Monthly Archives: February 2010

Jim Pickard

“Elliot Morley has no issues”

“David Chaytor has no issues” Read more

Jim Pickard

If you want proof of disagreement between Legg and Kennedy here it is. I won’t go into the details of Peter Lilley’s mortgage claims – too complex. But Kennedy has struck off the entire £41k claim, saying:

“I am at a loss to understand why the review should state that what you did was not permitted under the ACA.” Read more

When Legg first started seving MPs with big bills, one of the big complaints was over the “arbitrary” limit he put on cleaning expenses. One MP told the Guardian: “If you employ a cleaner for five to six hours a week, pay a decent wage and pay national insurance, there are consequences.”

Well, as this excellent graph in the Legg report shows, 93 per cent of MPs managed to keep their cleaning bills below £2,000. (Not sure what that says about the cleanliness of their homes or their terms and conditions.) It is a vindication of sorts for Legg’s limit. Note the sudden fall in cleaning expenses in 2008/9 once the system began to come under serious scrutiny. Britain’s cleaning industry seems to have taken a big hit. Not sure which MP claimed £5,400 in a year. Read more

Jim Pickard

An interesting piece of maths for you. Legg’s repayments come to £1.3m. But this has been reduced by £185,000 by the Sir Paul Kennedy review…..making £1.12m.

But the cost of hiring the former mandarin and his entourage has come to £1.16m. Read more

Jim Pickard

Legg is out in full: Here are some interesting points.

He ordered £1.3m to be paid back by a total of about 390 MPs – of which £800,000 has already been repaid. Read more

Predictably there is a touch of farce to today’s defence Green paper. The study itself is sober to a fault. But somehow the main story of the day is not whether Britain’s military clout is waning but whether Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, chief of the defence staff and ace fighter pilot, thinks the RAF could be abolished.

Here is the deliciously absurd press statement the MoD have put out: Read more

Jim Pickard

A curious rumour reaches my ear: that David Davis, former shadow home affairs secretary, could have his eye on an altogether different prize – chairmanship of the Treasury Select Committee. Read more

Jim Pickard

It’s a fairly tedious-looking document. But today’s report by the obscure “procedure committee” for the Commons has one rather interesting recommendation:

We recommend that this House be given an opportunity to decide between the options of retaining the current procedure for re-electing a former Speaker at the start of a new Parliament or of adopting a secret ballot for deciding this question, rather than a division.  Read more

Jim Pickard

Sky is breaking the news that Gordon Brown will do a one-hour interview with Piers Morgan, former editor of the Daily Mirror, during the general election campaign. Read more

Jim Pickard

I read on the front page of the Telegraph that George Osborne will give savers a better deal – “restoring a savings culture to the heart of the economy”.

The shadow chancellor wants to help people save by enrolling workers into pensions, restoring the link between the state pension and average earnings and helping savers who have been hit by the abolition of the dividend tax credit for pension funds. Read more

Jim Pickard

Interesting to see Sion Simon quitting as MP for Erdington. Simon is stepping down as a junior minister this month and leaving at election time.

The 41-year-old said he wants to spend more time in his constituency and lobbying to become Birmingham’s first elected mayor. Read more

Jim Pickard

This morning’s Chilcott appearance by Clare Short was every bit as rumbustious as you might expect. She blamed the military – rather than DFiD for the disastrous post-invasion reconstruction of Iraq. She accused Blair of “conning” her. And she claimed that Lord Goldsmith “misled” colleagues over the legality of the war. Read more

Jim Pickard

It was all just a dream.

You may have thought that the Tories were the party of fiscal probity. You may have thought that they were the ones who were going to get a grip on Britain’s desperate public finances. They were the ones who would prevent the loss of the UK’s AAA credit rating and keep interest rates low. Etc, etc, etc. Read more

Jim Pickard

Lord Myners appears to have caused confusion with his clumsy comments yesterday about how much revenue will come from the new 50p tax rate.

The City minister said: “We have made adjustments for the behavioural consequences of the new higher rate of taxation and have accordingly significantly reduced the anticipated tax take.” The new tax on those earning more than £150,000 will kick in in April. Read more

Jim Pickard

When David Cameron yesterday said there would be no “swingeing cuts” in the first year of a Tory government was it proof that he is in retreat over the issue? Read more