Tag Archives: claim

Is Dominic Raab the ‘Big Jule’ of the Conservative Party?

Dominic Raab: if he’s innocent he’s got nothing to worry about, right?

For those of you who don’t know – and that included me until a few minutes before I started typing this – Big Jule is a gangster in the musical Guys and Dolls who boasts about being arrested 33 times but never convicted. It seems Dominic Raab may be the Tory equivalent.

He is currently accused of bullying civil servants in the Justice Department during his first term in office there, from September 2021 to September this year.

But it’s not the first accusation of bullying against him, as Jolyon Maugham explains in the following Twitter thread. Bear in mind when you’re reading this that these accusations were not proved:

For clarity’s sake, let’s be clear that this is not a “no smoke without fire” situation. Raab cannot be said to be a bully just because he has been accused twice before.

But the fact that these accusations were made provides valuable context in which to set the current claims.

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Labour MP Christina Rees loses party whip – but is she really a bully?

This Writer is familiar with Christina Rees, from my time as a member and officer of the Brecon and Radnorshire Labour Party.

I find it hard to believe that she would engage in any activity that could be described as bullying.

She was Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow Wales secretary, though, and I wonder if this is another attempt to discredit a member of his team.

A senior Labour MP has been stripped of the party whip after allegations of bullying her constituency staff, the Guardian can reveal.

Christina Rees, who was shadow Wales secretary during Jeremy Corbyn’s time as leader, will now sit as an independent in the House of Commons.

It is understood that there will be an internal Labour party investigation into the allegations and Rees, the MP for Neath, will have her party membership suspended until the case is resolved.

Local party members claimed that several of her staff had made detailed statements, which they said were backed up with evidence, to Labour headquarters about claims of bullying.

In a statement, Rees said: “There has been a complaint made against me to the Labour party, which is under investigation and I am therefore under an administrative suspension until the process is concluded. I’m not aware of the details of the complaint but I am fully cooperating with the investigation.”

Perhaps we should follow this story carefully.

Source: Labour MP Christina Rees loses party whip after alleged bullying | Labour | The Guardian

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Boris Johnson made Chris Pincher a whip after being told of confirmed misconduct

Chris Pincher.

Doubts about Boris Johnson’s fitness to lead the UK must be multiplying after this revelation from the BBC:

Boris Johnson was made aware of a formal complaint about Chris Pincher’s “inappropriate behaviour” while Mr Pincher was a Foreign Office minister from 2019-20, BBC News can reveal.

It triggered a disciplinary process that confirmed the MP’s misconduct. Mr Pincher apologised after the process concluded, BBC News has been told.

BBC News understands the PM and the foreign secretary at the time – Dominic Raab – knew about the issue.

So Johnson knew Pincher was a wrong ‘un… and then appointed him to a hugely responsible position in the Whips’ Office anyway.

Remember that scandal in Theresa May’s time as PM, when the “dodgy dossier” of MPs’ wrongdoing known to the whips was made public?

Johnson put Pincher in that office and gave him access to that kind of information, we may conclude.

Was that a responsible thing to do – really?

It seems there may be much more muck to rake out of this already-filthy territory.

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‘Pincher by name, pincher by nature’ – new claims stack up against alleged Tory groper

Chris Pincher.

How can a 10 Downing Street source say Boris Johnson was unaware of specific sexual assault allegations against now-former Tory whip Chris Pincher when Dominic Cummings said the prime minister referred to him as “Pincher by name, pincher by nature”?

New claims have been made against Chris Pincher over the weekend. The BBC lists them in the following way:

The Sunday Times reported Mr Pincher had placed his hand on the inner leg of a male Tory MP in a bar in Parliament in 2017.

The newspaper reported Mr Pincher also made unwanted advances towards a different male Tory MP in 2018 while in his parliamentary office, and towards a Tory activist in Tamworth around July 2019.

The Mail on Sunday carried allegations he had made advances against an individual a decade ago, and that a female Tory staffer had tried to prevent his advances towards a young man at a Conservative Party conference.

