Sunday, May 17, 2009

Oink Oink!

MPs' expenses: cash secrets of MPs who tried to stop you seeing their expenses

The full details of the taxpayer-funded expenses claimed by the MPs who battled to keep them secret can be disclosed for the first time.
An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has established that backers of a Bill two years ago which aimed to exempt Parliament from the full force of the Freedom of Information Act have benefited from thousands of pounds paid under the second home expenses system.

Examples ranged from a former government whip who “bought out” his partner from her share of a London flat at a cost to the taxpayer of thousands of pounds, to a Tory grandee who spent thousands of pounds of public funds on his country estate before selling it.
A shadow minister claimed a £7,000 bedroom suite and a £2,200 television and “flipped” his second home, while a Labour election co-ordinator bought 16 bedsheets within the space of two months for a one-bedroom flat.

The MPs, who all backed the 2007 Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill introduced by David Maclean, the former Conservative chief whip, will face questions over their use of expenses and will come under pressure to return money.

Supporters of Mr Maclean’s Bill said they were acting to protect the confidentiality of constituents. Yet MPs opposing the Bill told the Commons repeatedly that its main impact would be to keep expenses secret.

The latest disclosures came as the fallout from the MPs’ expenses scandal showed no sign of letting up. David Chaytor, a backbench MP, was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party after he admitted he had claimed nearly £13,000 for the mortgage on a London flat after it was paid off.

The Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service are due to meet this week to decide whether to start a criminal inquiry following the Telegraph’s investigation into the misuse of the expenses system by MPs from all sides of the House of Commons.

The latest disclosures include:

- David Maclean, who introduced the 2007 Bill, spent more than £20,000 doing up his farmhouse under the Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) before selling it for £750,000.

He was entitled to the money because the property was designated as his “second home” with the Commons authorities, yet Mr Maclean did not pay capital gains tax on the sale because the taxman accepted it was his main home.

- David Clelland, the Labour MP, “bought out” his partner’s share of a joint mortgage on a flat in London in a deal which cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds plus legal fees. After the deal, which was approved by the Commons fees office, his taxpayer-funded mortgage interest payments increased by almost £200 a month.

Mr Clelland, who cited the “increasingly bureaucratic” nature of the expenses system and fears of “press intrusion” as reasons for ending the joint mortgage, also submitted a claim including 36p for fuses.

- Fraser Kemp, a former government whip and one of Labour’s key election strategists, made repeat purchases of household items within weeks of each other for his one-bedroom flat.
He bought 16 sheets within seven weeks and tried to claim for a £1,699 television only for the fees office to turn the claim down.

A year earlier he had successfully claimed for a £599 television. Last night he described some of his purchases – including the bed linen – as an “error” and offered to make repayments.
- Julian Lewis, the shadow defence minister and one of the most outspoken opponents of the disclosure of MPs’ personal details, asked if he could claim £6,000 expenses for a wooden floor with acoustic underlay but was told by officials in the fees office that this “could be seen as extravagant”. However, he was permitted to claim £4,870 to upgrade the London flat, as well as £352.20 in legal fees for settling a dispute over unpaid service charges. Mr Lewis also claimed £119 for a wall-mounted trouser press and £5 for a “sweater tidy”. Last night he described the ACA as an “absolutely rotten system”.

- David Ruffley, the shadow Home Office minister, “flipped” his second home from a London flat to his Bury St Edmunds constituency before spending thousands of pounds on furniture and fittings. He successfully claimed for a £1,674 sofa – but was refused the full amount when he claimed for a £2,175 46-inch Sony widescreen HD television from Harrods. An attempt to claim £6,765 for the purchase of several bedroom items was reduced by £4,748.

Not all of the 98 MPs who supported Mr Maclean’s Bill in 2007 had questionable expenses. Some submitted low or zero claims including Labour’s Martin Salter and Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative MP.

The latest disclosures came as Gordon Brown and David Cameron faced increasing pressure to do more to address the scale of the abuse of the expenses system.

Since the Telegraph investigation began nine days ago, one minister has stepped down from his post, two Labour MPs have been suspended from the parliamentary party, while a parliamentary aide to the Conservative leader has also resigned his role.

Last night the Prime Minister pledged to take action against ministers who abuse the expenses system and claimed he was “appalled and angered” by the disclosures.

“The bottom line is that any MP who is found to have defied the rules will not be serving in my government,” Mr Brown said.

“I want to assure every citizen of my commitment to a complete clean-up of the system — that wherever and whenever immediate disciplinary action is required I will take it.” The position of Michael Martin, the Commons Speaker, remains under threat. A “no confidence” motion could to be tabled against him this week. In a leaked letter to Tory candidates campaigning in next month’s European elections, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, said the Opposition backed “the office of the Speaker,” suggesting that the Tory leadership was losing patience with Mr Martin personally.

Officially, both Mr Brown and Mr Cameron back him – although a growing number of MPs favour his early removal on the grounds that he has mishandled the expenses affair.


Anonymous said...

- David Maclean, who introduced the 2007 Bill, spent more than £20,000 doing up his farmhouse under the Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) before selling it for £750,000.

When Griffin sells his farmhouse will BNP members get the money back that he stole from them to do his farm up?

Anonymous said...


DEAD MONEY: Illegal immigrants queueing for food in Calais
Sunday May 17,2009
By Ted Jeory VAST amounts of taxpayers’ money has been squandered on a “disastrous” scheme to stem the flow of ­illegal migrants into Europe.

More than £14billion – of which Britain’s share is an estimated £1.4 billion – has gone on a French-inspired project called the Barcelona Process.

But much of the cash has ended up in the pockets of north African officials who fail to prevent mass migration.

