Shadow Arts Minister Breaks Commons Rules Over Registering Culture Freebies

Kathryn Stone has finally bowed out as Parliament’s sleaze commissioner, replaced this week by top lawyer Daniel Greenberg. No time for a curtain call though; before she left, Stone handed out one last judgement. Labour’s shadow arts minister Barbara Keeley has been rapped on the knuckles for failing to declare 11 interests within the 28-day deadline…

According to Stone’s probe, which Greenberg published last night, Keeley missed the deadline for three sets of theatre tickets over the summer: first at the Society of London Theatre, and twice at the Royal Opera House. Clearly singing from the same hymn sheet as Sir Keir, who forgot to register football tickets last year…

Keeley was also late to declare eight survey payments, which have now also been updated. In her swansong statement, Stone said:

“I have considered our correspondence, the published rules and guidance, and the advice from the Registrar of Members’ Financial Interests. I consider that by failing 20 to register the eleven financial interests that were the subject of my investigation, within the 28-days required by the House, you breached paragraph 14 of the Code of Conduct for Members.”

Ultimately Stone let Keeley off on the grounds that “there was no deliberate attempt to mislead.” The show must go on…

mdi-timer 10 January 2023 @ 13:16 10 Jan 2023 @ 13:16 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Breakdown of New Pestminster List

Charlotte Nichols, 2019 intake Labour MP for Warrington North, has been making ripples in the press since last November, when she told 5 Live that there is a “whisper network list of the people [in Westminster] to avoid”. In December The Sun on Sunday reported there was a new Pestminster list of MPs circulating, with a Tory MP telling the paper this one – unlike the 2017 spreadsheet – contains individuals from “across all the political parties.” The race was on to find a copy…

Then on January 1st, Nichols found herself once again at the centre of controversy after sharing a sexual harassment list of 20 MPs to a WhatsApp group used by fellow 2019 intake MPs. The Mail on Sunday got the scoop, reporting that Nichols told them she’d shared it to the group by mistake and had since deleted the post, though she “stood by every name”. A senior Labour figure told the paper, “If you believe you have evidence that X, Y or Z is a wrong ‘un, then fair enough. But you can’t just put names out like this.”

Perhaps the senior Labour figure is so concerned by Nichols because unlike the infamous 2017 Pestminster list, this new one of 20 MPs is made up of 40% Labour members.

Guido’s been passed the list, and can confirm the breakdown is 11 Tories, 8 Labour and a single senior SNP frontbencher. While no specific allegations against any of the names are made by Nichols, Chris Pincher is among the names, as is Chris Matheson who recently resigned as the MP for Chester for “unwanted sexual advances” towards a junior member of staff. Six of the names on Nichols’ list were on the 2017 list, all of whom are Tories. 

Guido’s source also revealed that a Lobby political editor is known to be making inquiries into one senior Labour MP named on Nichols’ list, regarding sexual misconduct. Guido’s only surprise is that her list doesn’t contain some more infamous names…

UPDATE:  Guido has now spoken to 2 of the MPs named by Charlotte Nichols, they didn’t know they were on her list and expressed off the record bemusement.

mdi-timer 3 January 2023 @ 11:27 3 Jan 2023 @ 11:27 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Rishi Finally Appoints Independent Advisor on Ministers’ Interests

Rishi has finally got round to appointing an independent adviser on ministers’ interests, with Chairman of Historic England Sir Laurie Magnus getting the unenviable job. Unlike the last Ministerial Code forward, signed off on by Boris, Rishi re-promises to ensure “integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level.” The role has been vacant for six months…

Sir Laurie is an old Etonian who went to Oxford and then became an investment banker, so presumably No. 10 has little to fear in the way of Magnus wanting to come in and shake up the system. He seems fairly sound, previously making headlines when condemning the statue topplers during the 2020 BLM protests.

The lobby will no doubt now resume its campaign to have the independent advisor be able to initiate investigations without the approval of the PM, thereby making an unaccountable advisor the most powerful person in the land. Hopefully Rishi will deal with these calls as he is the strikes – by ignoring them…

mdi-timer 22 December 2022 @ 14:32 22 Dec 2022 @ 14:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tory MP Declared Bankrupt

Tory MP Adam Afriyie has been declared bankrupt in a specialist court. According to PA, a bankruptcy order was made against the gilded Afriyie, MP for Windsor, at an online hearing in the Insolvency and Companies Court today.

Last November, The Guardian revealed that Afriyie was facing bankruptcy proceedings over unpaid taxes. Before Parliament, Afriyie set up IT firm Connect Support Services. It did so well he took a four-storey house in Great College St just by the Palace of Westminster. His firm went into insolvency in 2017 with £1.7 million owed to HMRC. His announcement in the summer that he was stepping down is given added poignancy by this news: bankrupt MPs have to relinquish their seat…

UPDATE: Afriyie has released a statement:

“This has been ongoing for many years following business failures some time ago. I am ultimately responsible for some of the bank borrowing through personal guarantee. I’ve been trying to sell our home and downsize for some time, but it’s a tough market.

