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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. Worked at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book.

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Saturday, 30 May 2009

The Sign says it all...


On Twitter as @julianbray: Join the conversation... Back in the late 60's I was in Kampala Uganda (working with Bata Shoe Co establishing a new company in Uganda),this was in the days before Idi Amin and Kampala had a large and thriving Ugandan asian population.

One of the businesses was called Kampala Cabs & Tours an they wanted to promote their safari tours business. They had been sold a print package - letterhead, comp slips and so on from a touring salesman from the UK and frankly the letterhead good for letters was useless for advertising or plastering over the sides of tour buses. So I produced the logo for the modest sum of 1000 Ugandan shillings.

Idi Amin kicked out the Asians. I had already returned to the UK. Roll on 20 years and I return to Kenya and what is all over Nairobi Airport but my logo. I couldn't remember if i had in fact been paid for it, so on return to the UK I produced an invoice for the original amount plus 20 years interest ...AND SENT IT TO THE nAIROBI ADDRESS.

Two months later I get an excited telephone call: "Julian Bray I paid you 1,000 Ugandan shillings and whats more I still have the receipt!" It turned out the lady who commissioned the logo fled to Kenya, continued building the business and the family now own Hayes & Jarvis....Whatever possesssed the woman whilst fleeing Uganda to keep my invoice and reciept all these years!!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Electoral Commission: Finance Matters for Small Parties

The Labour Party used to collect a penny a week at the end of World War II, and not a Duckhouse or second home in sight!




Financial accounts for smaller political parties published 28 May 2009

The financial accounts of UK political parties with income and expenditure of £250,000 or less for the year ending 31 December 2008 have been published today by the Electoral Commission. Those parties with income or expenditure of over £250,000 will be published on 30 July.

Party income and expenditure

The accounts show that 281 parties, many of which are fielding candidates at the elections on 4 June, have reported gross income and total expenditure of £250,000 or less. The combined gross income reported by these parties was £1,943,531, and the combined total expenditure by these parties was £1,709,185.

Of the 281 parties:

258 political parties have reported spending of between £0 and £25,000.
17 parties have reported spending between £25,000 and £100,000
Six parties have reported spending between £100,000 and £250,000. These parties are:
Alliance - Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
Communist Party of Great Britain
Democratic Unionist Party - DUP
Left List
New Party
Progressive Unionist Party of Northern Ireland
Accounting unit income and expenditure

Political parties may register accounting units with the Electoral Commission. An accounting unit is a constituent or affiliated organisation of a political party and is responsible for its own financial affairs and transactions.

483 accounting units have reported gross income or total expenditure of between £25,000 and £250,000. The combined gross income of these accounting units was £28,983,884 and the combined total expenditure of these units was £27,736,281.

Late submissions

Ten parties and five accounting units have submitted their accounts to the Commission late. The Commission will impose civil penalties on these parties and accounting units.

48 parties have yet to submit their accounts to the Commission, although this includes parties with expenditure or income of over £250,000. In the case of these parties with larger income and expenditure, the deadline for submission to the Commission is 7July and the accounts will be published on 30 July 2009.

Full details are available at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Peter Wardle, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission said:

“Public trust in democracy depends on transparency about where parties get their money from and how they spend it. Recent events have made that clearer than ever.

“Having a wide range of political parties ready and willing to take part in the political system is a very important part of our democracy. We know that the vast majority of those involved in the process are volunteers, especially amongst the parties whose accounts we have published today.

“That is why, earlier this year, we wrote to every registered party and every party accounting unit reminding them of what they needed to report to us and offering them advice and guidance on how to fulfil their statutory obligations.”

“We’re pleased that the trend of parties reporting on time to us continues to improve, especially amongst these smaller parties who are often less well resourced than the larger parties.“

The Commission is currently scrutinising all the submitted accounts and will be checking the information in these accounts with other information we hold and pursuing any discrepancies with the parties.

/ends

For further information please contact:

Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704

LORD SUGAR OF CLAPTON TELLS IT LIKE IT IS...

LORD SUGAR OF CLAPTON TELLS IT LIKE IT IS...

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

MP Expenses: Annual Figure hits £94 MILLION


On Twitter as @julianbray: Join the conversation...

Well this is one detailed slab of astonishing information The Daily Telegraph does not have, or has not yet published! FOR THE FULL LISTING http://tinyurl.com/o4eo2w

According to a highly detailed database which has been recovered the overall cost is way above all currently published estimates. This database lists and breaksdown the detailed expenses claimed by over 450 Parliamentarians. I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the figures as it comes from a highly reliable and well placed source. If the Daily Telegraph does in fact already hold this data, then the story can be kept alive right up to the European Elections and for several months beyond.


I now expect some 350 plus sitting MP's to stand down or devise an exit strategy in a form of plea-bargain. Clearly blatent criminal activity has taken place over many years and seemingly knowingly carried out with the knowledge and tacit consent of the front bench members of all parties....expect some uncomfortable constituency public meetings when this database is published in full....keep your video cameras handy!

UK Members of Parliament [MP's] NOT INCLUDING SALARIES just expenses, each year collectively cost the UK taxpayer an astonishing £93 MILLION.

The exact figure I have is £92,993,748:00

I'll give you some examples from the top of the database, the keyed descriptions relate to the data category under each name.


