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Rachel Riley libel: appeal hearing is APRIL 27 – but we still don’t know the time or venue

Less than a week before This Writer’s hearing in the Court of Appeal, I regret I cannot say whether it will be an “in person” hearing or one that may be viewed remotely on the internet. I don’t even know what time it is likely to start!

My legal team had believed the hearing would be “remote”, and received notification yesterday that this was the case. But it seems the same letter also stated that the court was minded to re-list the case – for the same day – as an “in-person” hearing instead.

There are good reasons for attending the hearing in person. It is easier for Counsel to properly judge and pitch submissions when one is in the same room as the judge. That is even more the case with the Court of Appeal where there are three judges. It is also easier to really engage judges in a debate in person.

However, the Court of Appeal has decided that the hearing should last no longer than two hours – despite Rachel Riley’s team having filed an 80-paragraph response to my appeal, despite having given only one paragraph to this aspect of the case in their strike-out application last December. It was the responsibility of Riley’s team to ask for more time but they have chosen not to do so. In these circumstances, it seems likely that, if the hearing is listed to start in the morning and “in person”, the judges may allow it to run on – and I am advised that this is more likely to benefit Riley than me. That does not strike me as being fair.

There are also difficulties relating to my own ability to attend. I don’t have a car at the moment – it failed its MOT a couple of weeks ago and has been in the garage, being repaired, ever since. This makes travel to London  from Mid Wales extremely difficult – I would have to catch a train to Bristol and stay there overnight (at a time when staying with people outside of one’s ‘bubble’ is still forbidden) before catching a further train to London. This would also necessitate considerable unnecessary expense.

Then there are the issues relating to Covid-19, which haven’t gone away just because many of us have had a first dose of a vaccine. My concerns about carrying the virus back to my ill and disabled partner (I’m her carer, remember) remain valid – and also the court’s own social distancing rules mean it will be practically impossible to discuss the case with my legal team before the hearing. We would not be able to hold them in private, would have to sit a long way apart and would be wearing masks, meaning we would have to shout at each other to be heard – in a public place. That is not a good idea.

And while my solicitor would find it easier to pass on instructions to Counsel if they were both in the courtroom, his own travel expenses are likely to add more than £2,000 to my costs. Having just spent a month raising £20,000 at very short notice, we all agree that this is undesirable.

So I have suggested to the court that a “hybrid” hearing should take place, with Counsel present in court and the rest of us tuning in via the internet. This runs the risk of the court demanding that the hearing be either wholly remote or wholly in person, but it strikes me that I’ll be no worse-off for having suggested it. If it transpires that I can find no way to attend, at least my reasons will be clear.

And of course, Rachel Riley has never attended a single hearing in this case, so it should not be held against me.

I’m not begging for cash this time – this update is purely for information. The CrowdJustice campaign is likely to need more at some point, though, so if you are inclined to donate, the methods are the same as always:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

I will provide further updates when the situation becomes clearer.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Nearly there! But Mike still needs help for his appeal against Riley libel case to hit its target

You’ve done the impossible – nearly.

When I appealed for you to help me raise £20,000 that I need to fund my appeal against Rachel Riley’s libel case, I honestly thought it was too much to ask.

But in nearly three weeks you have raised most of the cash!

As I write this, the fund stands around £3,000 short of the target. It’s a staggering achievement.

But this is an all-or-nothing situation. Either I make the full £20,000 and fund my legal team to appear at the hearing, or it doesn’t happen.

I know you want me to succeed.

I also know that, last time I wrote an update, you donated £3,000 within as many hours.

I know, as well, that you all have other pressures on your money and I hate having to come back and ask you again.

But if I don’t, Rachel Riley will win the case and all the fundraising will have been for nothing.

None of us want that. So please – and only if you can afford it:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

Let’s get the fundraising part of this behind us so I can concentrate on winning this case.

Because I can win it. All I need to do is have my day in court.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Riley libel case: The clock is ticking again. Can we raise enough to get Mike’s appeal heard in court?

The clock is ticking: Rachel Riley seems to be forcing a court hearing next month because she thinks Mike will run out of money. Only you can stop that from happening.

What a great response! After my appeal last week, supporters like you have donated nearly £8,000 to the CrowdJustice fund. But it’s still less than half of what I need.