The Independent carried allegations from an unnamed male Conservative MP that Mr Pincher groped him on two separate occasions in December 2021 and June this year.

The Sunday Times reported that the MP involved in the alleged incident in 2018 contacted No 10 before Mr Pincher was made a whip in February, passing on details of what he said had happened to him and voicing his concerns about him being appointed to the role.

That’s a lot of “pinching”!

Johnson himself was said to have considered the matter closed after Pincher resigned as deputy chief whip, but this raised concerns about unequal treatment of MPs who are accused of inappropriate behaviour (or, in this case, sexual crimes).

Neil Parish had to resign as an MP after being caught watching pornography on his mobile phone in the Commons chamber, and that is a far less significant offence than sexually assaulting other people.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Pincher was subsequently reported to Parliament’s independent behaviour watchdog and an inquiry began. The Tory whip was summarily removed from him, meaning he must sit as an independent MP until that matter is concluded.

In fact it is understood that he will stay away from Parliament while the inquiry runs its course.

The controversy – and Boris Johnson’s failure to act in a timely way – has led to renewed speculation over his fitness to continue as the UK’s political leader.

Labour’s Jonathan Reynolds has said Johnson’s Conservatives have been motivated by “what is politically expedient over what is right”.

And even former Conservative Party chairman and home secretary Lord Baker has said it is “unlikely” Boris Johnson is “the right man” to lead the party.

The longer this matter drags on, the worse it will be for Johnson – who is himself alleged to have behaved in a sexually-inappropriate way as foreign secretary.

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Russia/Ukraine: is Putin ill – or is the claim just propaganda?

Vladimir Putin: has he been treated for pancreatic cancer? Does he have other conditions? If not, someone may suffer as a result of the claim being made.

Are you willing to believe this?

According to US intelligence sources, Russian president Vladimir Putin received treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer in April.

They say his health conditions means that while his grip on the Kremlin remains strong, he does not enjoy the absolute power he used to have.

But is it proven, or is it propaganda?

The effect of reports like this is to provoke close examination of every public appearance by the Russian leader, in an attempt to prove or disprove the claim.

His lieutenants and rivals may start manoeuvring for a chance at power themselves whenever it seems Putin’s grip is slipping.

And the overall effect is that less attention is paid to other matters, such as the war in Ukraine. A more moderate future leader may even call off the whole reprehensible endeavour.

Here’s the problem: if I can see this, so can Vladimir Putin. And if the rumour isn’t true, then he’ll react violently.

So these American intelligencers had better have cast-iron evidence to support their claim – otherwise they may be bringing down even worse suffering on the people of Ukraine.

The Russian president has received treatment for advanced cancer and was targeted in an assassination attempt, three intelligence sources have told Newsweek

Source: Putin treated for advanced cancer and survived assassination attempt, US intelligence reports

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Johnson tries to take credit for Crossrail – but he won’t railroad us

Lying Boris Johnson has been caught being dishonest again – this time about the new Elizabeth Line in London, formerly known as Crossrail.

In Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (May 18), Johnson attacked his opponents in the Labour Party, saying:

“It was fantastic to see Her Majesty the Queen open Crossrail yesterday…Who was the Mayor of London when Crossrail was first started to be built, and who was the Prime Minister who completed it?

“We get the big things done. And that’s why there’s never been a Labour government who’s left office with unemployment lower than when they began.”

He was being extremely economical with the truth, as usual.

Crossrail was approved under a Labour government in 2007. Work did indeed start on it around a year into Johnson’s first term as London Mayor, in 2009 – but that was still under a Labour government.

And Westminster Labour councillor David Boothroyd had something to say about that. He tweeted: “The Mayor of London who got the Crossrail scheme going was [Labour’s] Ken Livingstone.

“The Mayor of London who forgot about Crossrail and led it into delay was Boris Johnson. The Mayor of London who got Crossrail delivered was Sadiq Khan.”

It is true that the central stretch was due to open in 2018 but was delayed, and costs soared from a predicted £14.8 billion to nearly £19 billion.