1. MP NAME STOP PRESS: FULL LISTING: http://tinyurl.com/o4eo2w
2. POLITICAL PARTY
3. SEAT
4. 2ND HOME ALLOWANCE
5. LONDON SUPPLEMENT
6. OFFICE
7. STAFFING
8. CENTRAL STATIONERY
9. STATIONERY & POSTAGE
10. I.T. PROVISION
11. STAFF COVER
12. COMMUNICATIONS
13.TRAVEL
14. TOTAL

1. Abbott, Ms Diane
2. LAB
3. Hackney North & Stoke Newington
4. £0.00
5. £2,812.00
6. £20,178.00
7. £90,325.00
8. £1,521.00
9. £3,906.00
10. £1,351.00
11. £1,905.00
12. £7,948.00
13. £1,789.00
14. TOTAL £131,735.00

Adams, Mr Gerry
SF
West Belfast
£21,131.00
£0.00
£21,273.00
£90,278.00
£85.00
£218.00
£1,329.00
£0.00
£0.00
£3,629.00
£137,943.00

Afriyie, Adam
CON
Windsor
£0.00
£0.00
£17,297.00
£83,261.00
£534.00
£2,270.00
£1,290.00
£0.00
£0.00
£0.00
£104,652.00

Ainger, Nick
LAB
Carmarthen West & Pembrokeshire South
£15,385.00
£0.00
£11,863.00
£98,205.00
£589.00
£1,760.00
£1,167.00
£0.00
£10,597.00
£6,964.00
£146,530.00

Ainsworth, Mr Peter
CON
Surrey East
£12,363.00
£0.00
£14,168.00
£94,230.00
£632.00
£1,753.00
£1,183.00
£0.00
£8,244.00
£5,842.00
£138,415.00

Ainsworth, Rt Hon Bob
LAB
Coventry North East
£23,083.00
£0.00
£19,724.00
£79,747.00
£426.00
£978.00
£1,312.00
£0.00
£5,547.00
£3,698.00
£134,515.00

Alexander, Danny
LD
Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
£23,083.00
£0.00
£20,971.00
£81,712.00
£950.00
£2,548.00
£1,002.00
£0.00
£11,798.00
£26,414.00
£168,478.00

Alexander, Rt Hon Douglas
LAB
Paisley & Renfrewshire South
£17,169.00
£0.00
£17,335.00
£66,668.00
£2,141.00
£4,619.00
£1,396.00
£0.00
£6,854.00
£17,945.00
£134,127.00

Allen, Mr Graham
LAB
Nottingham North
£22,945.00
£0.00
£19,608.00
£85,944.00
£1,446.00
£5,462.00
£1,291.00
£0.00
£16,291.00
£18,211.00
£171,198.00


(C) Julian Bray 2009 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Legendary Fleet Street Newsman Mike Edwards of the Sunday Mirror Dies



The Sunday Mirror has paid tribute to former industrial editor Mike Edwards, the doyen of old-school journalists his contacts were legendary and said to include the private telephone numbers of Clement Attlee and Winston Churchill.

Mike Edwards has died at the age of 89.

He began his journalism career at the tender age of 14, the Sunday Mirror reports, as a cub reporter on the Surrey Times. His Fleet Street career bagan on the Sunday Mirror’s forerunner the Sunday Pictorial after he was demobbed following the Second World War.

Mike Edwards never really had a retirement as he was headhunted by the Sunday Mirror after supposedly retiring from the Daily Mail in 1985. He continued to work for the paper right up until his death from a heart attack on 9 May.

Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary commented that Edwards was “a model of polite persistence - ideal qualities for a journalist”.

A Toast to the honourary 'Bitch' and I


On Twitter as @julianbray: Join the conversation...


It was Joan Collins birthday on 23rd May (and mine) had a brilliant day, watched the Qual. day for the Monaco Grand Prix, sun shining, barbeque, metal knee implant behaving, Pints of real ale, Cava, Filet migon, light salad, Huge Chocolate Mudd home baked birthday cake with lashings of cream, lavazza espresso coffee. Couple of drams (Glenmorangie Single Malt) Sheer bliss. THEN Andrew Mackay comes on the box following a public meeting claiming that it went well not realising someone in the audience had captured a video on his phone [and subsequently a much longer 19 minute clandestine video of the meeting was released on YiouTube!] ….and a very vocal exchange completely rubbishing everything Mackay said (A thorough sandbagging.. I swear the rug was revolving….)Then Cameron this morning on the Andrew ‘Big Ears’ Marr Show invites us all to apply to be an MP apparently the door is now wide open just turn up at your local conservative club ….Oh yes, have you been to one of those lately? Simply none of them (except Cameron it seems) gets it.


I’ll lay good money that the next General Election date is announced very soon after the trouncing Labour will get in the European Elections, in fact might even put myself down as a prospective parlaimentary candidate and member of the Guido Fawkes Reformation Party (http://www.order-order.com/) and drive the snot troughing numpties out of our Parliament. Many of them say they gave up good well paid jobs so clearly now is the time to do them all a favour and let them get back into the real world and have their skills properly appreciated in the commercial tax paid marketplace.

UKWACK IF YOU WANT TOO....

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UKWACK IF YOU WANT TO ….

