A Liberal Democrat from Eastleigh has been jailed again — but it’s not Chris Huhne this time. Naked rambler Stephen Gough, who announced support for the Coalition party during the recent by-election, is going back to prison again for breaching his ASBO.
Gough has spent more than six years in prison for choosing not to wear clothes — that’s 34 times longer than Huhne spent in the clanger for a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Picture: James Stewart
- Tories claim to be on the offensive over tax avoidance
- But #1 donor running secretive Bermuda hedge funds
- Territory snubbed David Cameron over tax deal last week
In the wake of the G8 summit (and a controversial donation to the Labour Party in company shares) the Tories have become complacently smug when it comes to tax avoidance.
Indeed, Tory whips are even handing out lame patsy questions for PMQs:
Mr Marcus Jones: I welcome the prime minister’s leadership on getting the G8 to agree a deal on tackling aggressive corporate tax avoidance. Will my right honourable friend confirm that we won’t be offering a corporate tax avoidance service as does the party opposite?
In the spirit of leadership so admired by obliging backbenchers, perhaps the prime minister can ask Michael Farmer, the Tories #1 donor, former party co-treasurer and now board member, why he is linked to at least six hedge funds operating out of Pembroke?
That’s not Pembroke, West Wales but Pembroke, Bermuda – a country which snubbed David Cameron’s entreaties over tax avoidance just last week.
When not giving the Tories £4.9 million or paying for his son to join the Bullingdon Club, ”Mr Copper” runs the extractive commodities-focused hedge fund RK Capital Management.
While ostensibly being managed from New York and London, filings with US regulators indicate that portions of the company’s leading offering, the Red Kite hedge funds, are operating out of the tax haven (click links below for SEC filings):
With his new found enthusiasm for stamping out tax avoidance, doubtless David Cameron will be enquiring as to the purpose of these arrangements shortly.
The UK’s advertising regulator has slammed a payday loan company for sending fake SMS messages purporting to be from people’s friends. Thousands are thought to have received the texts, which are address the recipient as “mate” and claim that they are “still out in town” – suggesting they should take out a loan and join them.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld 13 complaints over the messages, finding that they were unsolicited, faked up and encouraged the use of payday loans to fund a social life.
Despite owning and operating the website concerned, the company behind the dodgy promotion, First Financial (UK) Ltd, could not explain how it got hold of the mobile numbers targeted — attempting to blame marketing firm Akklaim Telecoms.
It can only be a matter of time before the Information Commissioner comes knocking.
More: Full ASA verdict on ”irresponsible” texts »
David Cameron hosted “transparency champions” from across the globe at 10 Downing Street last week. He’s lucky they aren’t British — because they would doubtless be wondering why the PM won’t reveal the corporate lobbying clients of his new advisers.
Unlike other consultancies, the shadowy Tory lobbying company whose owners ran Boris Johnson’s mayoral campaign and now work for Cameron won’t say who else pays them consultancy fees — despite alleged influence on a U-turn for curbs for booze and fags.
And it seems that Aussie company boss Mark Textor — business partner of his controversial countryman Lynton Crosby — doesn’t like being reminded of this fact.
Here’s his tetchy exchange with Mirror hack James Lyons:
We will hopefully find out in the fullness of time.
The lobbying register is coming!
A Labour councillor from Whitby has claimed that he has fathered an extra terrestrial. According to the Northern Echo, town councillor Simon Parkes rowed with his wife after he told her he had sired a baby called “Zarka” with an alien he refers to as the “Cat Queen” — who he still has sex with “four times a year”.
Scrapbook readers may remember his previous bizarre claims – that his mother was a nine-foot green alien and that he has travelled on board a spaceship.
Despite previously stated ambitions, colleagues look to have prevented bonkers Parkes from getting anywhere near the larger Scarborough Borough Council.
Nadine Dorries, who caused uproar by abandoning parliament to appear on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, has told Total Politics that she “definitely would do more reality [TV] stuff”:
“I definitely would do more reality stuff. My constituents absolutely love it, because they’ve got someone of their own, who they see in Tesco, on there… I’d love to do Strictly Come Dancing – who knows?”
She must be hoping that BBC producers haven’t been reading her blog:
“It should be all over for the BBC.”
“I hope every member of the British public thinks hard about what the BBC now stands for; and I hope people in my own party who support both the institution of the BBC and the licence fee will ask themselves, why?”
“The incoming Conservative government has many big dragons to slay, the BBC has to be the biggest.”
“Why do we expect people who are worried about whether or not they can afford their mortgage and Christmas, to pay £140 for a licence fee”, Dorries asked.
Presumably so that she can receive a fat fee while repeatedly moonlighting from her day job.
If Gordon Brown had a catchphrase it would be the wooden utterance — often delivered for the benefit of party activists or public sector workers — thanking them “for all that they do”.
Signing a “G8 quilt” made by primary school children alongside Barack Obama today, Cameron seems to have tapped his predecessor for inspiration.
Better that than leading Barack into a broom cupboard.