A spokesperson for London Mayor Sadiq Khan was more diplomatic: “Crossrail got the green light under the previous government and first started to be built back in 2009. Since then the project has been supported by successive governments, Mayors and businesses in our city, with over two-thirds of the budget coming from London government and London’s businesses.

“The completion of the Elizabeth Line shows the benefit of politicians working together and taking long-term decisions when it comes to crucial infrastructure projects that will have a positive impact across the whole country for many decades to come.”

Johnson made a blatant factual error when he said the new rail line had already delivered 72,000 jobs. In fact, it will be able to transport 72,000 people per hour.

Possibly worse than all of the above is the fact that Johnson was trying to use the new Elizabeth line to justify, in some way, the huge costs his government has forced onto ordinary people – pricing a dialysis user, in his own words, “out of existence“.

In fairness, he had requested details of the case but it was not reasonable to make a bald – and false – claim about the economy and the Elizabeth Line.

It demonstrates what a despicable opportunist Johnson is.

Source: Elizabeth line: Boris Johnson mocked for claiming credit for Crossrail despite law passing under Labour

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#DWP has been wrongly rejecting #benefit claims at a record rate

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign].

There are only a very small number of news stories about the benefit system as administered by the UK’s maliciously inept Department for Work and Pensions.

There’s the story about the DWP wrongly denying benefits to people (usually large numbers of them at a time).

There’s the one about loss of benefits (allegedly) leading to the death of a UK citizen (or indeed thousands, as I was able to force out of the department back in 2015).

There’s the one about the DWP promising to improve its performance so it gets its decisions right first time.

There’s the one about the appeal system either being unfit for purpose or finding in favour of huge numbers of claimants.

There’s the one about the costs of a system that aims to penalise people rather than pay them being far more than if everybody was just paid without question.

And there are mixtures of several or all of the above.

This story is a mixture.

It seems the DWP has been wrongly denying benefits to people, the appeal process has been demonstrating this at huge cost, and questions have been asked about why the department isn’t getting its decisions right, even after all these years:

The government is finding a record number of disability benefits claimants have been wrongly rejected by its own assessments as the cost of correcting these errors soars, new figures show.

Campaigners have pointed to “flaws in the system” that led to almost 80,000 Personal Independence Payment (Pip) decisions being overturned at initial review last year.

Meanwhile, separate figures show the cost of these reviews has surged by 26 per cent in the last two years, despite the fact that the number of reviews carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decreased by 23 per cent over the same period.

The rate at which these appeals have led to a decision being reversed has surged from 22 per cent (46,580 of 236,720) three years ago to 43 per cent (78,390 of 182,880) last year, according to data obtained via freedom of information (FOI) laws.

Separately, figures published by DWP minister Chloe Smith in response to a written parliamentary question show that the cost to taxpayers of mandatory considerations for Pip stood at £24.8m last year, compared with £19.7m in 2018/19 and £13.7m in 2016/17.

Of course the upshot of this is that the DWP is unreasonably harming people’s quality of life.

And this leads me to the final aspect of DWP stories that keeps getting repeated, which is the following:

The DWP is meant to harm claimants’ quality of life. That is the purpose of the benefit system, as far as your Tory government knows.

The ultimate intention is to be able to say that a benefit system is available, while paying out no benefits at all.

Yes, this is extremely harmful to claimants, as we have all seen over the last 12 years. Fatal, in many cases.

And there’s only one way to change it.

After so many years of being told the DWP will learn the lessons of its failures, we can only conclude that it is not learning anything at all – or that the lessons it is learning are about how to harm people in less visible ways.

This is not going to change under the Conservatives*. We need a change of government.

*And no, it won’t change under Labour or the Liberal Democrats either. Please don’t delude yourself with that fantasy for the sake of an easy life.

Source: DWP admits wrongly rejecting disabled people for benefits at record rate | The Independent

Tory Kawczynski faces second probe into his behaviour as an MP

Well, he was last time. What will be Daniel Kawczynski’s excuse if he’s found guilty of the latest accusations against him?