Loved the Viggers wrought iron well cover - he’s sold the house (we paid for it) but left the drain cover behind with his initials picked out in gold, well take a drain monkey to know one. Golden letters on the cesspit of life. BTW Susan Boyle hit a few bum notes before she got into her stride. Do you think Ann Widdecombe is her twin sister?
Reply

Sunday, 24 May 2009

SCAMALOT CLAIMS MORE POLITICAL SCALPS

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And so it goes on, more MP's resigning, more allegations of expenses scandal or scamalot.

Husband and Wife team Andrew Mackay and Julie Kirkbride forgot that everyone has access to a video camera these days and wasn't aware that a COVERT video of what actually happened during the closed 'public' meeting would directly conflict with the breezy after meeting spin interviews given by Mackay.

Tory Party leader David Cameron saw the footage and within a couple of hours MacKays political career with the Tories was over. Wife and fellow Tory MP Julie Kirkbride is also expected to fall or be pushed on her sword, but not before extracting substantial taxpayer funded parting payments and top hat pensions for both of them....

The Daily Telegraph says it has only covered a third of the MP's (Members of Parliament) so far and there is another 4o0 names on the list.

It emerged earlier today, the information was contained on a complete computer hard disk, not copied off, as previously thought, on cd-roms or usb keys. How it was removed has not been revealed but the speculation is that the so called Fees Office routinely upgrade computer hardware, civil servants seldom clear off old data as they do not have the specialist skills to remove it completely and the hard disk was recovered by an external contractor for recycling.

During this process IT IS THOUGHT the images came up on a check screen. It is not unknown for ex government computing equipment to appear on e-bay or disposed of in batches at public auctions.

Susan Boyle gets to Final. Homer Simpson Miffed..

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This is the youtube link for the wee hairy Scottish angel Susan Boyle, the amateur singer, who has made it through to the semi final but that pales into nothing compared to being included in The Simpsons!

This went out on British TV on May 23rd 2009
http://bit.ly/6g3oL

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Armed Spanish Patrol Boats in Incident with British Navy


On twitter as @julianbray: JOIN us...



Heavily armed Spanish coastal water patrols recently attempted to 'unlawfully' board and inspect Fishing vessels inside the British protected waters surrounding Gibraltar. The British Navy despatched warships to force the Spaniards to retreat.

The Spaniards can read British newspapers just as we can. They know this parliament is finished, corrupt and discredited with MPs running for the hills as fast as they can.

Gordon Brown has no authority and is virtually washed up will be the view of the Spanish government seeing this as the ideal time to test UK resolve over Gibraltar. Cameron says Brown dithers. The Spanish see this as well. What better time to test our defences? Gibraltar is within our defence network. Brown will do little or nothing. Spaniards will be tempted to close the border and effectively takeover.

The Rock's inhabitants fear Spain could damage their economy by taking control of land, sea and air trade routes. The confrontation happened on May 8th 2009 and is the latest in a series since Britain gained Gibraltar in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. The Spanish Government has refused to recognise that territorial waters were a part of the agreement and over the years have made repeated attempts to reclaim 'the Rock' .

For centuries Gibraltar has been a key strategic base for the Royal Navy. The latest incident followed a day after Gibraltar's government voted to block EU moves to give responsibility for the environment around the Rock to Spain.

A spokesman for Gibraltar's opposition party said: 'The latest incident is far more serious than anything that has happened before. It represents a frontal challenge to British sovereignty, jurisdiction and control over Gibraltar's territorial sea.'As such the UK must not only respond to Spain, but must also extract guarantees from Madrid that it will never happen again.'

Duncan's Panama Hat

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I originally posted this on Friday, April 08, 2005 in view of the current moatgate activities IDS or even betsy might like to issue and paper the walls with a few writs




"Before IDS (Ian Duncan Smith) became leader of the Tory party, I often used to meet him and Betsy at Sports Days and Parents Evenings. This was at a boarding prep school where our sons were incarcerated. On Sports Days IDS would parade up and down, always with a panama hat on his head. A prop. discarded when he rose to high office.

Betsy would be the chatty one, I enjoyed our conversations. Husband nowhere to be seen as IDS would prefer to circulate, doing the room, like a preverbial butterfly but he was light on meaningful conversation.

Betsy had a spot of bother, trying to justify the secretarial salary however it was painfully obvious that if Betsy had not held the fort together, IDS would have remained on the back benches. The current incumbent with something of the night about him, won't fare any better, every time I see him all I see is Rory Bremner - or has the current leader decided that Bremner is the ideal telegenic role model after all?


Roll on the years and the fuss over the modest stipend Betsy commanded simply takes your breath away ...

The Yanks are Coming: SCAMALOT is Born

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The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Scamalot
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Artic Winter sets over UK Parliament Expenses Row now topping £93 Million

Friday, 22 May 2009

JOANNA LUMLEY BRINGS BROWN TO HIS KNEES

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At midday today,Thursday May 21, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith made the announcement to the House of Commons that the Gurkha Justice Campaign have been fighting for for years. All ex-Gurkhas who have served more than 4 years in the British Army will have the right to settle in the UK if they wish.

After such a long fight, with huge ups and downs, this is a superb announcement.

We simply would not have won this fight without the massive, overwhelming support of all those who have supported our campaign. To the hundreds of thousands of people who have signed Gurkha Justice petitions, lobbied their MP, campaigned, attended rallies and marches - thank you so much to you all. This is your victory. It would not have happened without you.

