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Re: British Politics

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:12 pm
by burnt fare
The expense scandal is drawing attention away from the government's bailout of the banks. And making more of a deal about the upcoming election. Who has a longer memory, the voters or an elephant?

Re: British Politics

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:35 pm
by CielOnTap
June 4, 2009
James Purnell resignation shocks Gordon Brown
From Times Online

Gordon Brown was dealt a devastating blow last night as James Purnell quit the Cabinet and told him to stand down to save the Labour Party.

The Work and Pensions Secretary’s sensational decision, given to the Prime Minister shortly before polling ended in the European and local elections, left an already damaged Mr Brown in grave peril. He told Mr Brown to stand aside and give Labour a “fighting chance of winning”.

The departure of such a talented minister in a crucial reforming role raised immediate questions over whether other ministers would follow, and whether Mr Brown had the authority to complete his Cabinet reshuffle.

Re: British Politics

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:07 pm
by CielOnTap
The British satirical press has pointed out that the housing expenses, that are partially responsible for the public outcry over MPs expenses, came out of a rule change made in 2004 by former PM, Tony Blair.


TONY BLAIR and accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers jointly helped push through a rule change in 2004 that brought the MPs’ expenses scandal to the heart of government. Without Blair’s new rule, explicitly designed to boost ministers’ expenses, many of the current frontbench embarrassments would not now be an issue.

Searching on the Internet, what articles do I find on the Additional Costs Allowances:

Blair approves £18,000 allowance for ministers' second homes
By Francis Elliott, Deputy Political Editor
Sunday, 4 January 2004

Tony Blair has cleared the way for his ministers to receive an extra £18,000 a year to help them keep a second home.

The perk follows pressure from some government ministers who say that they are struggling to make ends meet on annual salaries of up to £128,000. They want to be able to claim the same benefit claimed by backbench MPs serving constituencies outside inner London, which is intended to help them keep a home in the capital.Approves

The most senior member of the Government to benefit from the change would be Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
What a coincidence, the person who is the current Prime Minister.

Tony Blair took out £300,000 mortgage on constituency house that was 'worth just £150,000'
By Glen Owen
Last updated at 10:29 AM on 25th May 2008

Tony Blair took out a mortgage of almost £300,000 on his constituency house – double its estimated value – to help fund his growing property empire.

The unusually generous arrangement, revealed in a breakdown of MPs’ expenses, was last night condemned by critics who said it highlighted how politicians could use their taxpayer-funded second homes as ‘cash machines’.

Mr Blair bought Myrobella, in Trimdon, County Durham, when he won his Sedgefield seat in the 1983 General Election. Mortgage How can the UK public obtain such mortgages?

Re: British Politics

PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 4:07 pm
by CielOnTap
Seems there is much discontent within the ranks of the UK government. The expense scandal was just the cover that opened up to reveal the power plays happening.

June 7, 2009

E-mails damn ‘angry and insecure’ Gordon Brown
Jonathan Oliver, Political Editor
LORD MANDELSON, the business secretary, penned a devastating critique of Gordon Brown’s character, labelling him “insecure”, “self-conscious” and “angry”, according to leaked e-mails.

The memos are understood to state that Mandelson thought Brown was too preoccupied with celebrity gimmicks and should concentrate on “strategic policy formulation” rather than “telling people that you watch The X-Factor”. Only last week the prime minister telephoned to inquire about the health of Susan Boyle, the Britain’s Got Talent runner-up who had been admitted to the Priory suffering from exhaustion.

Mandelson also suggested that Brown could not win the next general election unless he brought back more heavy hitters into the cabinet.

Re: British Politics

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:09 pm
by CielOnTap
Britain Releases Censored List of Expenses
Published: June 18, 2009
After weeks of newspaper disclosures and political turmoil swirling around the expense accounts of legislators, the British authorities finally published their own version of the accounts on Thursday, but with crucial data blacked out.

The dubious expense claims have forced a string of legislators and ministers to quit, the latest of them late Wednesday when Kitty Ussher, a junior Treasury minister, resigned over allegations published in The Daily Telegraph newspaper that she had avoided capital gains tax worth around $27,000 through the practice of redesignating a second home as her primary residence.

Under British government rules, legislators may claim up to $38,000 a year to defray the costs of a second home, either in their electoral district or near Parliament in London. While primary residences do not incur capital gains tax when they are sold, profit on second homes is taxable. The Daily Telegraph said Ms. Ussher had redesignated a second home as a primary residence shortly before selling it. The financial maneuver has become known as “flipping” and several other politicians have been accused of profiting from it.

Re: British Politics

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:27 am
by CielOnTap
Double-o oops: Wife of new British spy chief puts family details on Facebook
JILL LAWLESS | Associated Press Writer
5:43 AM CDT, July 5, 2009
LONDON (AP) — He's the spy who came in from the beach.

Holiday snapshots and family details about the newly appointed head of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency have been removed from a Facebook page after a newspaper told the government about them.