I reported last week that the Court of Appeal has listed my appeal against the High Court’s decision to strike out my defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim against me – to take place over just two hours on April 27.

After the court announced the tight schedule, Riley’s legal team submitted their skeleton argument against my appeal, totalling 80 paragraphs, mostly consisting of new pleadings that were not in the original strike-out application – which was shorter.

It is this new document that is forcing my own team to do much more work – and that, in turn is why I need so much money.

Riley’s people could have asked the court to re-list the hearing to allow more time but they didn’t. It seems clear that they hope the extra work they have created – and the short timescale in which it needs to be done – will cost more than I can raise.

In other words, Riley is still trying to make justice too expensive.

I think everybody on her side knows that, if my case gets into court, hers is finished. Despite having initiated the litigation, they have done everything they could since Day One to prevent me from getting into a witness box and saying my piece.

That is how we got to be here, with £12,000 left to raise and little more than a month to go.

It can be done.

We managed it before, when I needed cash simply to be able to launch an appeal.

But I can never take your support for granted.

That’s why I have to beg, yet again, for your kindness.

If you haven’t donated to the current drive yet, or if you are able to donate more, then please:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

A month can seem like a long time. But time has a habit of slipping away from us.

Please help foil this dreadful bid to price me out of justice.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Mike’s appeal against Riley libel action is in danger due to court SCHEDULING

I have to raise around £20,000 within a month or my lawyers will not be able to prepare my appeal properly before it goes before the court on April 27.

That was the stark fact my solicitor put before me in a lengthy email yesterday evening.

The sudden push for funding has happened because the Court of Appeal has scheduled my case on an “expedited” basis, meaning the hearing will take place at its convenience rather than that of either party.

It has allowed only two hours for the appeal to be heard – one hour for me, one for Riley – but the arguments she has submitted amount to a completely new case against me.

My solicitor tells me he initially thought that two hours was “tight but workable” – until he saw Riley’s skeleton argument.

She is really running a whole new strike out application deploying legal arguments that she did not deploy before.

She is entitled to raise new arguments that support the High Court’s decision to strike out my defence, it seems – but normally this would involve putting the case she had already made in a new way rather than presenting the course with a completely new case.

And because it is a new argument, her legal team at Patron Law would be expected to challenge the Court of Appeal’s time estimate. But they have not.

As matters stand, this means my own team now – suddenly – need to an enormous amount of work in a very short time. Indeed, the court ordered yesterday (March 18) that my legal team had to submit its legal paperwork and any revision of our own skeleton argument by March 16 – two days previously. As this is impossible it means my team has had to scramble to try to obtain a revised timetable.

On top of all this (or rather, underlying it – because this was what we expected to have to do), because my case relies on a defence that is not extensively defined, the Court of Appeal may wish to refine or restate the law on the “public interest” defence and my legal team needs to be prepared to guide it.

Given the lack of time provided by the court, it is possible that I will be faced with one of several unwelcome decisions. It could decide that Riley is running a new case and if so, it could grant my appeal but send the matter back to the High Court and I would have to try to raise even more funds to fight the new allegations. It could dismiss my appeal, simply to draw a line under the matter (although this would be an unusual and, in my opinion, unjust outcome). It could say it wants more time and adjourn for a further hearing, possibly far in the future, meaning I would have to try to raise more funds because my legal team would have to carry out their preparation work again. Or it might make do with the current time estimate and either tell the lawyers to pick their best points or cut them off after an hour each, no matter what they were saying.

Given the above, my point of view is that I’m being asked to beg you – my funders – for £20,000 in very short order, to fund a hearing that is unlikely to have adequate time for all the issues to be aired and may either be cut short (which seems to me to be against the interests of justice) or either adjourned or postponed to what may be a much later date, incurring equal or greater costs.

Given those options, I have told my solicitor that I think it would be reasonable to remind the court that my resources are extremely limited in comparison to those of a Claimant who has effectively put an entirely new case before us all but has failed to request extra time for it to be discussed, and that I believe it would be in the interests of justice to vacate the hearing to a date when all the issues can be given the proper weight.

Whatever happens, you can see that the underlying tactic by Riley’s legal team is still to drain my funds, so I won’t have enough to defend myself.

If the appeal happens with a short, two-hour hearing, then I will have been forced to try to raise a large amount of money in a tiny period of time, which is unfair on my funders (meaning you).

