Tag Archives: watchdog

Rishi Sunak is reported to Parliament’s sleaze watchdog over £1,000 Rwanda bet

Rishi Sunak: he has bet £1,000 that he will be sending refugees to Rwanda before the general election. But has he broken the rules?

Rishi Sunak may have to answer to the independent adviser on ministers’ interests and the Cabinet Secretary after other MPs claimed a bet he made over his government’s Rwanda deportation policy broke the Ministerial Code.

Here’s what he did – and whether it was a breach of the Code or not, This Writer feels sure we can all agree with Sangita Myska’s comment on it:

The Scottish National Party reported Sunak for the Code breach:

The comment from Kirsty Blackman states: “Placing a bet on the lives of vulnerable refugees fleeing war and persecution is grotesque, callous and downright cruel – and shows just how out of touch Westminster is with the values of people in Scotland.

“It’s particularly shameful that Rishi Sunak, one of the richest men in the UK, thinks it’s appropriate to accept a £1,000 wager – and will remind ordinary working families that near billionaire Sunak doesn’t have a clue what life is like for the rest of us in a cost of living crisis.

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“It also appears to be a clear breach of the Ministerial Code and the high standards that people should expect of those in public life – not least the most powerful person in Westminster.

“For Scotland, it shows Westminster has sunk to a new low and we would be better off escaping broken Brexit Britain and determining our own asylum policy with independence.”

Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael raised a point of order in the House of Commons, but failed to note that the bet was for the money to go to a refugee charity of Sunak’s choice:

The Deputy Speaker, Roger Gale, responded: “I am not a betting man myself, but I suspect that if every Member of Parliament who placed a bet on anything was required to enter it in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, the book might be rather full. The right hon. Gentleman will understand that that was a nice try, but not a matter for the Chair.”

Others have passed their own comments, including MPs like Zarah Sultana…

Journalists…

Celebrities…

And others:

This Writer simply wonders whether the complaint will be taken seriously.


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Tory MP Miriam Cates probed by standards watchdog over Partygate allegations

Miriam Cates: was she another Tory who was partying when she should have been self-isolating?

Another Tory right-winger is in trouble because she apparently thought the rules didn’t apply to her. Oh dear…

Tory MP Miriam Cates has been placed under investigation by the Commons standards watchdog for causing “significant damage” to Parliament’s reputation.

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Reports have emerged that the probe relates to a lockdown drinks party in December 2020, which Ms Cates is said to have attended. According to the Daily Mail, Ms Cates was among the guests at a birthday bash for Tory peer Baroness Jenkin and fellow backbencher Virginia Crosbie.

Ms Cates is one of eight MPs currently being investigated by the Standards Commissioner, all Tories or former Tories. These include Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing, Sir Bernard Jenkin and Virginia Crosbie, who are believed to be under investigation for allegedly attending the birthday. The Metropolitan Police closed its probe into the same event earlier this month, with no action taken against any individuals.

Ms Cates, who was elected as MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge in 2019, co-founded the right-wing New Conservatives group alongside fellow backbencher Danny Kruger. The group has called for tax cuts, significant cuts to immigration and withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights.

Source: Tory MP Miriam Cates faces probe by standards watchdog amid Partygate claims – Mirror Online


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Matt Hancock – and two other MPs – investigated by standards watchdog

In trouble again: Matt Hancock is facing an investigation by Parliament’s Commissioner for Standards, over his reaction to an investigation by Parliament’s Commissioner for Standards.

This is totally reprehensible – but it made me laugh – from Professor Tim Wilson:

Yes, once again it’s comedy time with Matt Hancock.

According to The Guardian,

The former health secretary is being looked into over allegations that he broke the MPs’ code of conduct by “lobbying the commissioner in a manner calculated or intended to influence his consideration” of whether a separate breach had been committed. It is a new offence that was added to the latest version of the code, endorsed by MPs in December 2022.

Meanwhile, the Blackpool South MP, Scott Benton, is being investigated over the use of his parliamentary email. It comes a week after Benton was caught offering to lobby ministers and obtain early access to a sensitive government report for up to £4,000 a month.