Pictures from the social networking Web site published in the Mail on Sunday newspaper show John Sawers posing with his children, wearing a Santa hat and playing Frisbee on a beach.,0,291385.story

Re: British Politics

PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:21 am
by deja vu
A housekeeper who worked illegally for Attorney General Baroness Scotland has been arrested, police have said. Tongan Loloahi Tapui, 27, and a man aged 40 thought to be her husband, were arrested by UK Border Agency staff at their home in West London on Wednesday. Police said they were arrested over alleged immigration offences and both bailed until next month.

Baroness Scotland's job is under pressure after she was ordered to pay a £5,000 fine by the UK Border Agency. The agency said the attorney general had taken steps to check that Ms Tapui was eligible to work, but had not kept copies of the documents, as required by law.

I'm having a hard time believing the AG. She''s the top cop and it's hard to believe shs did not know she had to keep the paperwork.

Re: British Politics

PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:17 pm
by fishandchips
Oct 23, 2009
Armed police patrols in London - but no-one told Boris
You'd think that a decision as important as putting armed police patrols into gun crime hotspots in London might have been discussed between the top brass at the Yard and the tiller-handlers at City Hall.

But when we contacted Bojo's office for a comment on the deployment yesterday neither the Mayor nor his staff had heard a word about it. Kit Malthouse, deputy mayor for policing, was away but it wasn't a case that he had forgot to tell the Mayor - no-one had bothered to mention it to him either.

Meanwhile there was flat-spin pandemonium at Scotland Yard as the story emerged in Police Review and a hasty response had to be put together. Of course, we thought, this is Sir Paul Stephenson making a major operational decision without talking to the Mayor and therefore putting on a display of police independence.

Er, land of next Summer Games needs to coordinate with London so that all organizations are working together on decisions. If such a decision was made without telling London/Londoners, one has got to wonder what will happen with police during the Games. Especially as international visitors are going to be expected to snap up those tickets and help the economy with their accomodation and shopping needs.

Today's followup on the situation:
Oct 27, 2009
Sir Paul Stephenson full statement on "routine armed patrols"

You don't have to read between the lines to discover that someone has had a h*** of a dressing down since the Commissioner returned to the office.

"I wish to be clear: there have not been any routine armed foot patrols, and nor will there be any.

"Fewer than ten intelligence-led specific operations have been undertaken by C019 which involved providing back up to neighbourhood teams. These were pre-planned operations, with specific objectives and timescales and were by no means routine in any way.

"This tactic was put together by officers for the best of reasons, to support and protect the local community and local unarmed officers. However, I believe that unfortunately there has been a failure to appreciate that this could look like a significant change of policing style. The way in which we have communicated this has led to the mistaken impression that we have created regular armed uniform foot patrols. That is not the case and it is not going to happen. I am very proud of the unarmed civilian service tradition of the Metropolitan Police Service and am determined to uphold it. When this apparent foot patrolling extension of existing tactics came to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner on Thursday he immediately instructed that this was not an option.

Then this other bit:
From Times Online October 27, 2009

'Furious' Met chief abandons plan for armed patrols
Sean O’Neill, Crime Editor
Scotland Yard has abandoned plans for armed foot patrols and marksmen on motorbikes in gun crime hotspots in the face of mounting political criticism.

Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, was forced to withdraw the proposal before a meeting of his police authority on Thursday, where he would have faced fierce criticism.

The plan to deploy armed officers on the beat as a response to rising gun crime in the capital was announced last week when Sir Paul was out of the country.

So who's in charge and who's covering up?

Re: British Politics

PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:52 pm
by fishandchips
So many good articles to post from the one source today that it would be a pity to overlook any of the articles. The noise about MP expenses is resulting in tighter rules on who can claim second homes and such.

From Times Online October 27, 2009

MPs stunned by expenses clampdown
Sam Coates, Chief Political Correspondent
MPs will be banned from claiming for a second home if their nearest railway station is within 60 minutes of the Houses of Parliament, the review into MPs’ expenses will recommend next week.

Up to 100 Home Counties MPs may be caught by the new rule, which will be announced next week by Sir Christopher Kelly, chairman of the committee on Standards in Public Life, who has been conducting an inquiry into parliamentary expenses.

MPs further afield will also face a total ban on claiming mortgage interest, forcing them to rent properties in London or in their constituencies, The Times can reveal.

Re: British Politics

PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 7:09 pm
by CielOnTap
Someone's got reason to keep the bell in his bell tower silent: he billed UK taxpayers for the tower repair. But the news has come out now.

MPs expenses: Labour minister Quentin Davies claimed £20,000 bill to repair his bell tower on country estate
By Tim Shipman
Last updated at 12:04 AM on 11th December 2009

A minister's £20,000 expenses claim for repairs to his roof and bell tower yesterday torpedoed Labour's class war campaign against 'Tory toffs'.
Details of MPs' most recent claims laid bare the way Labour members milked the system to live like lords.
Defence Minister Quentin Davies submitted an invoice for more than £20,000 to repair the bell tower and a lead gutter at his country home, but after the expenses scandal broke last May, he told Commons officials he never meant to claim for the tower.

A list about three articles down on the link shows this intriguing entry:
New expenses claims also revealed how Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband bought gallons of taxpayer-funded spring water for his office - despite Government advice that it is bad for the environment.