If I manage that, but the case is sent back to the High Court because it involves new arguments, or is adjourned to a later date to allow more time, then I will have to ask you for even more money – which is again unfair on you.

It seems clear to me that Mark Lewis and his team at Patron Law know perfectly well what they are doing. They could have requested an adjournment to allow the longer hearing that they know their new case deserves, but they deliberately chose not to. I think that was to put pressure on you – my funders – to put you off helping me.

So I find myself in the awful position of having to ask you to support me with anything you can, as soon as you can – and to urge anybody you know, who might still by sympathetic to justice, to do the same – knowing that I am asking a lot and you may run out of patience.

And I have to do this, knowing that I may have to ask you for even more, possibly very soon after the April 27 hearing.

By now you are probably tired of reading the instruction, but I have to repeat them. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the CrowdJustice site.

It is a diabolical situation and I am sure that Patron Law – and Rachel Riley – intended it.

Riley has tried to use her huge wealth to buy justice in this case, ever since she started her case against me nearly two years ago.

With your help, I have come a long way. My public interest defence has a very high chance of success, if I can bring it to a trial.

I think that is why Riley and her people are trying so hard to make this appeal unaffordable for me.

As I say, I have asked my own lawyers to request a postponement that will allow all the necessary work to happen, provide enough court time for all the arguments to be properly aired, and allow me to raise the funds necessary for all of it.

But I must proceed on the basis that this will not happen and a very short, two-hour appeal will happen on April 27.

Please help me ensure that, if that is what must happen, I can not only bring my case to the court, but also bring my best case.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Time is running out! Help Mike fund his appeal against wrong-headed Riley ruling

Happier days: Vox Political’s Mike Sivier with the correction he secured from the last organisation to publish falsehoods about him. Hopefully, one day soon, you’ll see an image of Mike with an apology by Rachel Riley.

The week after a judge struck out my defence against Rachel Riley’s libel case against me was… eventful, wasn’t it?

In many ways it was one of a kind I hope I’ll never see again: extremely stressful, with a large amount of hard work.

The element that kept me going through this struggle was certainly the response to my appeal for funds to fight back. You provided around £11,000 in a single week and this has enabled me to get started on an appeal, and on submitting another defence.

Even though I am taking the strike-out to the Court of Appeal, the trial is still going on, and I don’t currently have any defence against Riley’s false allegations.

(They are still false, you see. They will always be false. She deliberately targeted a teenage girl with anxiety problems for psychological manipulation, coercion and bullying and made her a target for dogpiling and for threats to her safety, traumatising the young person concerned. That is the fact of the matter, whether a High Court judge accepts it or not.)

If the Court of Appeal accepts my application, then it may be possible to delay the trial – it should be, in the interests of justice. But it seems nothing is certain. And I must present something to defend against Riley’s allegations in the meantime.

Fortunately, there is a large amount of material available for me to use. She is extremely loose-lipped, especially (albeit metaphorically) on Twitter, and seems to delight in making daft statements.

For example, she recently made a comment about “the need for anti-black racism”. It may well have been a Freudian slip – she seemed to be discussing the need to oppose such racism – but the fact that it happened shows that she is a person whose pronouncements must be questioned, whose words cannot be trusted.

And this means that she cannot claim to have suffered significant harm to her reputation; any harm she has suffered, she has done to herself.

Nor can she claim that anything I have said can possibly have harmed her – for reasons I’ll keep to myself for the moment. Her legal team watch this site like hawks; while I may not have much cash, I think I can afford to let them stew for a while.

The fact remains that, even with the £11K that you raised for me in a single week – and I’m still reeling with amazement at the size of that response – the appeal alone is expected to cost around £30,000. If I win, I believe I will get it back, along with the cost of defending the strike-out application, and this may make the trial much easier – but we are a long way from that point now.

And time is running out. I have nine days in which to lodge my appeal and file a new defence.

So, once more, I have to say, please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

From the way she behaves, one would think Rachel Riley has already won this case.

Let’s remind her that she is gravely mistaken.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Riley’s lawyers attack Mike’s crowdfunding site

Before anyone comments, I know that UK courts don’t use the gavel. This is for illustrative purposes.

What are they afraid of?

Well, there’s a simple answer to that: Rachel Riley’s legal team knows that a judge’s decision to strike out my defence against her libel claims is not safe and wants to ensure that I don’t have the financial ability to challenge it.