Henry Smith, a backbench Tory MP for 13 years, is also being investigated for an alleged breach of the rules on using taxpayer-funded stationery.

Hancock is said to be “surprised” at being investigated.

According to a spokesperson,

“Far from lobbying the commissioner, Matt wrote to Greenberg in good faith to offer some additional evidence that he thought was not only pertinent but helpful for an inquiry the parliamentary commissioner for standards is currently conducting.

“It’s clearly a misunderstanding and Matt looks forward to fully engaging with the commissioner to clear this up.”

That depends on one’s point of view, I expect.

Matt Hancock’s “additional evidence” may well be “lobbying” to “influence” the new Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Daniel Greenberg, who has replaced Kathryn Stone – as far as Mr Greenberg is concerned.

This Writer is certainly looking forward to the next episode of the Matt Hancock story. Aren’t you?

Source: Matt Hancock among three MPs placed under investigation by standards watchdog | House of Commons | The Guardian


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Johnson’s crony Con club: his government ignored 171 other candidates to employ his chum

Laughing at us: Boris Johnson appointed his former Bullingdon Club colleague to Parliament’s sleaze watchdog, over 171 other applicants. It seems clear he did it to ensure that he would never be found guilty of the many corruption accusations made against him.

We all screamed “foul” when it was revealed that Boris Johnson’s government had appointed his Bullingdon Club chum Ewen Fergusson to Parliament’s sleaze watchdog.

Was he put in the Committee on Standards in Public Life to rubber-stamp Johnson’s offences as being within reasonable standards of behaviour, we asked (or at least, This Writer did).

Now we have more evidence, and it suggests that he was.

Why else would Johnson’s government have appointed his friend over 171 other applicants who were not directly and personally linked to him – in the face of objections that the connection should disqualify Fergusson altogether?

As The Independent puts it,

The longtime friend of the prime minister was appointed to scrutinise him.

By the way: final say on who got the job went to Boris Johnson. He chose his friend for the position.

If you wanted an honest verdict on your own actions, would you appoint a personal friend to provide it? I wouldn’t. My friends would tell me if they thought I was going wrong, but they’d never voluntarily say so to strangers.

And this was pointed out by the Labour Party (even though it shouldn’t have to be):

Labour said friends of the prime minister should be disqualified from the role on the Committee on Standards In Public Life, given the nature of its job scrutinising members of the government, including Mr Johnson.

“Being Boris Johnson’s chum from the Bullingdon Club does not qualify you to sit on the watchdog that is supposed to crack down on sleaze and cronyism in our politics. In fact, it should disqualify you,” deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner told The Independent.

“This appointment is an utter joke, and out of 173 applicants of course the Bullingdon Boy fits the job description of marking the prime minister’s homework.

It is a joke. And next time Johnson gets accused of corruption, and his Bullingdon chum green-lights it, he’ll be the one laughing at all of us.

Source: Government passed over 171 candidates to pick Bullingdon Club ‘chum’ of Boris Johnson for sleaze watchdog role | The Independent

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Sunak is reported to statistics watchdog for misleading the public about poverty increase

Rishi Sunak: misleading on poverty.

Here’s another lie from the Party of Liars:

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been reported to the UK’s statistics watchdog over Labour claims he misled the public by saying the number of people in poverty is falling – at a time when internationally recognised measures show it has risen by 1.5 million under Tory rule.

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Bridget Phillipson said the “cowardly” chancellor was corroding public trust by trying to cover up the truth on “appalling” inequalities which have seen the numbers of children in poverty rise to 4.2 million.

Boris Johnson has been repeatedly rapped over the knuckles by the watchdog over his claims that poverty has fallen under the Tories, with Office for Statistics Regulation chief Ed Humpherson issuing a formal warning to Downing Street only last month that the prime minister’s cherry-picking of statistical measures was getting in the way of public understanding of the problem.

Sunak will escape without any real punishment, no matter how severe his offence.

The fun is in finding out how ridiculous his excuse will be.

Source: Rishi Sunak facing probe over use of poverty statistics | The Independent

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Tory cronyism: Johnson appoints Bullingdon chum to ethics committee. Contradiction?

