Archive for the ‘MPs' expenses’ Category

Moran told to quit or the bay tree gets it

10 August 2009

Luton Today reports that comedian and political activist Mark Thomas kidnapped Margaret Moran’s £50 bay tree, paid for by the taxpayer.  He said:

“Instead of clinging to office for the sake of your salary and pension, for the sake of democracy you must stand down. You have until 7.58pm on Sunday, August 2, 2009 to resign or your bay tree will pay the price.”

Watch the tree decapitation (about 57 minutes into the video).

LT continues:

But with no resignation forthcoming, the bay tree met its fate on the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square. A friend of the comedian who had signed up to take part in the art exhibit, where members of the public can stand for an hour, climbed onto the plinth with the tree and a sign urging the MP to stand down.

With the Ms Moran unwilling to negotiate the tree was unceremoniously chopped in two and its head thrown into the watching crowd.

But in the end the tree did benefit the public who had paid for it – its leaves were used to flavour a giant batch of minestrone soup served up at a nearby bar.

A spokesman for the MP said she was aware of the theft but had not reported it to the police.


MPs and Police above the law

10 August 2009

It was this Conservative election poster from half a century ago that predicted life under Labour; prodnoses intruding at every opportunity.

1,183 Met Police employees committed fraud against the taxpayer by abusing their American Express cards and the response from Senior officers was? Why, they “were so overwhelmed by the number of cases” that they decided not to punish the offenders. Instead, the police fraudsters would be given “training and guidance”.*

And we have yet to hear of any prosecutions of fraudster MPs by the Met. What a cosy relationship they must have.

Meanwhile, every 60 seconds, an innocent member of the public is being clandestinely spied upon by snooping bureaucrats for suspected ‘crimes’ as petty as dropping litter – under anti-terrorism law, RIPA. The next government should put a stop to these outrageous intrusions into our privacy.

The government and the police get away scott free with proven fraud, while we suffer at their hands for the pettiest of ‘offences’.

Nobody should be above the law. If lawmakers were subject to the laws that they draft, they’d doubtless draft them a tad more carefully.

Hat tip to Raedwald for the poster.

Of these cases, 50 were passed to independent investigators. Three officers have since been convicted of criminal offences and two more await trial.

Jenny Jones, of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said training and guidance is “not enough” and some disciplinary action should be taken. She said: “I find it unacceptable that the police have just let these officers go with guidance. They must have known what they were doing was wrong.”

Help to prosecute Jackboot Smith for fraud

15 July 2009

The police and CPS have refused to prosecute Jackboot Smith for fraud, theft or anything else, despite the fact that most of us consider her to be guilty.

We’ll have to take matters into our own hands.

The Mail reported today that the Home Office mole, Chris Galley, who was ousted by Jackboot for Home Office leaks, will be leading the charge. Together with the Sunlight Centre, he has amassed resources to bring a court action against her – evidence, lawyers, etc. – but needs more than £100,000 to make it happen.

Guido Fawkes has donated £5,000. Every donation will help – no matter how small.

Please donate to the Sunlight Cops.

Labour MPs threaten to quit, triggering by-elections

12 July 2009

MPs are in a lather over an ultimatum issued by the discredited, barely competent Fees Office.

Andrew Walker, the ‘lazy’ head of the Fees Office, ordered MPs to provide written evidence of their second home payments, including:

  • the terms of their mortgage agreements
  • a statement that the mortgage payments are for the interest, only
  • a statement that the amounts claimed are accurate.

Should they not comply by the end of July, their allowances would be terminated by the end of August.

Trust in the Fees Office is very low and MPs are furious that they are required to take this action when many of them retard the Fees Office as being the cause of the scandal.

According to one, unnamed MP: “There is total mistrust with this office. They ask us to lodge documents with them and they clearly haven’t got the competence to look after them. The place leaks like a sieve.”

According to the Mail, “one senior Labour MP confirmed that some colleagues were contemplating resigning  and forcing by-elections over the ultimatum.”

Happy days! Go for it. You’ll be doing all of us a favour!

MPs’ Expenses – dynamic, filterable map

3 July 2009

The Telegraph has launched an awesome, dynamic Visokio data visualisation tool on MPs’ expenses.

All 646 MPs are mapped to their constituencies, colour-coded by party and can be filtered by region, party, customisable majority, amount claimed in rent/mortgage and cleaning/laundry.

The scatter chart shows the clustering of the size of their expenses claims – again, colour-coded by party. From this, it can clearly be seen that the Conservatives tended to have lower claims than Labour or the LibDems, Labour tending to have the biggest claims of all the parties.

The “majority” slider seems to poke a hole in the notion that safe seats breed a laissez-faire attitude, although a thorough statistical analysis would be needed for a more accurate assessment.

The PR middleman, the Barclay brothers and the expenses scandal

24 June 2009

Henry Gewanter, interviewed on Newsnight last night, is the middleman who was asked to field the MPs’ expenses data to news outlets, with strict conditions attached.

The newspapers were to publish the expenses of members of all parties but not to expose the identity of the source, even under threat of legal action.

Most of the newspapers approached were eager to obtain the data but sought to impose conditions that were unacceptable to Gewenter and the leak’s source. One paper wanted to use the data to destroy the Labour Party (if only) – a detail that has not been reported in British newspapers.

Gewanter said: “This was clearly the biggest exclusive that any journalist on any newspaper I’ve ever talked to would ever get,” Mr. Gewanter said. “And yet I still had to go to more than one newspaper. I was amazed at the lack of vision.”

Nadine Dorries postulated that neither Labour nor the Conservatives were sufficiently eurosceptic for the Barclay brothers who had a hidden agenda in publishing the expenses data. She wrote on her blog that the Telegraph “set upon a deliberate course to destabilize Parliament” by making members of both parties look bad, with the aim of benefiting far-right groups that want Britain to pull out of the EU”.

