

UPDATE: Caroline Dinenage says she was on the list erroneously and has receoved an apology from IPSA, though Guido hasn’t seen it.

UPDATE II: David Mowat gets in touch: “The bill was in respect of a £35 invoice (to the information commissioner) which was correctly claimed. IPSA have removed me from their list and apologised for their error.” IPSA would have more credibility if they got things like this right…

UPDATE III: Barry Gardiner was also falsely accused by IPSA.

UPDATE IV: Sources close to Edward Timpson get in touch to say he has also received an apology from IPSA. They have had a ‘mare…

Hain Gravy Train Hypocrisy

On 3 November 2014, not even twelve months ago, Peter Hain told his constituents he believed the second chamber should be elected:

“The Lords are an archaic anomaly which fuels disillusionment with British politics. It exists purely on a democratic deficit which has been allowed to evolve unchecked for centuries… the fact is that people are fed up with an out-of-touch political class and the growing sense that Westminster is failing us all.”

Yesterday, he became Lord Hain of Neath, writing in the Guardian that “it wasn’t an easy decision“, it had required “considerable thought“, but he concluded that “more peers in favour of reform are crucially important“.

What was it about the £300-a-day attendance allowance that changed his mind?

Shameless LibDems Bung Honours to More Donors

nick clegg sad

Next time the LibDems tell us how the House of Lords is an antiquated, corrupt body that needs reform, remember who they chose to give honours to today:

Duncan Greenland CBE: Has donated a total of £316,858.95 to the LibDems since 2004, £31,000 of which went to Clegg’s constituency.

Richard Duncalf OBE: Donated £216,000 to the party since 2007, including an individual £10,000 donation to Clegg.

Sir Anthony Ullman: Given the party £108,000 in total, including £30,000 directly to Clegg four days before he visited Ullmann’s firm in 2013.

Ian Wright CBE: Given £32,807.79 in addition to £9,000 to Clegg directly.

It stinks.

Moat Cleaning Expenses Scandal MP Awarded Peerage

Douglas Hogg, the disgraced Tory minister who infamously had his moat cleaned on expenses, has been made a Lord. Hogg charged the taxpayer for having his moat cleared, piano tuned and stable lights fixed at his country manor house. He’ll fit in well in our second chamber.

Other upstanding names on the list include Peter Hain, who had to resign and faced a police investigation after he failed to declare 20 donations to his deputy leadership campaign worth a total of over £100,000.

Also there is bonking David Blunkett and a very long list of Downing Street SpAds.

A proud day for parliament…

Yentob Demands “Congratulations” as Lurid Rumours Swirl

On Wednesday the BBC’s spin arm briefed Media Guardian that its creative director Alan Yentob had not tried to influence Newsnight’s investigation into scandal-hit Kids Company, of which he is chairman. Yet on Channel 4 News last night, Yentob admitted he did phone Newsnight staff before the programme aired. He still insists “I don’t think I’ve abused my position in any way”.

In a bizarre interview, a heated Yentob said of sexual abuse allegations at Kids Company: “I don’t believe them for one minute”. He then weirdly demanded Matt Frei congratulate him for his role in running a charity which has now collapsed in disgrace:

“Why don’t you say to me, congratulations Alan?”

Judging by this tweet from the Mail’s media editor…

… it must have been a very long day…

End of an Era…

End of an error, more like…

Cooper and Watson Backer Under Investigation For ‘Undue Spiritual Influence’

Regular readers will remember Guido’s pre-election stories about Labour’s sex segregation rallies, organised in Birmingham by Labour councillor Ansar Ali Khan. The sinister gatherings allegedly involved British Muslims being ordered to vote Labour by religious leaders. Labour kept very quiet about it at the time.

Following our story, Khan is now under investigation for ‘undue spiritual influence’. His LibDem opponent Shamsur Rehman has filed an election petition to the High Court:

“I have launched this campaign to clean up local politics in Birmingham from spiritual, foreign or biraderi (Kashmiri clan) influence. The people of Washwood Heath deserve better even if they don’t know it yet. This is a matter of public importance, my purpose is to clean up politics in this city.”

The petition claims:

“It is alleged the respondent channels public money and projects to his existing supporters or predominantly the Kashmiri Muslim community to the exclusion of other communities in Washwood Heath.”

He’s backing Watson and Cooper, for the record.