Daniel Kawczynski is under investigation – again – by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over “actions causing significant damage to the reputation of the House as a whole, or of its Members generally”.

This comes after he was found to have drunkenly bullied civil servants over an IT issue.

He was ordered to apologise, which seemed a shockingly lenient punishment for a man who is a serial offender, as This Site described in a previous article.

I wonder how voters in Shrewsbury feel about their disgrace of a Parliamentary representative.

Details of the new accusations are not clear at the moment, but bringing the House of Commons into disrepute is a serious charge against members.

What will he get if found guilty this time – a slap on the wrist?

Source: Tory MP faces second probe into his behaviour after apology for “bullying” staff – Mirror Online

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Councils send in the bailiffs to clear tax arrears [Also in the news]


Local authorities seem to think that driving council house tenants to starvation, or taking their belongings, as a means of clearing council tax arrears is a good idea.

How do they think taking the few possessions and the little money left to people in extremely vulnerable situations, that were worsened by Covid-19, will make everything better?

And which councils do you reckon are responsible for this behaviour? The Tory ones?

Also in the news:

1. Boris Johnson may be thinking of replacing Rishi Sunak as Chancellor – with Liz Truss

He would be replacing one incompetent – Sunak was responsible for the ‘Eat out to die out’ voucher scheme that did so much to spread Covid-19 last autumn – with another – Truss trumpeted a trade deal with Japan that sold Stilton cheese to a country that is lactose-intolerant.

2. MPs have been claiming expenses for ‘dependent children’ – who aren’t children at all

And they’re mostly Tories. What a surprise.

3. NHS waiting lists could top 15 million in four years, ministers are warned

They’ve been told a major increase in capacity is required but they are too busy giving cash to private companies and selling off NHS assets to pay for it.

4. Former Chancellor is accused of breaking the ministerial code

It’s claimed that Philip Hammond broke the rules because he lobbied the government on behalf of a bank that employs him as a paid advisor – before the end of a two-year ban on using his his “government and/or ministerial contacts to influence policy” on behalf of his new employer.

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Dowden’s Minack mess-up: was he incompetent or was he lying?

Boris Johnson’s Tory government can’t seem to get anything right, can it?

While the G7 summit was taking place, partners of the G7 leaders were invited to visit the famous Minack Theatre, a clifftop amphitheatre on the coast, facing the Atlantic Ocean.

Afterwards, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden turned the event into a pantomime by tweeting: “This unique venue was one of more than 650 theatres helped through Covid with support from the £2bn culture recovery fund, ensuring that it can entertain visitors for years to come.”

All together now: Oh no it wasn’t!

Theatre bosses responded: “Sorry @OliverDowden but this is not true. We did not benefit from any CRF money as we were not eligible to apply. It turned out having a good level of cash reserves meant we had to fend for ourselves and utilise our own reserves.”

Zoe Curnow, the Minack’s executive director, said on Sunday she was surprised to see Dowden’s tweet. “To try to score a political point is unfortunate, to be completely honest. Obviously the DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] didn’t think to check we were on the list.

“We weren’t on the list because we didn’t qualify, and we didn’t qualify because we run ourselves in such a way that we had enough reserves to see us through.”

That’s not to say that the Minack hasn’t been hit by Covid lockdown restrictions, though!

It lost £300,000 last year and was forced to lay off 15 staff members – something Ms Curnow described as “soul destroying”.

She went on to make the political point that open-air theatres like the Minack should be allowed to go back to full operation sooner than their indoor counterparts because conditions are far less conducive to the spread of Covid-19.

But – again – Dowden and his colleagues are unlikely even to have thought of this.

If they can’t be bothered to check whether a theatre is receiving grant money, they’re never going to be interested in fiddling details like whether meeting conditions to reopen mean it should, even if that makes the difference between prosperity and job losses.

Dowden’s only interest was in winning PR plaudits. Instead he was not only panned but proved that his own career should close – due to bad reviews.

Source: G7 partners’ trip to theatre backfires after minister’s gaffe | Politics | The Guardian

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