Warburton Formally Under Investigation

Commons Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone’s workload has just got a lot bigger, as she announces a formal investigation into David Warburton. The announcement on the parliamentary website spells out the probe will look into the allegations revealed by the Sunday Timesclaiming he took a £100,000 loan from a Russian businessman without declaring it. A claim Gabriel Pogrund correctly predicted could lead to an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards…

“Warburton knew about Joukovski’s past problems with the [Financial Conduct Authority], but took the loan via an offshore entity linked to the businessman’s family trust. He later brought the Russian-born British citizen into the Palace of Westminster and used his parliamentary email address to organise meetings for Joukovski, including one with Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Brexit opportunities secretary, who was a backbencher at the time in 2017. According to a source with direct knowledge of the transaction, Warburton has since repaid the money at high levels of interest.”

The Commissioner’s announcement specifies the investigation will look into “Paid advocacy, Declaration of an interest, and Registration of an interest under Category 3 of the Guide to the Rules [Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources]”.

He joins Sir Keir, David Lammy, Andrew Bridgen and Chris Philp on Stone’s to-do list… 

Hat-tip: James Heale

mdi-timer 22 June 2022 @ 12:48 22 Jun 2022 @ 12:48 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Things Can Only Get Worse for Blackford & SNP

Back in March Ian Blackford was forced to deny resignation rumours, amid claims published by Politico that he was planning to step down because of infighting among the party’s MPs. Now, due to mistakes of his own making, Blackford is actually having to fight for his job. 

On Friday, The Mail published an exclusive that Blackford had been recorded at an SNP MP meeting directing his group of parliamentarians to throw their support behind Patrick Grady, who earlier in the week had been found guilty of sexual harassment and sentenced to two days suspension. The recording heard Blackford say MPs should give him their “absolute full support”. A long way from when he proudly tweeted in 2017 “I am happy to affirm SNP Westminster group will have zero tolerance of unacceptable behaviour”…

The next day The Sun published the recording, in which SNP MPs are heard applauding and saying “hear, hear”, along with interventions from Amy Callaghan and Marion Fellows, a junior whip who worked for Grady. Following the recording leak, the SNP’s Westminster chief whip finally pulled his finger out… and threatened the leaker with legal action.

After all this farce, Guido can confidently say this scandal is not going to abate anytime soon. The complainer at the heart of the Grady investigation told LBC this morning that he’s “considering his options and they include possible legal action.” 

It’s also worth remembering that Patrick Grady is not alone in being accused of sexual impropriety by the victim. Also in attendance at Blackford’s pro-Grady rally, Guido’s told, was one Patricia Gibson, who is herself under investigation by the Commons’ Independent Expert Panel for sexual harassment. Gibson’s currently attempting to appeal the decision against her, dragging the process out. Guido hears the complainant actually reported the Gibson incident to the chief whip the very next day, however he was too busy to deal with it. The chief whip when the incident was reported? Mr Patrick Grady…

Reminder: 1 in 5 SNP MPs Have Quit, Been Sacked, are Under Investigation or Suspended…

UPDATE: SNP MP U-Turns on Patrick Grady Support, Offers Full Apology

mdi-timer 20 June 2022 @ 12:04 20 Jun 2022 @ 12:04 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
SNP MP Patrick Grady Recommended for Two Day Suspension by Independent Expert Panel For Sexual Misconduct

“The Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has today (14 June) published a report recommending that Patrick Grady MP is suspended from the House of Commons for two days for a breach of Parliament’s Sexual Misconduct Policy…

An unwanted physical touching, with sexual intent, from a senior MP to a junior member of staff, even on a single occasion, is a significant breach of the policy. It must be marked by some period of suspension from the House.

The sub-panel took into account Mr Grady’s genuine remorse for his actions, that they were not repeated once rebuffed, and his efforts to address his behaviour since the incident. It therefore recommended Mr Grady be suspended for two sitting days, make a public apology in the House of Commons, and a private one to the complainant.”

Patrick Grady was, until these allegations were made public, the SNP’s Westminster Chief Whip. Reminder: 1 in 5 SNP MPs Has Quit, Been Sacked, Is Under Investigation or Suspended

mdi-timer 14 June 2022 @ 11:12 14 Jun 2022 @ 11:12 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
David Warburton Drops Plans to Return to Parliament

Yesterday’s Tory MP arrest rather distracted the Westminster Village from its previous scandal involving David Warburton. The last update we got was from the Somerset MP himself via his website, bemoaning how difficult and trying a time it has been for him and his family; noting he is unaware as to whether an investigation has been launched; and thanking constituents, friends and fellow MPs for supposed support. It was the line about his plans to return to Parliament that raise eyebrows the most though…

“I look forward to be able to return fully to Parliament when it reconvenes.”

Well, over a week on from the state opening and Guido had been hard-pressed to find any proof of the MP’s return. Repeated requests for comment from his office staff were ignored. Until today, when one pointed out the line about him returning to parliament has been taken out of his website’s update…

That’s one less headache for the whips office at least…

mdi-timer 18 May 2022 @ 14:14 18 May 2022 @ 14:14 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Neil Parish Loses Whip Over Commons Porn Viewing

The hunt is over: Neil Parish, the Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, has lost the whip this afternoon after being revealed as the Commons’ mystery porn viewer. Following conversations with the Whips’ office today, Parish has reported himself to the Standards Committee of the House of Commons for investigation. The Tories had previously referred the claims to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme, so Parish is now under investigation by both bodies…

A spokesperson from the Chief Whip’s office said:

Having spoken to the Chief Whip this afternoon, Neil Parish MP is reporting himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Mr Parish has been suspended from the Conservative Whip pending the outcome of that investigation.”

Just minutes after this revelation, Parish’s Wikipedia biography was changed to “Neil Pornish”, with the website link becoming “www.beanflickers.com”. 

UPDATE: Parish actually appeared on GB News just days ago to discuss this topic. Here’s what he said at the time:

“I think the whips’ office will do a thorough investigation and we will wait and see that result… I think you’ve got some 650 Members of Parliament in what is a very intense area, you are going to get people that step over the line. I don’t think there’s necessarily a huge culture here, but I think it does have to be dealt with, and dealt with seriously. And that’s what the whips will do in our whips’ office.”

Incredible.

mdi-timer 29 April 2022 @ 15:34 29 Apr 2022 @ 15:34 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Labour MP’s Drunken Rant at Tory Over Starmer Lockdown Beer Probe

The pressures of beergate are obviously getting to Labour MPs more than they’d like to admit: Labour MP Mary Foy launched into a furious drunken tirade against Richard Holden in the Strangers’ Bar on Tuesday night, after Holden asked Durham Police to reinvestigate Starmer for his lockdown beer drinking. Which isn’t exactly surprising, given the infamous event took place in Foy’s own constituency office…

Foy allegedly grabbed Holden’s arm and hurled so much abuse at him that her staff had to pull her away. Having had a skinful, she growled “how dare you name me and my office in this?” as apologetic staffers tried to calm her down. A witness told the Daily Mail she was “feeing the pressure”. Guido can’t imagine this morning’s revelations about Angela Rayner will do much to soothe her…

Holden threatened to take the matter to the Speaker unless she apologised the following morning. Lo and behold, on Wednesday morning Holden found “I unreservedly apologise for my behaviour on the terrace last night” in his inbox. Holden tells Guido she then went on to talk about how they could work together as Durham MPs. First Coyle, now Foy. Labour MPs obviously can’t handle their chardonnay…

mdi-timer 29 April 2022 @ 10:11 29 Apr 2022 @ 10:11 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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