Lord Sewel Full Statement Text

LORD-COKE

Lord Sewel has this morning contacted the Clerk of the Parliaments indicating his intention to terminate his Membership of the House of Lords with immediate effect. In his correspondence to the Clerk Lord Sewel issued the following statement:

“I have today written to the Clerk of the Parliaments terminating my membership of the House of Lords. The question of whether my behaviour breached the Code of Conduct is important, but essentially technical. The bigger questions are whether my behaviour is compatible with membership of the House of Lords and whether my continued membership would damage and undermine public confidence in the House of Lords. I believe the answer to both these questions means that I can best serve the House by leaving it. “As a subordinate, second chamber the House of Lords is an effective, vital but undervalued part of our political system. I hope my decision will limit and help repair the damage I have done to an institution I hold dear. Finally, I want to apologise for the pain and embarrassment I have caused.”

The Sun reveals this morning that he’s blown £12,000 on sex parties with hookers over the last three years…

Bercow’s £172 Expenses Bill to Drive 0.7 Miles

MPs have been getting it in the neck this week for 9p mileage claims, but this is something to really get peeved about. Some top digging by Press Association has found John Bercow billed the taxpayer £172 to be chauffeur-driven to a conference at Carlton House Terrace, just 0.7 miles from parliament. And that’s not all:

  • Bercow used an official car to travel to Canterbury to see Justin Welby enthroned in 2013 – at a cost of £524
  • He travelled 1.5 miles to dinner at the Dorchester Hotel, billing £144
  • Somehow managed to blow £168 travelling from King’s Cross to Speaker’s House
  • Billed £367 to be driven to the University of Bedfordshire, where he gave a lecture on reforming parliament and warn about the consequences of the expenses scandal
  • Kept a chauffeur-driven car waiting while he attended a memorial service for Malcolm Wicks in Croydon, costing £289 for five hours

He is the “reforming Speaker”…

Keith Vaz Fingered For £100 Claim

It’s been a busy week for Keith Vaz, first accused of abusing his position and now embroiled in another mysterious scandal over his election expenses. His local paper report that Vaz spent £100 to use the premises on Uppingham Road, Leicester – his own taxpayer-funded constituency office. Vaz’s election agent Piara Singh Clair explains: “we did it because we needed a room and it would have been expensive to hire another one. It was a nominal sum”, bizarrely adding that no money had actually changed hands despite it being declared as an expense. If no money was actually spent, why was it falsely declared to the Electoral Commission? Curiouser and curiouser…

‘Paedo’ MP’s Late Night Toilet Lurking

A youthful male parliamentary source gets in touch with a strange tale about the MP at the centre of Sunday’s paedophile allegations:

“He is always weird in the toilets. His office is surrounded by Tory MPs’ offices and their male researchers.

Several days each week he goes into the loo on [LOCATION REDACTED] to put on his aftershave.

He has said “hello young man” to me in there at least twice.

Once my mate was in there late at night and [NAME REDACTED] said to him “Now aren’t you a good boy for staying late”.

If I wasn’t a 6ft guy, I might have felt a bit intimidated at [NAME REDACTED] saying “hello young man” to me whilst entering the toilet. I was leaving as he came in so we were pretty close. This happened twice.”

Dark.

Sepp Blatter Money Shot

What an image:

Mystery of EU’s £250,000 Belgium ‘Aid’ Bung

The sinister sounding European Development Fund is the EU’s aid arm, splurging €22.7 billion a year on “aid for development cooperation in Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific countries”. Or so they claim.

Analysis by the Taxpayers’ Alliance reveals that the fund approved three “grants” of €198,464, €86,860 and €45,873 to that deeply deprived third world country… Belgium.

What’s more, the three Belgian aid projects, totalling almost a quarter of a million Euros, are categorised as “confidential”. The fund refuses to disclose any further information about what the money was spent on.

It’s all a bit Sepp Blatter…

Brooks ‘Likes’ Another Mystery Social Media Blonde

You would have thought old Brooks Newmark would have learned his lesson about mysterious blondes on social media. So it’s a little surprising to see what he has been up to on LinkedIn:

“If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude” says Brooks’ seductive model friend. Indeed…

Tight Tory’s £4.50 Remembrance Expenses Shocker

Earlier this year, Guido revealed Labour MP Sarah Champion’s £17 expenses claim for a poppy wreath.

