News from Southwark Crown Court – Lord Taylor gets a year!

At the sentencing hearing this morning at Southwark Crown Court, Mr Justice Saunders said that Lord Taylor had lied to the Court and Jury, under oath.

He is quoted as saying: “The expenses scheme in the House of Lords was based on trust. Peers certified that their claims were accurate. They were not required to provide proof. It was considered that people who achieved a peerage could be relied on to be honest. Making false claims involved a breach of a high degree of trust. The expenses scandal has affected the standing not just of the House of Commons but also the House of Lords.”

Lord Taylor has been sentenced to a year, but will serve three months at most, before being released under the schemes currently operating.

The Expenses Saga – What Have We Learned? How Trust Can Be Restored!

The long running expenses scandal has provided clues that illuminate the murky depths in much the same way, you can see more below the surface of a smooth pond, if you throw a few stones in!

Even the role played by other central players, some still on the green benches, was illuminated in an excellent Play broadcast on the BBC last year. The role of Speaker Martin and his closest allies in encouraging a climate of laxity and excess when it came to claiming expenses was crucial!

The cases of Jim Devine, David Chaytor, Eric Illsley and Lord Taylor plus the investigation of Denis MacShane, have taught us much about the attitudes and methods employed in claiming expenses beyond expenditure! Otherwise known as fraud to you and me!

Investigative journalism, assisted by a rather important leak to the Telegraph, has also contributed an enormous amount of detail, unlocking the inside secrets that would never have reached public attention were it not for them.

Members of Parliament, never shrinking violets at the best of times, made the erroneous assumption that they were important and were underpaid! The incoming Labour Government in 1997 were anxious to maintain peace on their benches and it became the practise to expand the interpretation of the ‘Green Book’ to allow significantly larger claims. Eventually all relationship with the original intention of the rules broke down and by all accounts there was a free for all!

Those MPs given to greed, were practically give the green light to fiddle their expenses. Labour members were advised to ‘fill your boots’ and as we now know they most certainly did! Speaker Martin and his crew bear a heavy responsibility too, the Fees Office were so undermined that any objection from them fell on deaf ears, they stopped checking claims properly, which only compounded the problem. Many MPs made ‘arrangements’ with the Fees Office to pay invoices, believing this would ‘cover them’ if questions were to be later asked?

As we know, with claims for Duck Houses and moat cleaning, the free for all had become so absurd it was surreal! As this story has unfolded it became clear that there was more than evidence of greed to be exposed but, amongst a group of MPs, actual fraud by means of deception! Not having the required receipts did not stop them either, they used the ‘friendly printer’ route or even made their own up, often in the most amateurish way. Propelled by an overwhelming sense of entitlement amongst this group of MPs they ceased to realise the significance of what they were doing. Equipment purchase, office rentals, computers, laptops, printers, council tax, mortgage payments, food, dry-cleaning and many other third party services such as printing became fair game in the rush to supplement their salaries.

There is an important difference between making up a claim with a false invoice and the greed involved in moat cleaning! The moat cleaning actually happened and the invoice paid, Devine’s printing did not! Moat cleaning is an example of outrageous greed, not dishonesty.

The fact that fictitious invoices can be checked through bank account records of transactions many years old simply did not occur to this group of greedy MPs. This is the problem with this crude deception, it is so easily verified!

At the time of the General Election in May 2010 Eric Illsley and Denis MacShane survived scrutiny because we didn’t know they were even under any investigation. Disgracefully there was a conspiracy of silence before the elections last May to keep this knowledge from the voter. How many more of these greedy and dishonest MPs, still enjoying an entirely undeserved reputation, are there remaining? An important question, that will be answered eventually, no doubt!

Rotherham Politics Opinion:

All public representatives are required to practise the Seven Principles of Public life.* It is time for MPs to live up to these principles and to demonstrate their leadership, openness and honesty in practical ways to restore trust in politics and politicians.

Members of Parliament serving through this period of excess, who are still MPs, should now voluntarily submit themselves to investigation by means of a proper audit of their expenses and undertake to publish the audit report along with all relevant information on their websites! We deserve nothing less than this rather modest attempt at transparency.

