Category Archives: Donations

Anyone who knowingly misleads Parliament should resign. So why hasn’t Johnson gone?

The double-standards in this story are atrocious.

On one side, we see Nicola Sturgeon. The First Minister of Scotland has been found to have misled Parliament by giving an inaccurate account of meetings with Alex Salmond in 2018.

If an inquiry finds that she knowingly uttered falsehoods, then that is a resignation offence for an elected minister of any government, according to the Ministerial Code, and she should go – without question.

On the other side, we see Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has been accused of having misled Parliament by failing to provide details of funding for renovations to his official Downing Street flat.

The allegation is that private donations to the Conservative Party totalling £60,000 have been used as part of £200,000 worth of refurbishments to the flat.

If so, it should have been reported to the Electoral Commission, because the Ministerial Code demands that “a statement covering relevant Ministers’ interests will be published twice yearly”. The last such statement appeared last July, eight months ago.

It seems clear that Johnson has knowingly breached the Code in failing to declare the sources of funding for the flat.

So he should resign – right?

But within Parliament there has been no pressure for him to do so, while Tory calls for Sturgeon to take a hike have been punitive in their decibel level.

Labour’s Keir Starmer, despite being a lawyer, has claimed Sturgeon should go whether she knowingly misled Parliament or not – which is another indication that he should not be in politics, let alone running a political party.

10 Downing Street says all appropriate codes were followed, but this rings hollow. What does Allegra Stratton, Johnson’s press secretary, mean by “appropriate”? Something different from the dictionary definition, one would guess.

That’s how Downing Street has explained the other ways Johnson has recently misled Parliament, as I mentioned in a previous article:

After he said there would be no funding cut for the body tasked with improving transport in the north (he’s taking away 40 per cent of its funding), Downing Street tried to suggest he had been talking about transport generally for the north of England.

And after he claimed all Covid-19 contracts had been published and were “on the record” – only to be contradicted by the High Court – a minister said all CANs – Contract Award Notices – had been published. They are not the same thing.

Today’s howler was his claim, in Prime Minister’s Questions, that Keir Starmer had voted against a promise of a 2.1 per cent pay rise for nurses – that his own government is breaking.

The plan was in the NHS Funding Bill last year – which passed without a formal vote because all the main parties supported it. Starmer didn’t need to vote, but if he had, he would have supported the Bill.

Johnson (or rather, Stratton – he’d done his usual runner) eventually came out with a claim that he had been saying Starmer voted against the Queen’s Speech – but the plan wasn’t mentioned in it.

The document Starmer had been waving around at PMQs – and to which he had been referring – was the NHS long-term plan, which was a policy document and not a piece of legislation on which he could have voted.

So it seems clear that Johnson had knowingly misled Parliament but the issue also seems to have gone away because nobody is calling for his resignation over it.

If you’re wondering who did fund the renovation, here‘s openDemocracy:

The Daily Mail has reported that Downing Street allegedly sought to plug the gap in the six-figure refurbishment of the prime ministerial flat using Conservative Party funds. After the party initially paid for part of the refurb, the Mail reports, Conservative Party donor Lord Brownlow gave it £60,000 last autumn to make up the difference.

The Mail also claims that party officials have since been looking for ways to keep the donation anonymous by returning it, and then repeating it through a new ‘Downing Street Trust’ that would conceal the original source.

Lord Brownlow, who served as vice-chairman of the Tory party in 2017-20 and was made a peer in 2019 by Theresa May, is expected to head up this new non-charitable trust.

So the person who allegedly provided this dodgy donation is set to head the organisation dedicated to hushing it up. More corrupt cronyism?

Let’s face it: nobody involved in this is going to come out smelling of roses.

It’s just that Boris Johnson, more than anybody else, is going to be smelling of faeces.

And it will take more than a Union Flag to wipe them away.

Source: Election watchdog quizzes Tory party over funding of PM’s flat makeover – BBC News

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Tories announce new scheme for buildings with ‘Grenfell’ cladding – while taking millions from builders who used it (allegedly)

Inferno: Grenfell Tower went up like a roman candle because it was covered in flammable cladding – killing an official total of 72 people.

The wrongness of this should be evident for all to see.

Firstly there’s the wrong of the new scheme to replace Grenfell-style cladding on tower blocks.

If you live in a block that’s taller than six storeys, your building will get a share of a £3.5 billion government fund to get rid of the flammable death stuff.

If your block is smaller – four to six storeys, then the government will stuff you with a loan, so you have to pay to strip off your own cladding. You get to pay it back at £50 per month, for “many years”.