Then top Miliband aide John Cruddas was caught putting funeral flowers on the taxpayers’ tab.

Now the Tories are at it too.

Wealthy Stephen Hammond rakes in £67,000 a year as the MP for Wimbledon. He also owns a luxury £500,000 second home in Portugal, complete with a swimming pool.

That didn’t stop the rotund miser from filing a £4.50 expenses claim on Remembrance Sunday last year for “mileage” to drive, in his own car, to “two Remembrance services” within his constituency.

This is what greedy Hammond said about MPs’ pay in the last parliament:

“An MP salary should be linked to a public sector job of similar responsibility such as a GP. Official figures I have been shown put the average salary for a GP at over £105,000.”

At least then maybe he’d be able to find the cash to honour our heroes from his own pocket.

Police Investigate Sexy Shower Scene MP

It’s been a busy first few weeks for new Plymouth MP Johnny Mercer. First he put his wife on the public payroll, then hit the headlines for lathering up topless in a shower gel advert, and now he is under investigation by the police. That escalated quickly.

The preened poser has lawyered up after bitter opponents called the cops in over his election expenditure. Mercer mysteriously told supporters he needed “some manpower, and a decent dose of Commando Spirit” on “the night-time of 6/7 May”.

The next day, polling day, his defeated Labour opponent Alison Seabeck claims she “suddenly woke up with every bridge and every lamppost covered in posters and fliers”, claiming this “does influence people significantly and it is improper”.

Mercer himself paid for the £1,642 clean up out of his own pocket and insists:

“I am confident I haven’t broken the law and this allegation is being dealt with by my lawyers.”

Well, he looked clean in the advert…

Tory MP’s House Husband Subsidised By Taxpayer

ansell

Continuing Guido’s series of troughing new MPs who are already employing family members on the public payroll, meet the new Tory MP for Eastbourne.

At her selection, Caroline Ansell revealed that her husband Nick would be giving up his full time job as a teacher if she was elected as an MP to look after their three boys.

A noble commitment. 

Yet, just two months since she came to Westminster, Caroline has declared:

“I employ my husband, Nicholas Ansell, as a full time Personal Assistant.”

Guido asked Caroline why the change of heart, but alas she declined the opportunity to comment. Only a cynic would suggest that Nick’s role as a house husband was being subsidised by the taxpayer…

IDS Should Face Benefit Sanctions

welfare

Awkward, via PA:

Iain Duncan Smith had his official credit card suspended after running up more than £1,000 in expenses debts, it can be revealed.

The Work and Pensions Secretary was among more a dozen MPs subject to action by the Commons watchdog after failing to show spending was valid.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) issues MPs with credit cards for to pay for items such as travel and accommodation.

The politicians then have to prove the spending was genuine by the end of the month, or they build up debts to the watchdog.

What would the DWP have to say about such a flagrant breach of the rules?

  • 3 categories of sanction – ‘higher’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘lower’ – depending on the nature of the offence

Seems pretty serious: Higher.

  • different levels of sanction for first, second and third offences

Hardly the first time that the words ‘IDS’ and ‘expenses’ have been heard in the same sentence…

Certainly a case for suspending hand outs.

UPDATE: Team IDS get in touch:

“Iain has not had his card suspended. IPSA have confirmed twice in writing that this issue was an error on their part. To be clear no money is owed”

Yet IPSA still insist the credit card was switched off and that they stand by their original claim entirely. So who’s telling the truth?

New MP Puts Secretary He’s Shagging on Highest Pay Grade

Yesterday Guido revealed the roll call of shame of new MPs boarding the gravy train by giving cushy jobs to family members.

Most impressive of the bunch is Gerald Jones, top left, the new Labour Honourable Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.

Gerald is not even two months into the job and he has already found his new Senior Parliamentary Assistant: his partner, Tyrone Powell, top right.

That job title means lucky Tyrone goes straight into the highest pay grade available, potentially taking home £43,272 of taxpayer cash a year.

He must have plenty of parliamentary experience…

New MPs Already Have Their Snouts in the Trough

They have barely been in their jobs for eight weeks, but our new Honourable Members are already learning how to milk the system.

In addition to their imminent public sector pay freeze-busting 10% pay rise, these new MPs have already begun to employ family members on their taxpayer-funded parliamentary expenses.[…] Read the rest

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