Perhaps in this spirit, Kevin Barron, no less than, the Chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee, a Privy Councillor, member of the General Medical Council and long serving member for Rother Valley, a true pillar of society, should now show his leadership by volunteering to be the first to clear the air, in this open and transparent way?

Notes:

*THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC LIFE
SELFLESSNESS
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.  They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.
INTEGRITY
Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
OBJECTIVITY
In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
ACCOUNTABILITY
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
OPENNESS
Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take.  They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
HONESTY
Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
LEADERSHIP
Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

Breaking News! MacShane File Passed to Prosecutors?

Greedy Pig MacShane. Picture thanks to Guido

I can report to readers a breaking news story said to relate to Rotherham’s own greedy piggy of an MP, Denis MacShane.

After an investigation by the Metropolitan Police a file has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for their consideration.

This is the ninth file passed to the CPS. Of the other eight, six have resulted in prosecutions still going through the Courts system and two were not proceeded with.

This will now be considered by the special team, set up last year to consider political expenses cases, by Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer and Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson.

Former Labour MPs David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine have been charged with theft by false accounting. earlier this year. David Chaytor now faces jail after he pleaded guilty to stealing more than £20,000 at the Old Bailey last Friday. He will be sentenced in the new year.

Former Tory Essex County Council leader Lord Hanningfield, also known as Paul White, faces six charges of making dishonest claims for allowances. former Tory peer Lord Taylor, full name John David Beckett Taylor, is to face six charges of false accounting.

Eric Illsley, the sitting former Labour MP for Barnsley Central, now sitting as an Independent (as is MacShane), is currently suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party and is awaiting trial and is accused of dishonestly claiming more than £20,000.

In March, Labour peer Lady Uddin was told she will not face prosecution over expenses for a flat in Kent which was apparently not occupied for long periods.

Lord Clarke of Hampstead is the second person to be told they will face no further action.

The small number of cases still under investigation by police are believed to include former Labour MP Margaret Moran, former Labour MP Harry Cohen and Labour Independent MP Denis MacShane.

Who says Christmas only comes once a year! Celebrate!

See also:

News from the Courts 1 – Greedy Pig, Chaytor Pleads Guilty! Aitken Moment?

Labour’s Greedy Pigs, David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine – Still Fighting Justice!

Supreme Court Judgement – David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine. No Parliamentary Privilege! Crown Court Looms!

Reading the Runes? or would that be Runiczny?

Democratic Outrage! Was there a ‘conspiracy of silence’ that concealed the full truth about ‘Dissembling’ Denis from the Voters of Rotherham?

Rotherham Hangs It’s Head in (Mac)Shame! Denis MacShane – Metropolitan Police Investigation! Suspended from Labour Party! More links of interest at end of this post.

Rotherham Hangs It's Head in (Mac)Shame! Denis MacShane – Metropolitan Police Investigation! Suspended from Labour Party!

Another snout in the trough?

It has been revealed today, that Rotherham’s Labour MP, Denis MacShane is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police for his less than open and now it would appear, less than honest approach to his parliamentary claims.

The complaint of 7th July 2009 was indeed submitted by a BNP activist, who is being referred to as the ‘Sleaze buster’, one Michael Barnbrook. The responses to his original complaint can now be viewed here on the website of the BNP Reform Group. Despite the source of the complaint, we should all be grateful that this sorry saga is now to be thoroughly investigated. There are further issues, that go to the heart of our democratic procedures, that will be the subject of a later posting.

In the report of the 12th October Meeting, published 14th October, 2010 of the, Committee on Standards and Privileges reads:

‘the Committee agreed that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards should report to the Metropolitan Police Service the conduct of the Rt hon Member for Rotherham, Mr Denis MacShane’.

This blog, Peter Thirlwall’s Parliamentary Website and Rotherham Independents has featured many of the questionable purchases made on Parliamentary expenses and has openly criticised him for this. Now we feel totally vindicated and Peter Thirlwall’s attempt to raise many of these issues during the General Election campaign now fully justified.

We warned the voters of the Rotherham Constituency and Denis Himself, that MacShane would be eventually forced to answer the many justifiable questions his constituents have asked him but have gone unanswered. Now it has come to pass!  We are willing to present our evidence of MacShane’s less than honest or justifiable expenses claims to the Metropolitan Police who we feel confident will be asking Denis many questions and they will. no doubt, get the answers we were denied.