The Government has now responded to that campaign after court cases, votes in Parliament, a huge media campaign and, most importantly, massive public support. I am delighted, and humbled, at what has been achieved by our remarkable team.

The whole campaign has been based on the belief that those who have fought and been prepared to die for our country should have the the right to live in our country. We owe them a debt of honour - a debt that will now be paid.

With warmest good wishes,

Joanna
www.gurkhajustice.org.uk

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

SWINDLERS LIST..I HAVE A LITTLE LIST!

IN FLIGHT MAKE UP PUFF & TOUCH UP FOR THE BRITISH PRIME MINISTER




When They Come Knocking on my Door...I HAVE A LITTLE LIST!

TWENTY HIGHEST EXPENSES CLAIMANTS
Total claims 2005-08 (excluding travel)
Liam Byrne £ 478,536 LABOUR
Joan Ryan £ 469,893 LABOUR
Dan Norris £ 450,985 LABOUR
Shahid Malik £ 446,314 LABOUR
Charlotte Atkins £ 443,244 LABOUR
David Wilshire £ 438,377 TORY
Tom Levitt £ 436,686 LABOUR
Diana Johnson £ 436,632 LABOUR
Fabian Hamilton £ 435,999 LABOUR
Jacqui Smith £ 434,909 LABOUR
Margaret Moran £ 434,456 LABOUR
Ian Austin £ 434,409 LABOUR
A. Rosindell £ 434,149 TORY
Andrew George £ 434,062 LIBDEM
Dawn Butler £ 433,865 LABOUR
Roger Godsiff £ 433,298 LABOUR
Tim Farron £ 433,260 LABOUR
Peter Hain £ 431,905 LABOUR
Norman Lamb £ 431,683 LIBDEM
S. Hesford £ 431,527 LABOUR
Source: The Sunday Times 17.05/09

Gerry Adams and four other Sinn Fein MPs claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though they refuse to attend Parliament

Adam Afriyle has not made any claims on his second home allowance

Douglas Alexander spent more than £30,000 doing up his constituency home – which then suffered damage in a house fire.

Michael Ancram put the cost of having his swimming pool boiler serviced on his parliamentary allowances. He has agreed to repay the money

James Arbuthnot claimed from the public finances for cleaning his swimming pool at a country residence. He has agreed to repay the money

Hilary Armstrong was told that allowing the Labour Party to pay for and run a computer at her taxpayer-funded home could make her “politically vulnerable”

Ian Austin split a claim for stamp duty on buying his second home in London into two payments and tried to claim it back over two financial years.

John Austin claimed more than £10,000 for redecorating his London flat, which was 11 miles from his main home, before selling it for a profit.

Vera Baird claimed the cost of Christmas tree decorations

Ed Balls and wife Yvette Cooper “flipped” the designation of their second home to three different properties within two years

Norman Baker asked if he could claim for a bicycle and a computer so he could listen to music and email family and friends

Greg Barker made a £320,000 profit selling a flat the taxpayer had helped pay for. He has agreed to repay £10,000.

Margaret Beckett made a £600 claim for hanging baskets and pot plants

Hilary Benn claimed only £42,113 on his second homes allowance in four years

Richard Benyon did not claim on his second homes allowance in 2007/08

Liz Blackman went on last-minute shopping sprees before the end of each financial year, in an apparent attempt to make sure she claimed as close to maximum expenses as possible

Tony Blair re-mortgaged his constituency home and claimed almost a third of the interest around the time he was buying another property in London

Hazel Blears did not pay capital gains tax on a property she sold despite having told the Commons authorities it was her second home. She has since agreed to paid the tax but denied any wrongdoing.

Crispin Blunt told to stop claiming Commons allowance on his home because his children live there

Tim Boswell claimed only £22,230 on his second homes allowance between 2004 and 2008

Ben Bradshaw used his allowance to pay the mortgage interest on a flat he owned jointly with his boyfriend

Tom Brake did not claim on his second home allowance between 2004-8

Kevin Brennan had a £450 television delivered to his family home in Cardiff even though he reclaimed the money back on his London second home allowance

James Brokenshire claimed just £368 on his second homes allowance in 2007/8 and nothing in the preceding three years

Gordon Brown’s house swap let the PM claim thousands

Nick Brown claimed £18,800, without receipts, in expenses for food over four years amid total expenses of £87,000

Chris Bryant changed second home twice in two years to claim £20,000

Andy Burnham had an eight-month battle with the fees office after making a single expenses claim for more than £16,500

Alistair Burt claimed £1,000 too much in expenses for his rent, but was allowed to keep the money.

Dawn Butler, the Labour whip, over-claimed £2,600 in rent on her constituency home.

