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Bonkers Blog September 2011

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1 September - Sleazebuster

Mick Barnbrook with Nigel Farage in BrussellsMy comment two days ago that my colleague Mick Barnbrook had had a hand in the downfall of several politicians tempted him into sending me a list of those he had reported to the police (as is required by them if they are to open an investigation) for expenses and similar fiddles.


• Derek Conway, Conservative MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup. Whip withdrawn by David Cameron for paying public funds to his son for a non-existent job.
• Ian Clement, deputy to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. Suspended 12 week prison sentence for abuse of his GLA credit card.
• Ian Clement, leader of Bexley council. No action taken over his use of a Bexley council purchasing card and unjustified expense claims.
• Elliott Morley, former Labour MP for Scunthorpe. 16 months imprisonment for false accounting (mortgage fraud). †
• David Chaytor, former Labour MP for Bury North. 18 months imprisonment for false accounting.
• Jim Devine, former Labour MP for Livingston. 16 months imprisonment for false accounting.
• Eric Illsley, former Labour MP for Barnsley Central. 12 months imprisonment for false accounting.
• Dennis MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham. Asked to repay £1,573.03 of wrongly claimed expenses.
• Harry Cohen, former Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead. Resigned, forfeiting £65,000 from his resettlement grant for “serious breaches” of parliamentary rules. †
• Nicholas Winterton, former Conservative MP for Macclesfield. Claimed rent on a flat he owned outright. Retired from politics. †
• Anne Winterton, former Conservative MP for Congleton. As above. †
• Brian Binley, Conservative MP for Northampton South. Wrongly claimed £57,000 for accommodation. Case not yet fully resolved.
• David Tredinnick, former Conservative MP for Bosworth. Resigned over various expense irregularities. †
• Janet Anderson, former Labour MP for Rossendale and Darwen. Allowed to secretly repay £5,750 in over-claimed petty cash. †

† Voted in favour of keeping MPs expenses secret. Source.


Mr. Barnbrook’s complaint about Ian Clement’s abuse of the expenses system at Bexley council was rejected by Bexleyheath police who wrongly claimed that only Bexley council could bring such a complaint. It is known that Mr. Clement had claimed expenses for entertaining the then police Commander Tony Dawson. Although the police failure was acknowledged at the highest level (Mick was offered a hearing at Scotland Yard) he decided not to pursue the issue further. Meanwhile Bexley council refused to take a complaint to the police and the then deputy council leader Teresa O’Neill claimed not to know anything about the credit card. Bexley council’s website still shows the debt owed by Ian Clement and claims to be attempting to reclaim the money. They have refused to divulge any details when requested to do so under the Freedom of Information Act.

Mr. Barnbrook has asked me to say that in some cases he may not have been the only complainant. The photograph is a recent one of Mr. Barnbrook with UKIP leader Nigel Farage in Brussels. Mick, it is fair to say, is not a supporter of the European Union.

I had planned to bring you something new and scandalous for the first day of the month; I have been working on the story on and off throughout August. It is I am afraid a return to the subject of lying, this time not by councillors, but by council staff. Naturally I have insisted on absolute documentary proof which has taken time to assemble and must be fully understood before publication. I was almost ready to go and then overnight more documents arrived which put me off immediate publication, hence the return to an older subject.

Life is full of coincidences; this time the police refused to accept a complaint of criminal activity at Bexley council and the fact they were headed by a Commander who accepted hospitality from the same council. Not only that, the perpetrator of the alleged criminal act and the provider of hospitality to the police were one and the same.

 

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