Initially, according to my own solicitor (I don’t have any direct contact), Patron Law took a very strong line that many of the assertions in my updates on CrowdJustice had been proved to be defamatory by Mrs Justice Collins Rice’s judgment of January 20 and that my fundraising web pages should be taken down completely.

That has now been moderated. The firm now says it has written to CrowdJustice asking only for defamatory comments and updates to be removed. But Patron Law has not provided any information on what its members believe those comments and updates to be.

The demand would only be reasonable if I were not appealing against the judgment – and we all know that I am.

Already I have looked at the judgment in relation to the evidence I provided and have identified significant issues, in terms of both fact and law, where her judgment may be challenged. So my representatives will definitely be lodging an appeal.

This makes it entirely possible for the judgment to be cancelled (annulled?) and for my defence to be reinstated. If that happens, then it would be premature to remove any of the information from the CrowdJustice site.

I have to take a balanced view of this and have said to CrowdJustice that it is right to abide by the law and I will remove any words that offend against it at the appropriate time. Now is not the appropriate time.

Meanwhile – here’s the good news: since I made my desperate appeal for more funding, you have donated more than £9,000 to the CrowdJustice site – or to me personally. That’s in just three days! And most of it came in on the first day – around £7-8,000.

Because of this, I reached 90 per cent of my stated target and CrowdJustice asked me if I wanted to extend it. Considering the new financial demands – the appeal, costs of continuing the case in the High Court, the possibility of having to pay the costs of Riley’s application – I have raised it to £200,000.

I consider this to be a monstrous amount to have to pay for justice.

It really reinforces what I have said all along – that this case is not about the facts. It is an attempt to hijack the justice system and use it to bully somebody with fewer funds out of what little they have.

That is deplorable in itself.

The attempt to stop me from crowdfunding makes it very much worse.

My appeal is continuing and it is possible to contribute in these ways:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

You have given a lot in the last few days. Most significantly, you have given me hope.

There is more to do, though.

Let’s keep going. We can win.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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£831m ‘recovery fund’ for 72 high streets. But what will they do with £11.5m each?

Lip-chewing Sunak: if I kept wasting money on projects that won’t actually help the economy, I’d be nervous too.

I don’t get it. If high street businesses across the UK have gone to the wall because of the government’s lacklustre response to the economic effects of locking us all away from Covid-19 – how will this cash be spent?

The Tory government has announced that 72 high streets will get a share of £831 million – that’s around £11.5 million each.

Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is bitching because Boris Johnson had offered £1 billion previously, but that’s not the point.

The question is: how is it going to help?

Many people – not just conspiracy theorists! – reckon the hardship forced on small-to-medium-sized business people may have been deliberate, in order to concentrate shoppers’ money in the hands of a few very large consumer chains.

I see little actual support for high street businesses in the projects mentioned by the Guardian article:

Among the projects selected for the funding were £17.9m for the renovation of the Scala Theatre and Corn Exchange in Worcester, a scheme to build 186 homes in Birkenhead and a plan to convert empty retail units in Tamworth, Staffordshire, into community spaces.

But according to Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, the money is supposed to be for

projects that level up opportunities and create jobs right across the country.

I don’t see how the latter will be achieved by the former. It’s just throwing cash away.

It should be injected into businesses to ensure they continue to be going concerns.

But then, of course, Sunak’s government is now best-known for spaffing £11 billion on companies owned by Tory cronies, for Covid-19-related supplies that they had no idea how to provide, while experts who had applied for the work were ignored.

That should tell you everything you need to know.

If I had a pound for every time Sunak has messed up someone’s finances, I would be richer than his wife.

Source: Government names 72 high streets in England to share £831m recovery fund | Business | The Guardian

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Promise to help people self-isolate fizzles out. Will they spread Covid instead?

Pennies instead of pounds: that’s what the Tories put into their fund to help people self-isolate. Now it is running out and applicants may find themselves forced back to work, simply to make ends meet – and that might spread Covid-19 in turn.

Only a few hundred people told to self-isolate have received the £500 help pledged by Boris Johnson, sparking fears that anyone missing out will continue to go to work and spread Covid-19.

This Writer doesn’t have much to say about this because it is only a fear at the moment. But let’s all keep an eye on this story, shall we?