Stephen Byers claimed more than £125,000 for repairs and maintenance at a London flat owned outright by his partner, where he lives rent-free

Vince Cable forgoes the second home allowance, but asked whether he could claim backdated payments of the London supplement instead

David Cameron limited his claims to mortgage interest payments and utility bills. He will repay the only maintenance bill he claimed - £600 for the removal of wisteria

Menzies Campbell hired a top interior designer to refurbish his small flat in central London at taxpayers’ expense. He will repay the £1,490.66 cost of an interior designer

Ronnie Campbell claimed a total of £87,729 for furniture for his London flat

Ben Chapman deliberately over-claimed for interest on the mortgage of his London house by about £15,000 with the approval of the fees office, documents seen by the Telegraph suggest. He is facing possible suspension from the PLP

David Chaytor admits claiming almost £13,000 in interest payments for a mortgage that he had already repaid. He has been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party

James Clappison owns 24 houses but billed more than £100,000, including thousands for gardening and redecoration

Kenneth Clarke managed to avoid paying the full rate of council tax on either of his two homes by effectively claiming that neither is his main residence. He has agreed to pay the full rate in future but defended his past behaviour.

Nick Clegg claimed the maximum allowed under his parliamentary second home allowance

David Clelland claimed for the cost of “buying out” his partner’s £45,000 stake in his London flat

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown “flipped” his second home designation from London to his Gloucestershire home, before buying a £2,750,000 house.

Harry Cohen claimed thousands of pounds for redecorating his second home before selling it and charging taxpayers £12,000 in stamp duty and fees on a new property

Michael Connarty sold some of the contents of his London home to Jim Devine, a close colleague, before charging the taxpayer thousands of pounds for goods delivered to addresses in Scotland.

Yvette Cooper and husband Ed Balls “flipped” the designation of their second home to three different properties within two years

Stephen Crabb claimed his “main home” was a room in another MP’s flat, after buying a new house for his family at taxpayers’ expense

Tam Dalyell attempted to claim £18,000 for bookcases two months before he retired as an MP

Alistair Darling’s stamp duty was paid by the public

David Davis spent more than £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on home improvements in four years, including a new £5,700 portico at his home in Yorkshire.

Ed Davey did not claim on his second home allowance between 2004-8

Jim Devine bought Michael Connarty’s furniture on expenses

Pat Doherty and four other Sinn Fein MPs claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to attend Parliament

Alan Duncan spent thousands from his allowance on gardening, including repairs to his lawnmower. He has agreed to repay £5,000

Philip Dunne has not made any claims on his second home allowance since 2005/06

Maria Eagle claimed thousands of pounds on refurbishing a bathroom at one of her flats just months before switching her designated second home to a property with a higher mortgage

Lynne Featherstone did not claim on her second homes allowance in between 2004 and 2008

Frank Field claimed just £44,338 on his second home allowance between 2004-8

Caroline Flint claimed £14,000 for fees for new flat

Barbara Follett used £25,000 of taxpayers’ money to pay for private security patrols at her home

Andrew George used parliamentary expenses for a London flat used by his student daughter. He also claimed hundreds of pounds for hotel stays with his wife. He has said he will repay £20 for a hotel breakfast

Michelle Gildernew and four other Sinn Fein MPs claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to attend Parliament

Cheryl Gillan bought dog food using her allowance but agreed to pay it back after being contacted by the Telegraph

Julia Goldsworthy spent thousands of pounds on expensive furniture just days before the deadline for using up parliamentary allowances. She has promised to pay back £1,005 for a leather rocking chair

Helen Goodman claimed for a week’s stay in a cottage in her constituency over a bank holiday

Michael Gove spent thousands on his London home before “flipping” his Commons allowance to another address. He has agreed to repay £7,000

Chris Grayling claimed for a London flat even though his constituency home is only 17 miles from the House of Commons. He has agreed to stop doing so

James Gray successfully claimed £2,000 for the future redecoration of his “second home” on the day that he moved out.

John Gummer’s gardening, including the removal of moles from his lawn, cost the taxpayer £9,000

Mike Hall claimed thousands of pounds in expenses for the cost of cleaners, cleaning products and laundry bills for his London home

Fabian Hamilton declared his mother’s London house as his main residence while over-charging the taxpayer by thousands of pounds for a mortgage on his family home in Leeds

Nick Harvey had to be reminded twice by parliamentary officials to submit receipts with his expenses claims

Alan Haselhurst charged the taxpayer almost £12,000 for gardening bills at his farmhouse in Essex, his expenses claims show.

David Heathcoat-Amory’s gardener used hundreds of sacks of horse manure and the MP submitted the receipts to Parliament

Nick Herbert charged taxpayers more than £10,000 for stamp duty and fees when he and his partner bought a home together in his constituency

Douglas Hogg included with his expenses claims the cost of having the moat cleared, piano tuned and stable lights fixed at his country manor house. He has agreed to repay £2,200 for the moat clearing

Geoff Hoon established a property empire worth £1.7 million after claiming taxpayer-funded expenses for at least two properties

Phil Hope spent more than £10,000 in one year refurbishing a small London flat. He has promised to pay back £41,000 to the taxpayer

Kelvin Hopkins claims just a fraction of the available second-home allowance by taking the train to Westminster from his home town

David Howarth has not made any claims on his second home allowance since 2004/05

Chris Huhne regularly submits receipts for bus tickets and groceries including pints of milk, fluffy dusters, lavatory rolls and chocolate HobNobs. He has promised to pay back £119 for a trouser press

Glenda Jackson did not claim on her second homes allowance between 2004 and 2008

Stewart Jackson claimed more than £66,000 for his family home, including hundreds of pounds on refurbishing his swimming pool. He has agreed to repay the costs associated with his pool

Alan Johnson claimed just £43,596 for his second home in 2004-8

Diana Johnson claimed nearly £1,000 to cover the cost of hiring an architect for a decorating project at her second home

Helen Jones claimed £87,647 in second home allowances for her London flat between 2004 and 2008

Gerald Kaufman charged the taxpayer £1,851 for a rug he imported from a New York antiques centre and tried to claim £8,865 for a television

Alan and Ann Keen claimed almost £40,000 a year on a central London flat although their family home was less than 10 miles away

Ruth Kelly has claimed more than £31,000 to redecorate and furnish her designated second home in the past five years

Fraser Kemp made repeat purchases of household items over the space of several weeks.

