Osborne in Southampton marginal … poses with ad for rival port

George Osborne visits the ultra-marginal of Southampton Itchen to promote the government’s pension reforms and pose with a candidate who sounds like a packet of crisps. All is going according to plan …

… until he decides to pose in front of a sign advertising the city’s bitter maritime rival: the port of Liverpool. Cue outrage from the local paper.

Osborne posing in front of Liverpool port ad ... in Southampton

At least this will boost the Tories’ prospects in those marginal seats near the Liverpool docks. Errrr …

Picture via Southern Daily Echo

Tories’ Russian donors: even Lord Ashcroft is complaining

Burning MH17 wreckage

With David Cameron pushing for more sanctions on Russia in the wake of the MH17 disaster, pressure is building on the Tories to hand back a £160,000 donation — after Scrapbook pointed out that it came from the family of ‘Putin protoge’ Vladimir Chernukhin.

Accompanied by her husband at the Tories’ summer ball, Chernukhin’s wife Lubov bid to participate in the ‘ultimate tennis game’ with David Cameron and Boris Johnson. But the Tories are refusing to give the money back as Lubov Chernukhin is a legal donor under election law.

Ferocious Labour MP John Mann told the Daily Mail:

“He has got to hand the money back – it is one of the easiest sanctions that can be imposed.

“I am sure the Prime Minister will recognise he cannot accept this money – he cannot possibly be seen to be consorting on a tennis court with individuals who have been part of Putin’s inner circle, and he should not be taking their money.

Even Lord Ashcroft is having a pop:

Of all the people to be questioning the validity of party donations.

Payday parasite Wonga in trouble with regulators (yet again)

With Wonga pushing to expand internationally, it was only a matter of time before the parasitical lender drew the ire of foreign financial regulators. Speaking of operations launched in five other countries across three continents, former chief exec Nial Wass told the BBC:

“We are still refining our algorithms [the arithmetical rules underlying the lending decisions] all the time, so we are still declining a large number of people who are applying, and over time as we learn more we will open up what we call our “accept rates” and take a lot more”

But it turns out this is total BS … at least in South Africa where the firm wasn’t even bothering to verify the income of loan applicants. The country’s credit regulator has ordered Wonga to submit an audit report, withdraw court judgements and amend affected customers’ credit ratings at its own expense.

It isn’t just interest rates exceeding 5,000% which have been exported by the British outfit.

Yes, those awful puppets have been given Afrikaner and black South African accents …

New BNP leader is drink driver and chased kids using Land Rover

Adam Walker BNP

With Nick Griffin standing down as chairman of the BNPapparently to save face following an election wipeout in May — here’s everything you need to know about the party’s new leader, Adam Walker:

  • For a start, he’s a convicted drink driver
  • Narrowly avoided prison after driving his Land Rover over a village green in pursuit of 11 year-old children, then slashing their bicycle tyres with a stanley knife. Then working as a secondary school teacher, Walker was banned from the profession for life over this incident.
  • In a previous standards hearing, Walker was found to have posted racist messages on the internet during a lesson. He used the username “Corporal Fox” to suggest a military link.
  • Wore military fatigues to falsely suggest he was a member of the British armed forces — before admitting he hadn’t served a day in his life.
  • Called Britain a “multicultural shithole”.

While the handover was at least partly by mutual consent (rather than a coup) this will be unwelcome news for for a number of BNP officials which rely on Griffin for patronage — and threatens to further destabilise the party.

It’s great to see the BNP led by a man with such convictions … for, errr, drink driving, dangerous driving and possessing a bladed instrument.

MH17 sanctions hypocrisy: Tory donor’s husband ‘is Putin protégé’

Vladimir Putin

After Scrapbook highlighted the case of a £160,000 Tory donation from the wife of a man linked to Vladimir Putin, CCHQ have indicated they have no intention of handing back the cash — despite calling for sanctions on Putin’s circle in the wake of the MH17 disaster:

“All donations to the Conservative Party are fully and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission and published on their website.”