This slippery, oily, arrogant and self-aggrandising politician looks set to follow ‘Honest’ Eric Illsley, Barnsley’s own disgraced MP, into Court to pay the price for his wrongdoing, along with Elliot Morley, Jim Devine and David Chaytor as well as Tories Lord Hanningfield and Lord Taylor.

Now suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party and presumably the Labour Party, it is further evidence that Labour did a very poor job at vetting it’s candidates prior to the General Election and gives the lie to Gordon Brown’s claims to have done so, yet again Labour has let us down so badly! How many more greedy MPs will will come out of the ‘woodwork’ into the light one wonders?

Denis MacShane claimed £125,000 in office costs for this! It's Rotherham! NOT Central London!

Attached to his house in Rotherham just off Moorgate Road this is his rather expensive Constituency office in Rotherham.

No services are provided to this ‘office’ so without using his house attached his staff could not possibly work there! This may be a good time for Kath Sims, his secretary who works in this ‘office’, to look for a new job, I would have thought?

His brother, Edmund Matyjaszek, is also embroiled in this expenses controversy as Denis made a number of payments to a rather shadowy organisation called the European Policy Institute for ‘research and translation’. Headmaster Edmund, may come to regret this grubby little arrangement with his brother.

Many questions are still being asked about the eight laptops he bought from his parliamentary expenses, where are they now? Where have they been? Who has been using them? All unanswered.

These issues and the many other questionable expenses arrangements he has made over the years look set to bite him on the backside, big style!

We may now have a clue as to why he is so upset with IPSA and the new arrangements, making it more difficult to conceal any ‘Spanish’ practises from the authorities, perhaps?

In some parts of the Rotherham Constituency Labour Party there are quiet celebrations at Denis’s discomfiture and the sound of knives being sharpened ready for another attempt to rid themselves of  this odious and disagreeable man, who they didn’t want in the first place. Power to their elbows I say!

There is also a small group of very embarrassed supporters who are ruing the day they signed his nomination papers only a few months ago. They should be suitably chastened, because their actions now look foolish indeed! I hope they are proud of themselves for the shame they helped to bring to our Town.

Roll Call of Dishonour, MacShane’s signatories to his nomination:

Anna Chester, Keith Brisland, Barry Kaye, Ian Barron, Julie Currie, John Foden, Ian Jones, Kath Sims, Richard Crow, Sarah Crow, Mahroof Hussain, Zlakha Ahmed, Tracey Jones, Nellie McHale, Christine Burgess, Quereshi Parveen, Diana Swanson, Roger Swanson, Dave Pickering, Subodh Kapoor, Jahangir Akhtar, James Burgess, Simon Currie, Rekha Kapoor, Stephen Parkin, John Price, Tom Henley, Craig Mitchell, Alan Buckley and Ruth Hobson.

In the Press:

Banbury Guardian

Belfast Telegraph

Daily Mail

Daily Star

Daily Telegraph

epolitix

Financial Times

Guardian Story 1, Story2.

Hemsworth & South Elmsall Express

Herald Scotland

Independent

Ireland Online

London Evening Standard

Mirror

New Statesman

Rotherham Advertiser

Rotherham Star

Spectator

Sunderland Echo

USAToday

Yahoo News

Yorkshire Evening Post

Yorkshire Post

Broadcasters:

BreakingNews.ie

BBC

Sky

PressTV Iranian

Ulster TV

Blogs:

AVForums

Capital Bay

Don’t Get Fooled Again

Fulwood

Free Library

FT Westminster Blog

Guido Fawkes

LabourList

Millers Mad

Neil Clark

politics.co.uk

Surely Some Mistake

Whistleblower

Wikio

See also:

MPs who abused expenses staff should be named, former watchdog claims

Swearing MPs abuse expenses staff ‘monkeys’

House of Commons chiefs ‘failing to stop sex pest MPs’

Expenses chiefs urged to name MPs who called them ‘monkeys’

Denis MacShane working hard for Rotherham?

Denis’s Rant! – now the analysis, what was really on his mind?

What planet is MacShane on?

Disgraceful Denis, disgraces himself again! This time for being drunk and not fully in charge of his mouth!

Forgemasters £80M Loan Cancelled! Labour Cynicism Revealed!