Julie Kirkbride’s husband Andrew Mackay resigned as David Cameron’s aide after it emerged that the two MPs were making claims that meant they effectively had no main home but two second homes, both funded with public money.

Greg Knight, an MP with a collection of classic cars, claimed £2,600 in expenses for repair work on the driveway at his designated second home

Susan Kramer did not claim on her second home allowance between 2004-8

Andrew Lansley spent more than £4,000 of taxpayers’ money renovating his country home months before he sold it. He will repay £2,600 of decorating fees

Oliver Letwin repaired a pipe beneath his tennis court using taxpayers’ money. He has agreed to repay the money

Julian Lewis attempted to claim £6,000 in expenses for a wooden floor at his second home

Ian Lucas made £45,000 profit when he sold a London flat on which he had claimed second home expenses

Lord Mandelson faces questions over the timing of his house claim which came after he had announced he would step down

Andrew Mackay resigned as David Cameron’s aide after it emerged that he and his wife Julie Kirkbride were making claims that meant they effectively had no main home but two second homes, both funded with public money.

David Maclean spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money renovating a farmhouse before selling it for £750,000.

Angus MacNeil, the MP whose police complaint triggered the cash-for-peerages inquiry, tried to charge the taxpayer for his drinks bills, a chocolate bar and hundreds of pounds of “petty cash”.

Fiona MacTaggart claimed just £3,392 on her second homes allowance in 2007/08

Shahid Malik claimed £66,000 on his second property while paying less than £100 a week for his main house. He has resigned as justice minister pending an investigation

Bob Marshall-Andrews claimed £118,000 for expenses at his second home, including stereo equipment, extensive redecoration and a pair of Kenyan carpets.

John Maples declared a private members’ club as his main home to the parliamentary authorities. He claimed the maximum second home allowance on his family house while apparently not having a “main” property to maintain

Rob Marris claimed just £11,973 on his second homes allowance in 2007/08

Gordon Marsdon claimed just £9,739 on his second homes allowance in 2007/08

Michael Martin used taxpayers’ money to pay for chauffeur-driven cars to his local job centre and Celtic’s football ground

Francis Maude claimed almost £35,000 in two years for mortgage interest payments on a London flat when he owned a house just a few hundred yards away. He has agreed to stop claiming for a second home

Theresa May claimed just £4,288 on her second home allowance in 2007/08

Tommy McAvoy claimed £86,565 in second home allowances between 2004 and 2008 for his flat in Westminster

Steve McCabe over-claimed on his mortgage by £4,059 during the course of two years

Ian McCartney spent £16,000 furnishing and decorating his designated second home but paid the money back two years later

Martin McGuinness and four other Sinn Fein MPs claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to attend Parliament

Patrick McLoughlin, the senior MP asked by David Cameron to scrutinise Tory expenses, claimed £3,000 for new windows at his second home.

Michael Meacher claimed just £32,825 on his second homes allowance between 2004-8

David Miliband’s spending was queried by his gardener

Ed Miliband claimed just £7,670 on his second home allowance in 2007/08

Ann Milton did not make any claims on her second home allowance in 2007/08

Austin Mitchell claimed for security shutters, ginger crinkle biscuits and the cost of reupholstering his sofa. He has offered to donate his old sofa coverings to make amends

Madeleine Moon spent thousands in furniture shops near her Welsh constituency house and claimed the money back on her London designated second home allowance

Margaret Moran switched the address of her second home, allowing her to claim £22,500 to fix a dry rot problem. She has agreed to repay the money while insisting she acted within the rules. She could face an investigation for allegedly using Commons stationery to keep neighbours away from her fourth property in Spain. She also billed the taxpayer for nearly £4,000 in legal fees in settling a dispute with one of her staff and faces a challenge at the next general election from Esther Rantzen .

Elliot Morley claimed parliamentary expenses of more than £16,000 for a mortgage which had already been paid off

George Mudie claimed £62,000 in expenses for his London flat in four years, while having a mortgage of just £26,000.