Okay, they’re “low interest” but they’re also “long term”. Okay, they’re attached to the property – not the occupier – but that just means anybody in an affected block of four-six storeys is hammered with negative equity for – as good as – ever; new buyers would factor the loan into any decision on whether to buy and it is likely to lower prices.

Secondly, there’s the wrong of the £2.5 million allegedly donated to the Conservative Party – the political organisation running the government that has introduced these cladding replacement schemes – by the builders who installed the terminally-flammable cladding in the first place.

That’s right. The Tories stumped up £3.5 billion for one scheme, knowing they’ll tax that money right back*, set up a second scheme that takes cash direct from the people affected – and the people responsible for all the trouble, gave the Tories £2.5 million (allegedly).

*Apparently there’ll be a £200 million a year tax on the property industry to pay for all this – but you know the top bosses will just pass the cost on to clients rather than pay any of it themselves.

That’s great value for money – for the (allegedly) builders!

And that’s especially true when we remember that the firm that sold the cladding used at Grenfell Tower knew about the risk of fires in 2013, but continued to offer a flammable version of it.

And there’s even more wrong!

There was no announcement … for people in buildings of three storeys or less, who it appears could still be hit with eye-watering cladding bills by their freeholders.

There was also no new answer to who will pay for expensive “waking watches” – wardens who patrol buildings to check they are not currently on fire. Mr Jenrick referenced a £30m fund to replace waking watches with fire alarms, that was already open.

We also don’t know when the new support will launch or when we will get more detail about it.

And we don’t know if the £50-a-month loans for people in low-rise blocks will ever be written off. If they’re not, the announcement indicates a flat that faced a £50,000 bill could be paying it off for more than 80 years.

Some have condemned the Tory government’s behaviour as “incompetence” but let’s try to be honest about it, shall we?

If they really did take money, it’s corruption.

Source: Fury at new cladding scheme – how it works and why it ‘betrays’ flat owners – Mirror Online

Keir Starmer asked an apparent anti-Semite to fund his Labour Party. Should he send back the cash?

David Abrahams: Labour leader Keir Starmer approached him for donations but may have to hand the cash back after it was revealed he had attacked fellow Jewish people with different political opinions as “self-hating Jews”, which is an anti-Semitic smear.

Mainstream media types are focusing on the Islamophobic aspect of philanthropist (it says here) David Abrahams’s comments.

Why?

Even though he may have been heavily involved with the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel, it seems very clear to me – and, I think, to anybody with a brain – that he is a raving anti-Semite.

Look at the comments in black that are quoted in Ben’s tweet, below:

“Self-hating Jew” (or Jews), according to the Urban Dictionary, is the derogatory code phrase for Jewish people “who speak out against the actions or policies of the government of Israel, Zionists or other Jewish controlled organizations”.

It is not a description of people who actually hate themselves because they are Jewish.

It is an attack on Jewish people who hold different political views from Jews who do support the actions and policies of the government of Israel, Zionists and other Jewish-controlled organisations (that, I would add for the sake of clarity, also support the Israeli government and the kind of Zionism it professes).

It is also clearly anti-Semitic, because it attacks what these people are, and claims that they are not what they should be.

So this Abrahams character is an anti-Semite, right? Or at the very least it seems he has put forward anti-Semitic views.

The Islamophobic tripe he is said to have come out with is bad enough, but this seems to put the seal on the nature of the man.

What does it say about Keir Starmer that this is the kind of person the new New Labour leader approaches to fund his party, now that the membership is dwindling down to him, Angela Rayner and Luke Akehurst?

Now, after the embarrassing facts have become public, Starmer is being urged to hand back the cash – to give an assurance that he won’t have any truck with the kind of racism that’s being pushed here.

Trouble is, Starmer asked for Abrahams to contribute, knowing full well what kind of man he is – whatever kind of man he really is.

Also, a recent report on shocking levels of Islamophobia within the Labour Party received only a lukewarm reception from Starmer.

And Labour’s record proves it is happy to smear as anti-Semites Jews who don’t support the pro-Israel, aggressive-Zionist pose that Starmer has been pushing.

So will he hand back the cash?

And if he does, how will he keep Labour’s finances from falling apart?

NOTE: This is not the first time donations to the Labour Party by David Abrahams have been controversial. In 2007 he was at the heart of the so-called “donorgate” row that forced former leader Gordon Brown to launch an inquiry into party funding – and prompted the Electoral Commission to call the police.

He had given more than £650,000 to Labour using the names of associates, and told the BBC he had “gifted funds to my friends and colleagues” so they could make donations on his behalf because he was a “very private person who did not seek publicity”.

It was thought to have been a breach of the law on transparent disclosure, but Abrahams was subsequently cleared by the police.