“It is a stressful time and it’ll be tough for a while, but I’m far from the only person in a difficult position, and I will continue to do my best to support my constituents until the next general election when I’ll be standing down.”

mdi-timer 13 December 2022 @ 11:58 13 Dec 2022 @ 11:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Independent MP Bloc Overtakes LibDems

The suspension of Julian Knight and Conor McGinn last night saw the number of independent MPs swell to 15, thus seeing the size of their rank overtake that of the LibDems. Even despite their smattering of by-election victories since the 2019 election…

Guido’s happy to provide a comparison list, with details of relevant misdemeanours…

  1. Nick Brown (ex-Labour) – Ex-chief whip suspended over an investigation into a complaint against him
  2. Jeremy Corbyn (ex-Labour) – Suspended for his reaction to the EHRC report into antisemitism within Labour, in which he defended his leadership by saying “the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated”
  3. Jonathan Edwards (ex-Plaid) – Suspended in 2020 after arrest on suspicion of assault. Whip restored in August however Edwards said he wouldn’t be re-joining the Plaid group in Westminster
  4. Patrick Grady (ex-SNP) – Suspended in June 2022 after being found to have made an ‘unwanted sexual advance’ towards a teenager at a social gathering in 2016
  5. Rupa Huq (ex-Labour) – Suspended after Guido published audio footage of her calling Kwasi Kwarteng “superficially black” at Labour’s 2022 conference.
  6. Chris Pincher (ex-Conservative) – Suspended after being reported to the independent complaints and grievance scheme after allegedly groping two men while drunk at the Carlton Club
  7. Rob Roberts (ex-Conservative) – Suspended after Commons complaints panel found he broke sexual misconduct policy, following revelations by Guido of repeated and unwanted sexual advances towards a male former member of staff
  8. Claudia Webbe (ex-Labour) – Suspended after being charged with harassment of a woman over a period of nearly two years
  9. Neil Coyle (ex-Labour) – Suspended after making Sinophobic comments to a journalist while drunk in Strangers Bar
  10. Margaret Ferrier (ex-SNP) – Suspended in 2020 after allegations emerged she’d travelled from Scotland to London despite having Covid symptoms, and then back to Scotland after testing positive
  11. Matt Hancock (ex-Conservative) – Suspended for going on I’m A Celebrity
  12. Conor McGinn (ex-Labour) – Suspended after a complaint was lodged against him under the party’s complaints process
  13. Christina Rees (ex-Labour) – Suspended over alleged bullying of constituency staff
  14. David Warburton (ex-Conservative) – Whip withdrawn after a series of allegations related to sexual harassment and cocaine use
  15. Julian Knight (ex-Conservative) – Whip removed after a complaint about him was made to the Met Police 

  1. Sarah Olney
  2. Alistair Carmichael
  3. Daisy Cooper
  4. Jamie Stone
  5. Wera Hobhouse
  6. Ed Davey
  7. Wendy Chamberlain
  8. Helen Morgan
  9. Layla Moran
  10. Tim Farron
  11. Sarah Green
  12. Christine Jardine
  13. Munira Wilson
  14. Richard Foord
mdi-timer 8 December 2022 @ 12:41 8 Dec 2022 @ 12:41 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Sermonising Bryant Peddles More Pious Piffle

Chris Bryant is giving a speech at the University of Westminster this evening on “truth, honesty and integrity.” In full, the ‘Civility in Politics 2022’ winner will talk on:

  • The importance of truth, honesty and integrity in public office and in news reporting
  • The role of algorithms in filtering news & their distorting effect on the truth
  • How news providers stir up hatred and drive divisive agendas to generate clicks and the advertising revenue which follows
  • Why it is essential that news publishers are bound by robust standards on accuracy – the integrity of our democracy relies on it

Chris Bryant should pause the pontificating until he spends some time on introspection…

Since Bryant won the civility in politics award – the irony of which Guido detailed here – he’s not stopped putting his foot in it.

A month after winning it he was forced to apologise for false claims he’d made in Parliament, the outcome of an unprecedented legal challenge that saw his parliamentary privilege come unstuck. Not just a minor false allegation – accusing Christopher Chandler of money laundering and being a Russian spy…

As Chris lectures students on how “news providers stir up hatred and drive divisive agendas”, he may want to think about his description of Liz Truss’s new batch of ministers:

“It feels like pretty much anyone with a brain, a conscience and a work ethic has been purged from government either by Johnson or Truss. It’s an empty vessel of a government – loud, noisy but dangerously vacuous.”

When he turns to “the importance of truth, honesty and integrity in public office”, he will surely mention his recent smearing of Tory MPs by falsely claiming – on the floor of the House – he had witnessed bullying in the voting lobbies the night of the fracking vote. He is yet to correct the record…

On the topic of calling on news publishers to be “bound by robust standards on accuracy”, he may choose to mention how even the BBC managed to show him up when he accused them of failing to mention Kate Andrews “is part of the [IEA]” when she appeared on Question Time last month. Of course she isn’t, and he didn’t back down when this inaccurate bullying of a female columnist was called out…

Anyone wanting to watch the speech can reserve a spot here. Guido, for one, will be giving it a miss…

mdi-timer 6 December 2022 @ 11:32 6 Dec 2022 @ 11:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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