Conor Murphy and four other Sinn Fein MPs claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to attend Parliament

Paul Murphy had a new plumbing system installed at taxpayers’ expense because the water in the old one was “too hot”

Lembit Opik had to pay £2,499 for a 42-inch plasma television after purchasing it while Parliament was dissolved

George Osborne was rebuked by the Commons authorities for using public money to fund his “political” website. He also claimed money for a chauffeur-driven car which he has agreed to repay

John Prescott claimed for two lavatory seats in two years

John Redwood has admitted being paid twice after submitting an identical £3,000 decorating bill on his second home allowance

Alan Reid claimed more than £1,500 on his parliamentary expenses for staying in hotels and bed-and-breakfasts near his home

John Reid used his allowance to pay for slotted spoons, an ironing board and a glittery loo seat

Angus Robertson successfully appealed to the fees office when they turned down his claim for a £400 home cinema system

Geoffrey Robinson has not made any claims on his second home allowance since 2004/05

Peter and Iris Robinson both claimed expenses based on the same £1,223 bill when they submitted their parliamentary claims in 2007

David Ruffley claimed for new furniture and fittings after “flipping” his second home from London to a new flat in his constituency

Joan Ryan spent thousands of pounds on repairs and decorations at her constituency home before switching her designated second home to a London property

Alex Salmond claimed £400 per month for food when the Commons was not even sitting

Martin Salter has not made any claims on his second home allowance since 2004/05

Grant Shapps claimed just £7,269 on his second homes allowance in 2007/08

Clare Short claimed thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to which she was not entitled within months of standing down as a Cabinet minister

Michael Spicer claimed for work on his helipad and received thousands of pounds for gardening bills.

Anthony Steen claimed £87,000 on country mansion with 500 trees

Jack Straw only paid half the amount of council tax that he claimed on his parliamentary allowances over four years but later rectified the over-claim

Robert Syms claimed more than £2,000 worth of furniture on expenses for his designated second home in London, but had it all delivered to his parents’ address in Wiltshire

Sarah Teather did not claim on her second homes allowance between 2004 and 2008

Don Touhig spent thousands of pounds redecorating his constituency home before “flipping” his allowance to a flat in London

Kitty Ussher asked the Commons authorities to fund extensive refurbishment of her Victorian family home

Ed Vaizey had £2,000 worth of furniture delivered to his London home when he was claiming his Commons allowance on a second home in Oxfordshire.

Keith Vaz claimed £75,500 for a second flat near Parliament even though he already lived just 12 miles from Westminster

Theresa Villiers claimed almost £16,000 in stamp duty and professional fees on expenses when she bought a London flat, even though she already had a house in the capital. She has agreed to stop claiming the second home allowance

Claire Ward, the MP responsible for keeping the Queen informed about Parliament, submitted monthly expense claims for hundreds of pounds of “petty cash” while claiming maximum allowances

Tom Watson and Iain Wright spent £100,000 of taxpayers’ money on the London flat they once shared

Steve Webb sold his London flat and bought another nearby, while the taxpayer picked up an £8,400 bill for stamp duty

Shaun Woodward received £100,000 to help pay mortgage

David Willetts, the Conservatives’ choice for skills minister, needed help changing light bulbs. He has agreed to repay the bill

Alan Williams claimed just £5,221 on his second homes allowance in 2007/08

Phil Willis spent thousands of pounds of public funds on mortgage interest payments, redecoration and furnishings for a flat where his daughter now lives.

David Winnick claimed just £36,354 on his second homes allowance between 2004-8

Sir Nicholas Winterton and his wife Ann claimed more than £80,000 for a London flat owned by a trust controlled by their children

Ann Widdecombe claimed just £858 on her second home allowance in 2007/08

Rob Wilson did not claim on his second homes allowance between 2004 and 2008

Phil Woolas submitted receipts including comics, nappies and women’s clothing as part of his claims for food

Iain Wright and Tom Watson spent £100,000 of taxpayers’ money on the London flat they once shared

Derek Wyatt billed 75p for scotch eggs

Richard Younger-Ross spent £1,235 on four mirrors and bought ‘Don Juan’ bookcase
More Expenses Exposures & an Early Election?



Batemans Pub in Peterborough - The Palmerston Arms, Woodston, the £3 pint is here to stay….RIP


Don’t know if anyone has picked up on the suggestion that The Daily Telegraph is now to turn its attention to the House of Lords? On the This Mogodon show on ITV this morning.. They had a couple of hacks from the Telegraph, the one with bad skin and an even worse Grecian 2000 hair color job and home tinted eyebrows (Never works under studio lights, tried it,why do you think Schofield has gone silver?) Brillo is another one.. Whatever is happening with his current batch of hair weave plugs, turf? Better he ceremoniously razored the whole lot off for charity..

But back to the date of the Election. It’s going to take a few weeks to get the new man/woman in place. Calling the election date on the last day of Gorbals tenure would be neat.. Esta Rancid for Speaker would be good, bossy cow and knows all the right people. Cracks a mean whip. But small point, she has to get elected first.

PMQ’s this morning, the atmosphere was exactly like a wicked and slightly naughty Hogwarts and Brown seemed to be really unprepared. Cameron launched his pleas for an immediate General Election and calling one in the next few weeks might just be on the cards for the following reasons:

1. The new labour scrutiny committee will be half heartedly grilling backbench naughty Labour MP’s. Cameron will be more ruthless, a quick chat and its off you go..resign with dignity or stay on with difficulty and Plod stamping all over your estate. Poking in the Moat - you get the idea.

2. Some will jump ship and sign up with Cameron and Cleggy.

3.If Broon dumps or cuts loose Blears, she will immediately sign up with a Red Top, high speed ghost write the book and do a long withering exposure on Brown ” One Swine Flew Over the Nokias”

4. Back benchers and those on small majorities no longer respect the Whips and might even dump the party and re-appear as independents.

5. Right wing Police factions might just rack up the investigatiion a few notches to take the spotlight off the G20 crowd control shambles ..