Yet despite the enormous sums involved, the European Union has not once published a detailed breakdown of spending on the venture and produced just one high-level audit of the project’s total spending in 14 years.

Incredibly, EU leaders are set to sanction another £550million on a ­similar project in eastern Europe.

The Barcelona Process is an alliance between the 27-member EU and 16 countries from the southern Mediterranean and Middle East.

Its main aim has been to combat illegal immigration from north Africa to southern EU members such as Spain, Italy and Portugal.

But more than 100,000 migrants a year are still estimated to enter Europe illegally via the Mediterranean, a fifth of the total.

Leading Eurosceptic Tory MP Bill Cash said: “The process has been disastrous. It does us no good to raise the volume of expenditure in the vain belief it will curtail illegal immigration. It doesn’t work like that. The money just disappears into rivers of slush funds and hopeless corruption.”

Labour MP Michael Connarty, who chairs the European Scrutiny Committee, said: “If we create a stable buffer between north Africa and Europe it will be money well spent, but we’ve made no progress.”

An EU spokeswoman claimed the Barcelona Process fostered “cohesion and co-operation”.

Anonymous said...

A real British Parliament must now cleanse its green-leather benches of the fraudsters, phoney Britons, embezzlers, shysters, and freaks, wipe all its surfaces with anti-bacterial disinfectant, and toss the bulk of its Members into prison where they belong"

Patriot88 said...

I know this is off topic however. There is a red who has started phoning up and abusing BNP activists and staff. But the stupid idiot forget to withhold his number. Perhaps people would like to give him a call and advise him to stop these silly antics.

07809 704553

Rosie Brooks said...

Is the UKIP MEP Ashley Mote still in prison? He must be king of the PIGS.
Is he the only politican that has been put in prison for his corruption?

Anonymous said...

Terrified Media Caught out Trying to Talk up Flop UKIP Party

Terrified at the prospect of a major breakthrough by the British National Party on June 4th, the controlled media has launched a coordinated campaign to try and talk up the long-dead UKIP party as an alternative protest vote channel, Simon Darby, BNP deputy leader and press spokesman has said.

“The most recent effort has come with a new opinion poll by BPIX, which has been given great prominence, allegedly showing a rise in support for UKIP,” Mr Darby said.

“The reality is that BPIX is, in polling company terms, a virtual unknown and is not even a member of the industry standard British Polling Council,” Mr Darby said. “They have hardly ever been used before but now, because they have a poll which boosts UKIP, they have the centre stage of attention.”

BPIX is supposed to be an Internet based polling company, but their own website, viewable here (and cached here just in case) has been static as ‘under construction’ for years. “All of this makes the origin and source of their polls highly suspect,” Mr Darby said.

The media are also dutifully playing their part in trying to boost UKIP. Mr Darby pointed out that on 5 May 2009, The Telegraph, under a headline ‘UKIP set to struggle after 2004 poll success’ predicted that UKIP was finished, but now less than two weeks later UKIP is suddenly decreed the second biggest party. “It is a laughable deception which fools no one,” Mr Darby said.

He pointed to a current online opinion poll by the London Daily News, which had UKIP at 3.25 percent and the BNP at 32 percent as one example of how by selectively quoting different polls, different results could be created.

Anonymous said...


How equality tsar Trevor Phillips fights ageism... he finds a lover 16 years his junior
Married equality chief Trevor Phillips looks happy and relaxed as he strolls in the morning sunshine with the new woman in his life.

Mr Phillips, 55, was seen hand-in-hand with TV producer Helen Veale – who is 16 years younger – near her flat in North-West London, just a couple of miles from his marital home in Crouch End.

The romantic outing comes just a few months after the head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) publicly admitted splitting from his wife of 28 years, Asha Bhownagary.
Tender: Trevor Phillips and Helen Veale walking out together
Now, Mr Phillips spends most of his time at Ms Veale’s £220,000 first-floor flat in Kentish Town and has his own set of keys to the property.

A passer-by spotted the couple sharing a romantic kiss outside Ms Veale’s flat before they set off in his X-reg Jaguar.

The £110,000-a-year executive was casually dressed in sports gear.

Ms Veale, 39, wore a blue dress top with jeans, carried a matching blue bag and had her hair up.

An onlooker said: ‘They looked very much like a couple, relaxed and smiling and laughing with each other.’
Together: The pair share a kiss near Helen's North London home
They are believed to have met through their TV work. Mr Phillips heads his own production company, Pepper Productions, and Ms Veale owns Outline Productions, which specialises in reality TV shows – including the Jade Goody documentary Living With Jade, which covered her dying days.

Last summer, Mr Phillips was a panellist in a show produced by Ms Veale’s company at the Edinburgh Festival.

Mr Phillips met his wife, who is a child psychologist, as a student and the couple have two grown-up daughters.

A neighbour of the Phillips family said: ‘We hardly see Trevor so we assumed he had moved out. But he still shares his car with his wife and often pops round to collect it. He also has a chauffeur-driven car for work.’

Mr Phillips confirmed he had split from his wife, saying in a statement: ‘My wife and I separated in February 2008. After a marriage lasting 28 years, this was naturally a matter of great sadness and pain for our family.

'Miss Veale and I met and began a relationship in the autumn of last year.’

When approached at her London flat, Ms Veale said: ‘I’m actually incredibly busy this morning. I’m a TV producer and I’m about to go to work.

'So I wonder whether or not I could take a telephone number and ring you later.’

She did not ring back.

Mrs Phillips said: ‘I have no comment to make

Theresa May left university with a 2nd class degree in Geography and was immediately given an important job at the Bank of England. Go...