Disgraceful Denis, disgraces himself again! This time for being drunk and not fully in charge of his mouth!

MacShane still doesn’t get it! Give us our money back!

Look! Who was missing! Yes it was MacShane, of course!

MacShane the Truth! Time for Change in Rotherham!

Peter Thirlwall, Independent for Rotherham. What motivates my campaign!

MacShane or is that MacShame, makes friends with Guido Fawkes Again!

Question Time for MacShane?

Peter’s Perspective – On MacShane

More Questions for MacShane?

MacShane has many questions to answer?

‘Two Homes’ MacShane must go! Part 2

‘Two Homes’ MacShane must go!

MP’s Expenses – What’s on the Web

MacShane PFIM No 2

MacShane PFIM No1

Lord Taylor of Warwick, Tory Peer Appears in Court!

Lord Taylor of Warwick Disgraced Tory Peer

The disgraced Tory, Lord Taylor of Warwick, full name John David Beckett Taylor, appeared at Southwark Crown Court over the parliamentary expenses scandal today in a plea hearing.

The 58 year old denied charges of dishonestly claiming more than £24,300 in overnight subsistence and mileage.

He has been charged with six counts of false accounting.

The first charge alleges that on or around March 31 2006 he dishonestly submitted claims for overnight subsistence and car mileage, stating his main home was outside London when he lived in the capital.

The other five charges allege similar claims were made on July 3 2006, October 31 2006, April 5 2007, July 2 2007 and October 31 2007.

He will be back in court again, More then.

Previous Story: Tory Lord Taylor in Court!

Tory Lord Taylor in Court!

Lord Taylor of Warwick has appeared today before the City of Westminster magistrates court to be formally charged with six counts of making fraudulent claims.

Disgraced Tory Peer Lord Taylor of Warwick

The first charge alleges that, on or about March 31st 2006, Lord Taylor dishonestly submitted claims for overnight subsistence and car mileage stating that his main place of residence was outside London when he did not reside at the address he had given but actually resided in the capital.

The five other charges allege that similar claims were made on July 3rd 2006, October 31st 2006, April 5th 2007, July 2nd 2007 and October 31st 2007.

Lord Taylor of Warwick is alleged to have dishonestly claimed more than £24,300 in overnight subsistence and mileage claims.

His case will be heard later at Southwark Crown Court.

Now time for Tory expenses embarrassment!!

Lord Taylor of Warwick a Tory peer and practising barrister, has been charged with six counts of false accounting in relation to alleged dishonest claims he made for £11,000 in subsistence costs.

It has just been announced that he has resigned the Tory Whip.

He tried unsuccessfully to become an MP, Cheltenham in 1992, losing to a Liberal after a disgraceful campaign with significant racist undertones. Embarrassingly this was one of the then safest Tory seats which they lost with a black candidate. Afterwards working as a Government Adviser, Lord Taylor became the Tories’ first black member of the Lords in 1996.

£11,000 is a lot of money!  Did no one realise that he had ‘padded’ his claims? Was Cameron unaware of this before today? Why was the whip not withdrawn sooner? Why did the Tories wait for him to jump?

There will be more to follow this sixth parliamentarian to be charged, as the police carry out further investigations into members of both Houses of Parliament.

His five fellow accused are former Labour MPs – Eliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine – serving Labour MP – Eric Illsley and Conservative peer – Lord Hanningfield are already charged under the Theft Act.

Current score: Labour 4 – 2 Tories.

Zac Goldsmith, the Tory MP for Richmond Park, is in difficulties it would appear over his accounting in his expenses returns for the money used in his campaign. There are strict upper limits placed on election expenditure and are being alleged to have been exceeded in this case. £11,003 was the limit here, just 1/24 of the sums donated by him since 2007. Funny how the sum of £11,000 keeps cropping up!

Zac Goldsmith is ‘filthy rich’ so a challenge was always likely because for Zac, the upper spending limits were but mere small change! If proved, this will be another embarrassment for DC when he is riding so high in the polls.

He has donated £264,000 to Richmond Park, his local Conservative association since 2007, a record I believe, for a single candidate! Most of it generated by being a Non Dom tax evader for most of this time, no doubt! Until very recently that is.

Oh Dear! Business as usual!

Rik