With David Cameron due to give a statement on MH17 developments at 3:30pm, perhaps he can explain why the Conservative Party is still accepting donation from the family of Vladimir Chernukhin, a man repeatedly described as a protégé of Vladimir Putin. His CV explains why …

  • Foreign trade ministry of USSR and the Russian Federation (1986-1996)
  • Deputy Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation (2000-2002)
  • Appointed director of Russia’s flag-carrying airline Aeroflot in 2002
  • Chairman of Russia’s state development bank (2002 to 2004)
  • Received the Order of Honour from Vladimir Putin in 2004

Other state-controlled bodies on which Chernukhin served as a director include the shipping giant Sovcomflot, and Russian Agricultural Bank.

And while has been a “private investor” since 2004, a more recent business appointment could suggest that London-based Chernukhin is still welcomed in Kremlin-linked circles. He served as a non-executive director of Polyus Gold International Limited for a short period in 2013, nominated to the board by billionaire Zelimkhan Mutsoev.

Mutsoev is a member of the Russian state duma (parliament) and deputy chair of the foreign relations committee — for Putin’s party, United Russia.

Judge ‘claims senior Sun on Sunday hack ‘lied under oath’

The Sun

The drugs trial of former N-Dubz star and X-Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos has collapsed … and the judge is blaming Sun on Sunday investigative hack Mazher Mahmood (aka the ‘Fake Sheikh’).

Tulisa was accused of supplying £800 of cocaine to Mahmood in exchange for a role in a blockbuster Bollywood film.

Incredibly damaging — and just as Murdoch was poised to move on from legal woes.

MH17 disaster: will Tories turn down £160k Putin-linked donation?

  • PM wants more Russia sanctions after 283 deaths in MH17 disaster
  • Government wants to target “crony group” around Vladimir Putin
  • But wife of ex-Russian minister has pledged £160k to Tories
  • Lubov Chernukhin bid on tennis match with Cameron and Boris

David Cameron Boris Johnson tennis

David Cameron’s call for more sanctions against Russia could have set himself on collision course with fundraisers in his own party. While the PM is set to join EU leaders in calling for punitive financial measures against Moscow after flight MH17 was downed over Ukraine — the wife of a senior former Putin minister pledged £160,000 to the party at a recent black tie dinner.

Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of Vladimir Chernukhin, won the auction to participate in “the ultimate tennis match” between David Cameron and Boris Johnson. Vladimir Chernukhin was the Russian president’s deputy finance minister.

Having initially denied that Mr Chernukhin was the successful bidder, the Conservative Party were then forced to admit that the winner was actually his wife. Her law firm Carter Ruck issued the following statement:

“Mr Chernukhin attended the Hurlingham Club event with his wife, Lubov Chernukhin … Mrs Chernukin is a Conservative party member and supporter. Mrs Chernukhin bid on the lot to which you refer. Mrs Chernukhin’s bid was successful.”

Philip Hammond yesterday suggested that sanctions could target “the so-called crony group around President Putin”.

Does that also include cronies that are giving money to the Tories?

Tesco Value? Millionaire peer gets paid ministerial role

Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe

Bringing up the rear of the reshuffle, former Tesco director Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe gets a job at BIS. A late appointment, the Daily Mail will doubtless be irked that the peer wasn’t available for their ‘Downing Street catwalk’ sexism fest. Neville-Rolfe isn’t so much ‘blue rinse’ as ‘blue streak’, sporting primary colours in her hair — currently a fitting Tory blue.

Roles as a top Tesco executive from 1997 to 2013 and a non-executive director of ITV, made Neville-Rolfe one of Britain’s highest paid businesswomen. While other wealthy peers have refused government salaries, however, Neville-Rolfe has decided to trouser the cash.

Well, every little helps.

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