6. The Tamils outside are unlikely to give up on their demo so what better time to get out on the stump, away from Westminster and face off the electorate, as the next few elections will be about personalities and not parties.

7. The Labour party is hard up and unable to fund a long running campaign they know they are going to get a kicking and lose anyway so why not get all the good headline grabbing projects underway, fund them for a few months them leave the whole house of cards, in such a state that the new Government will spend the next five years trying to sort it all out ?

Charles Aznovoir Forever Cast in Cannes Sidewalk


Charles Aznovour, hand and signature cast in clay, you'll find this in Cannes, France set into the sidewalk (pavement) along with several other old time film stars. As you come out of the Festival Theatre turn right, see low retaining wall and the casts are set into the pavement. Everyone misses them so look carefully!

May 20th 2009: The Day Westminster Grew Up

Julian Bray Media Consultant says: I don’t believe or buy any of it. Brown is strung out. What does Ms Blears have on Gordon? (Major/Currie? syndrome - please no).

Consider this: Many MP’s are living beyond their means and have developed over years a spending lifestyle ie if you don't spend it in full this year,you won’t get it next year and possibly the funds will be reduced.

Suddenly OVERNIGHT the money is cut - the MP's unlike normal mortals will not be in a position to rapidly reign in their individual family budgets, trophy or greedy wives will kick up, spoilt brat indulged children will have to be pulled out of fee paying schools and even if they try to sell the second or third home, the property market is still pants, off some 40 per cent, so no quick dosh there.

Knowing that the gravy train is being halted and put in reverse suddenly the idea of becoming an MP begins to tarnish. So follow this through, the MPs who survive the financial proberty cull, police investigations, are still faced with high outgoings and possible long term locked in mortgages..the long Summer recess - no taxpayer funded food , furniture or gardening budgets, without funding the leisure based lifestyle becomes mega expensive.

No one at the Golf Club wants to be associated with sleaze MP's either, even if they are totally without blame and they may even be blackballed. Don’t look at the Banks for succour, suddenly MP’s become a poor financial risk without the taxpayer funded lifeboat or as its known the Fees Office …

Some of the money will be clawed back, so that increases the level of debt to be financed (few MP’s, being mortal, have substantial cleared cash balances but may be asset rich).

By Chrstmas, we should see a few divorces (oooh expensive, trust me on this!) and not forgetting the legions of up to now taxpayer maintained mistresses (sorry housekeepers) looking after the London home whilst our MP is at the far off safely out of the way, family home… so if they survive the Christmas and new year festivities (the month long ski chalet for the family will have to go too!) january is known to be a peak period for divorce lawyers...this takes us up to the General Election.

By now our MP's have had a year of sustained abuse (even violence) on the doorstep, threats, individual credit limits cut, majorities slashed and independents hacking away at slender majorities.

No feel sorry for your MP, good or bad, because Speaker Martins parting shot (even if he has a cosy spot in the house of Lords) is designed to ensure that if he cannot have the Speaker lifestyle, he certainly isn’t going to leave the trappings behind and that goes for the entire Westminster estate…

The Political fallout from Speaker Martins Departure May 20 2009

Julian Bray Media Consultant says: I don’t believe or buy any of it. Brown is strung out. What does Ms Blears have on Gordon? (Major/Currie? syndrome - please no)

Consider this: Many MP’s are living beyond their means and have developed over years a spending lifestyle ie if you don't spend it in full this year,you won’t get it next year and possibly the funds will be reduced.

Suddenly OVERNIGHT the money is cut - the MP's unlike normal mortals will not be in a position to rapidly reign in their individual family budgets, trophy or greedy wives will kick up, spoilt brat indulged children will have to be pulled out of fee paying schools and even if they try to sell the second or third home, the property market is still pants, off some 40 per cent, so no quick dosh there.

Knowing that the gravy train is being halted and put in reverse suddenly the idea of becoming an MP begins to tarnish. So follow this through, the MPs who survive the financial proberty cull, police investigations, are still faced with high outgoings and possible long term locked in mortgages..the long Summer recess - no taxpayer funded food , furniture or gardening budgets, without funding the leisure based lifestyle becomes mega expensive.

No one at the Golf Club wants to be associated with sleaze MP's either, even if they are totally without blame and they may even be blackballed. Don’t look at the Banks for succour, suddenly MP’s become a poor financial risk without tghe taxpayerf funded lifeboat or as its known the Fees Office … Some of the money will be clawed back, so that increases the level of debt to be financed (few MP’s, being mortal, have substantial cleared cash balances but may be asset rich).

By Chrstmas, we should see a few divorces (oooh expensive, trust me on this!) and not forgetting the legions of up to now taxpayer maintained mistresses (sorry housekeepers) looking after the London home whilst our MP is at the far off safely out of the way, family home… so if they survive the Christmas and new year festivities (the month long ski chalet for the family will have to go too!) january is known to be a peak period for divorce lawyers...this takes us up to the General Election.

By now our MP's have had a year of sustained abuse (even violence) on the doorstep, threats, individual credit limits cut, majorities slashed and independents hacking away at slender majorities.

No feel sorry for your MP, good or bad, because Speaker Martins parting shot is designed to ensure that if he cannot have the lifestyle, he certainly isn’t going to leave the trappings behind and that goes for the entire Westminster estate…
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