Two-fingered salute:: Boris Johnson’s answer to those of us who accuse him of cronyism.

We point out their corruption by taking them to court for giving cash to their cronies, and the Tories simply shrug and do it again.

Boris Johnson has appointed a former Bullingdon Club colleague, Ewen Fergusson, to sit on Whitehall’s “sleaze” watchdog – the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Is this so his friend can rubber-stamp all Johnson’s own offences as being well within reasonable standards of behaviour?

Questions have already been raised about the appointment, which was approved by Johnson, as you can read in this Guardian article.

And the reaction outside the Tory bubble has been… as one might expect:

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‘Richie’: Sunak’s referral to ethics watchdog over wife’s vast wealth won’t address the real problem

The paper trail: financial holdings of Rishi Sunak, his wife Akshata Murty and her family are explained in this image, originally published by The Guardian.

How can a man as insanely rich as Rishi Sunak is – through the wealth of his wife and her family – honestly have any understanding of the struggles normal people are suffering as a result of his many decisions to cut their income?

He can’t.

That is the concern that we face after the revelation that the Tory Chancellor did not declare wealth larger than that of the Queen in the register of ministerial interests.

It won’t be addressed by Lord Evans, chair of the committee on standards in public life, because there is no rule requiring him to.

So the referral to the ethics watchdog by Labour’s Tonia Antoniazzi and James Murray may be seen as a pointless waste of time.

Here are the facts, neatly summed up in a couple of tweets:

More information is in the Guardian stories here and here.

According to the second of those stories, the Labour MPs’ referral to the ethics watchdog arises because they are concerned that Sunak’s wife’s holdings may create a potential conflict between his public and private interests.

But the Treasury has already said that Sunak “followed the ministerial code to the letter” in his declarations.

It seems he met the government’s then head of propriety and ethics, Helen MacNamara, to decide what needed to be declared before he joined the Treasury.

However: as This Writer learned only last week, a person can comply with the letter of the law and still be doing something wrong.

It doesn’t surprise me that Labour MPs are trying to tease out the nature of any wrong-doing by Sunak, because it was Labour that mistreated me.

Despite adhering to the letter of its rules on investigating anti-Semitism allegations against me, Labour ignored the requirements of its actual procedures in order to falsify a case against me, and manufactured an incorrect verdict. I had to go to court to have the facts revealed.

Will anything come of an investigation into Sunak? Doubtful. There’s no law against being ignorant of the way the other half live.

But if we know that Sunak is so far removed from the rest of us, we may also draw logical conclusions about his ability to create policies for everybody in the UK, no matter how deprived – or his lack of any such ability.

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Tories have weakened green watchdog so it can do nothing about climate change after Brexit

Typical Tories.

They don’t want any inconveniences like concern for the environment we all inhabit to get in the way of the profits they make from highly-polluting carbon fuels.

So they have deliberately weakened the UK’s green watchdog organisation, making it unable to ensure ministers act on this important issue.

This is after they promised to ensure ministers fulfil their obligations.

They’re a gang of greedy, polluting liars.

Ministers are “deliberately weakening” the green watchdog that will hold the government to account after Britain leaves the EU, according to Labour’s shadow Brexit minister.

Theresa May pledged last January to create a “world-leading, independent, statutory body” to ensure ministers stick to their commitments – replacing the power of the European commission to take governments to the European court of justice (ECJ) for not fulfilling their obligations.

Yet the UK watchdog will not have any powers relating to climate change, an issue of heightened public concern since the summer heatwave that has seen wildfires in the north of England and outbreaks of tropical diseases in parts of Europe.

Matthew Pennycook, Labour’s Brexit spokesman, said: “Our EU membership has been key to delivering and enforcing UK emission reductions. In choosing to exclude climate change from the remit of their environmental watchdog, ministers are deliberately weakening the tools we have to hold them to account. The Brexit process cannot be used as a cover to water down the UK’s leadership on climate change.”

Source: UK’s green watchdog will be powerless over climate change post-Brexit | Environment | The Guardian

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