It could be the next Tory Covid-19 scandal.

Tough eligibility rules and depleting funds have hit take-up, research by The Independent shows, despite millions being told to stay at home as the second wave of the pandemic struck.

Some local councils revealed they had been forced to turn away many more people, warning a £15m government “discretionary” fund is exhausted – or is about to be.

In Liverpool, a staggering 76 per cent of applications were rejected, because only workers on benefits can claim for the statutory scheme, leaving others on just £95.85-a-week sick pay, if they are eligible for that.

Only 3 of the 22 cities surveyed have helped more than 1,000 people each, while six have made under 200 payments.

Source: Only a few hundred people told to self-isolate receive £500 help pledged by Boris Johnson in most cities | The Independent

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Don’t let them get away with it: next time Tories mention £63m fund to feed kids, remind them it has been SPENT

Money, money, money: and none of it is for hungry children. The £63m fund mentioned so often by Boris Johnson and others was not for that purpose and was all spent before they even started talking it up.

You know that £63 million fund Conservative ministers like Robert Jenrick, Nadhim Zahawi, Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson keep saying is available to feed poor children over school holidays?

It was all spent weeks ago.

It came to only a few hundred thousand pounds per council.

When they Tories provided it in July, it was with a proviso that the money had to be spent within 12 weeks.

And it wasn’t specifically for feeding hungry children anyway.

Here’s Peter Stefanovic:

Don’t let them get away with it.

Next time a Tory minister turns up on the media peddling this lie, complain.

Complain to that minister personally, and also to the media outlet, be it the BBC, Sky News or some local radio station operating out of a Portakabin.

Let’s expose these liars and child-starvers for what they are.

Note: This Site has been reminded that a handful of Conservatives voted in favour of feeding children during the school holidays, in rebellion against their party’s line that called for your kids to starve. Obviously they should not be targeted during protests. The are:

Caroline Ansell( quit Government post)
Robert Halfon
Jason McCartney
Anne Marie Morris
Holly Mumby-Croft

No doubt there are perfectly good reasons to criticise the above-named people as well – they are Tories, after all – but this isn’t one of them.

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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Blatant corruption as Jenrick and fellow Tory Berry allocate millions to each other’s constituencies

Robert Jenrick: he reckons it is ‘perfectly normal’ for ministers to corruptly funnel money from their own department’s funds into their own constituencies.

“Perfectly normal” is it, Robert Jenrick?

If you are utterly corrupt, it might be perfectly normal to allocate millions of pounds from a regeneration fund to your fellow MP’s constituency in return for him giving £25 million to yours. Not if you’re honest!

Jenrick tried to brazen out the Labour Party’s accusation against him when he appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show:

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has dismissed Labour’s call for an investigation into the award of a £25m regeneration grant to his constituency.

He told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show the decision to give the money to Newark, Nottinghamshire, had been taken by fellow minister Jake Berry.

Mr Jenrick said he had himself decided to grant funds to a town in Mr Berry’s constituency under the same scheme.

He called this “perfectly normal” and accused Labour of “distraction”.

The £25m was awarded to Newark under the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund, set up last year to help places that had “not always benefitted from economic growth in the same way as more prosperous areas”.

Here’s a clip of him doing just that:

Jenrick is the Secretary of State for Housing and Berry is a minister within the same government department.

The public has already passed its own verdict on whether the decisions were corrupt – and both Jenrick and Berry have been found lacking:

There will be no inquiry into this and neither Jenrick nor Berry will face the sack, or even any disciplinary action. Boris Johnson’s government doesn’t believe it is accountable to the public.

They’ll probably divert attention by claiming the controversy is about something different. Jenrick has already tried:

He added: “This is perfectly normal. Ministers don’t get involved in making decisions for their own constituency.

“But neither should their constituencies be victims of the fact that their MP is a minister.”

That is not the issue. Just to spell it out so it is perfecly clear: The issue is that ministers from the Ministry of Housing have colluded to funnel cash from that ministry’s Towns Fund into their own constituencies.

Jenrick’s passion for corruption is already well-established – remember the controversy over his decision to help Richard Desmond avoid paying £50 million to a community where he wanted to build a new development that did not conform to planning rules.

Now we may add Berry to our ever-growing list of corrupt Tories.

Source: Robert Jenrick dismisses call for constituency fund probe – BBC News

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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