The Barclays’ lawyers are alleged to have demanded a retraction, causing Nadine to take her blog offline temporarily while she removed from it the offending bits. The lawyers described Nadine’s allegations as “absolutely untrue and highly libelous.”

Whether or not the allegations are true, the Telegraph has done the country a great service, allowing the scandal to flush out the troughers and herald a new dawn in politics. Potentially.

It remains to be seen whether or not Speaker Bercow will push for the needed changes and whether or not MPs, the ultimate deciders, will sanction such changes.

Their judgment of late has been little short of dire, so I don’t expect anything but the most superficial changes – and then, business as usual … until the next election, when we pass our judgment on them.

The island of Sark,
home of the Barclay Brothers.

John Rentoul tries to dig Labour out of its own hole

21 June 2009

In the Independent, John Rentoul tries to paint the Tories as being more wicked than Labour regarding the expenses scandal, when in fact it is the other way round.

He says:

In the haste shown by both parties to set up procedures to judge the misdemeanours and hold back the tide of mob justice, mistakes have been made. But there seems to be a larger, systemic injustice, which is that those treated harshly tend to be Labour. Yes, I know many Tory MPs feel hard done-by. Last week, they circulated a letter accusing David Cameron of “Stalinism” – one of the least wounding insults in politics, fixated as it is with the idea of strong leadership. But the striking difference is between Blears and Ussher on one hand and Osborne on the other. There is, of course, one other difference, which is that the sums of money involved on the Tory side are much larger – according to the Daily Mail, Osborne made a £748,000 profit from the sale of his London house three years ago.

It may be only by his speed and decisiveness that Cameron has headed off awkward questions about why Tory MPs, including him, have done so well out of taxpayer-funded property investment. As the Government, Labour is obviously more exposed, but Gordon Brown’s clumsiness has made it worse for his side.

Firstly, we have no way of knowing whether the accusatory letter was even sent by a Tory. As far as we know, it could have been sent by the likes of McBride. He has form.

Secondly, There were more Labour MPs who ‘suffered’ than Tory, simply because more Labour MPs transgressed! And their crimes were of a greater magnitude.

Why is Alistair Darling not facing sanction, when he was guilty of the worst of the offenses – flipping in order to maximise his monthly income, and to avoid paying inheritance tax? Why should such a man be in the Cabinet, let alone in charge of the country’s finances, if he can’t be trusted with his own expenses? He should have been axed!

Making a profit on the sale of your property is not a crime. Were it a crime, why have we not seen the likes of Hoon prosecuted? He, after all, made a fortune, financed by the public.

Gordon Brown was at the heart of creating this expenses fiasco in the first place – do you not recall that he was the worst Chancellor ever, before he became the worst Prime Minister in British history?

Take off your rose-tinted spectacles Rentoul. We’ve all had ours torn off with a vengeance, years ago.

Make no mistake – Brown will be the ruination of the Labour Party. He destroys everything he touches. And he won’t go unless he is prized out of No. 10 with a crowbar, even if it destroys the Labour party and Britain.

MPs’ expenses: differences between raw and unredacted versions

20 June 2009

The Telegraph’s Ben Brogan takes you through three examples of raw and unredacted versions of MPs’ expenses to show how the Commons’ version entirely fails to highlight the serious abuses of the system perpetrated by MPs.

Update: See 25 further examples of abuses you wouldn’t have known about had they not been published by the Telegraph.

Today’s top articles and blogs

19 June 2009

On Sunday, the Telegraph plans to publish full details of all MPs’ expenses and correspondence with the Fees Office, only blanking out telephone numbers and bank details. Next week, it will make available an online searchable version of this information.

MPs may now face a legal challenge, as Parliament stands accused of subverting a High Court judgment which ordered the full disclosure of the taxpayer-funded expense claims last year.

The Telegraph’s Leader is scathing about Parliament’s handling of the expenses scandal

In the Mail, Tom Utley catalogs Brown’s lies

Dan Hannan gives the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Yusuf al-Barroso a verbal biffing

Ben Brogan highlights the confusion sewn by MPs on the redacting culprits

Help the Taxpayers’ Alliance to help you – MPs’ expenses

19 June 2009

Matthew Elliot of the Taxpayers’ Alliance needs your assistance:

Dear Taxpayer,

I’m writing to you to thank you for signing the petition that the TaxPayers’ Alliance and Heather Brooke jointly launched a month ago to press for full transparency in MPs’ expenses. Your support for the campaign to find out exactly how our elected representatives have been spending our money is very much appreciated. I’m pleased to say that we are making progress, but there are several ways that you can help to keep up the pressure for full transparency.

As you will have seen, today Parliament has released partial details of MPs’ expenses, but the crucial second home addresses remain secret. We will of course continue to campaign for the publication of second home addresses, but in the meantime we need your help to scrutinise the information that has been released. While the Daily Telegraph has done a great service to us all, it has only published information about a minority of MPs. With your help, we can ensure that every MPs’ expenses are properly scrutinised.

What to do

  1. Please follow this link to access the expenses details.Pick an MP. Please start with your local MP, no matter how obscure they are – this will help us to cover the greatest range of Parliamentarians.
  2. Scrutinise all of the available documents. Three types of expenses details have been released: The Additional Costs Allowance (second homes), the Incidental Expenses Provision (office costs) and the Communications Allowance (a £10,000 fund for “communicating” with or propagandising constituents).
  3. Please note any absurd, dubious, petty, greedy or amusing claim, noting the link to the relevant document and the page the claim appears on. Secretive MPs, such as those who have blacked out the details of what they have claimed for, are also of interest.
  4. Please send your observations to us as a response to this email.