The result of Gordon Brown’s inquiry has yet to be published, it seems.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Welsh Tory MP voted to starve English children while Welsh Labour feeds those in her constituency

I raise this to point out the hypocrisy of Conservative MPs.

Last December, people in This Writer’s constituency – Brecon and Radnorshire, in Wales – voted Conservative Fay Jones into Parliament as their MP.

The Welsh government – run by the Labour Party – has already legislated to ensure that children who have been flung into poverty by UK-wide Tory policies and/or by the Covid-19 crisis will enjoy free school meals to ensure they do not grow hungry.

Last week, Jones was among the 322 MPs who voted to ensure that English children – afflicted in the same way by Tory policies – starve.

What utter hypocrisy.

The worst part of it is that people here will probably vote for her again, in the mistaken impression that she had something to do with the decision to provide free meals for children here in Wales.

I note that Ms Jones has been in Parliament for less than a year but has already incurred expenses claims totalling £25,717.57 – equivalent to the average wage in the UK – on top of her MP salary of around £82,000. She seems far more a waste of money than English children – the feeding of whom I would consider to be more an investment.

It is notable that she has also received a supporting donation from the bottled water company Radnor Hills, totalling £10,000.

Considering that fellow Tory MP Selaine Saxby has said she hopes firms providing food to starving English children should not seek government support, it seems appropriate that this firm (that would receive any such support from the Labour-run Welsh government, rather than Westminster) should be deprived of public support in return for backing Jones.

Don’t you agree?

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Did £150k-salaried Boris Johnson oppose #FreeSchoolMeals because he has to buy food for his own kids?

Rolling in it: Boris Johnson has received enormous amounts in donations related to his work as a member of Parliament. But now, as prime minister, he complains about having to pay for his own food and that of four of his six children, while denying free school meals to people earning less than £6 per hour.

Sour grapes from the UK’s prime minister?

In this case it seems likely.

Boris Johnson was one of the 322 Conservative MPs who voted against free school meals for children whose families have fallen below the poverty line, either because of 10 years of Conservative-fuelled wage depression or because the Covid-19 crisis is forcing them to live on a fraction of their normal income.

His choice to starve poverty-stricken children came only weeks after it was revealed that he is “complaining about money” because he is having to use his £150,402 prime ministerial salary to feed himself, his paramour and four of his six children. At least his accommodation is provided by the state, though!

Was his vote fuelled by resentment?

Well, it is a possible interpretation. It doesn’t present the prime minister in a very good light but, if people complain when you mention this to them, just remind them that they voted for him.

Of course, Johnson does receive a certain number of donations from pro-Tory sources. These seem to have dried up since he became prime minister but I note from the register of members’ financial interests that he has received two “gift hampers” worth a total of £1,100, that he registered in May.

Could the contents of those not have helped him out?

And the £14,672 he has made from his various books since the current Parliament began last year should also ease the burden a little, This Writer would have thought.

Come to think of it, some of the money donated to him in previous years might come in handy, considering the huge amounts he received.

For example, in 2019 he received from polling and market research company CTF Partners Ltd,  £3,000 and an interest-free loan of £20,000 for office and staffing costs.

From JC Bamford Excavators Ltd, of Uttoxeter (Constituency: Burton and Uttoxeter; MP: Kate Griffiths (Con)): £64,000.

From “general secondary education” firm RTC Education 2 Ltd (Constituency: Harrow West; MP: Gareth Thomas (Lab)): £10,000.

From First Corporate Shipping Ltd (trading as The Bristol Port Company) (Constituency: Cities of London and Westminster; MP: Nickie Aiken (Con)): £25,000.

From “holding company” IPGL Ltd (Constituency: Kensington; MP: Felicity Buchan (Con)): £20,000.

From real estate trader Countywide Developments plc (Constituency: Warwick and Leamington; MP: Matt Western (Lab)): £10,000.

From bookkeepers MET Trading Ltd (Constituency: Leeds North East; MP: Fabian Hamilton (Lab)): £5,000

From investment firm Killik & Co LLP (Constituency: Cities of London and Westminster; MP: Nickie Aiken (Con)): £10,000.

From Audley Ltd (for whom Companies House failed to provide the nature of the business) (Constituency: Cities of London and Westminster; MP: Nickie Aiken (Con)): £5,000.

From “business support services” firm Albion Agencies Ltd (Constituency: Cities of London and Westminster; MP: Nickie Aiken (Con)): £5,000.

From Dow Investments plc (Constituency: Edinburgh North and Leith; MP: Deidre Brock (SNP)): £10,000.

And from private donors: an eye-watering £633,900!

And a prime minister who has recently received this kind of wealth begrudges free school meals to children whose parents are living on £5.80 an hour.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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