The credibility of the government’s lobbying register has been dealt yet another blow, with the woman appointed to run the transparency initiative telling a private meeting with consultants that she has no powers to force them to disclose contacts with ministers and top officials — the whole point of the exercise.
A source at the meeting between Alison White and CIPR told David Singleton of Public Affairs News that the law requires consultant lobbyists to register their clients but not, errr, the civil servants and ministers they have contacted:
“She now has to deliver a workable register on the basis of a law that she is far too diplomatic to describe as flawed – but its shortcomings and inconsistencies are quite apparent.
Apparently White is telling lobbyists that compliance with the spirit of the legislation — which was rushed through earlier in the year along with measures to screw over charities and the trade unions — will be voluntary!
One of the Conservative Party’s top fundraiser can be linked to a group of controversial tax schemes which have seen some investors — such as footballer Michael Owen — forced to repay millions of pounds to HMRC.
Formerly Britain’s leading tobacco lobbyist, Tim Lordis now an officer of the United and Cecil Club — a highly secretive organisation bankrolled by anonymous Tories bent on channelling hundreds of thousands of pounds to marginal seats. Registered to stables owned by Mr Lord in Berkshire, the organisation uses a loophole in electoral law to keep the identities of donors under wraps.
“We are a club, we have our objective and we comply with the law”
This blog got even less out of Lord when we rung to ask about his suspected six-figure investment in Invicta Film partnership No. 10 LLP, in which he has been a partner since 2003.
The venture is one of more than two dozen operating under the ‘Invicta’ name and administered by accountants Malde & Co, who specialise in structuring film investments for their rich clients. A number of their Invicta schemes from the period in which Lord invested are understood to be at the centre of a £7bn crackdown on tax avoidance.
While it is not suggested that Lord has done anything illegal, Scrapbook hopes involvement with the Invicta network did not lead to any awkward Tory moments should he have found himself among the 43,000 tax-shy investorsreportedly receiving‘accelerated payment demands’ from the taxman.
Confronted with a leaked City Hall paperrevealing his plans for swingeing cuts to spending on education and youth groups, the reaction of Boris Johnson to Assembly member Andrew Dismore is nothing short of extraordinary:
Dismore: Will you say here and now that you’ll not impose 90% cuts? … Boris: We have done more for young people than your party EVER DID … You should take that paper and stick it up your [interrupts himself]
As the former enfant terrible of government advisers — and no less of an embarrassment to the Tories having left the employ of Michael Gove — Dominic Cummings was destined to give good quote in his speech (VIDEO) to wonkers IPPR yesterday afternoon:
“[Number 10] operate in a bubble in which it is at most 10 days planning or more usually 48 hours or 72 hours. There is no long-term priority. There is no long-term plan.
“[David Cameron’s] most important advisers are Ed Llewellyn and Craig Oliver – both of them are totally and utterly useless. It is not their fault. They are just in the wrong job. The fault lies in Cameron putting them there.
“If you have a prime minister who has no sense of priorities and cannot manage his way out of a paper bag, and his two chief advisers who don’t know what they are doing with Craig Oliver running round with a ridiculous grid which is worrying about Twitter and the news cycle for the next three hours, of course it’s going to be a farce.”
“You might think somewhere there must be a quiet calm centre like in a James Bond move where you open the door and there is where the ninjas are who actually know what they are doing. There are no ninjas. There is no door.
Dominic Cummings: the “quiet calm centre” of education policy!
Just hours after Political Scrapbookpublished photos of UKIP posters in the windows of properties on a leaked BNP members list comes this, courtesy of Britain First (now with a scary 580,000 followers on Facebook):
“Our aim in this election was to gain attention and to bolster the UKIP campaign. On both counts, it seems we were successful. Good luck UKIP and Mark Reckless tomorrow.”
Prince Charles plans to continue his secret lobbying of government when king — with his courtiers briefing the Guardian on his delusional belief to have “a public mandate … to relay public opinion to those in power”.
The heir to the throne apparently reckons his highly stage managed appearances alongside fawning members of the public are a reliable barometer of the national mood:
“Charles strongly believes he has a public mandate to engage with the political side of public life. His allies argue that his right to engage with government is rooted in a profound connection with the British people – not least through hundreds of public engagements each year.
It remains to be seen whether ‘How do you do … have you come far?’ will be added to the ComRes focus group script.
Theresa May sent a voter ID survey to the Conservatives’ email list his afternoon:
“With less than six months until the election, it’s vital we know your views about our country and the issues that matter most to your family.
But the home secretary was rather less interested in her colleagues’ views on the European Arrest Warrant, which is why she tried to prevent parliament voting on the issue last week. The move backfired spectacularly — with panicked Tory whips dragging David Cameron from a dinner to vote in white tie after Labour threatened to end proceedings early.
The Tories have now been forced to back the measure — seen by Eurosceptics as a tentacle of a creeping European superstate — after mischievous opposition decided to schedule a vote on the eve of the Rochester and Strood by-election.
Here are the 28 Tory (26 plus two tellers) and two Labour rebels:
Conservative Peter Bone (teller) Philip Hollobone (teller) Adam Afriyie Richard Bacon John Baron Andrew Bridgen Bill Cash Christopher Chope Philip Davies David Davis Nick de Bois James Gray Chris Heaton-Harris Gordon Henderson Gerald Howarth Julian Lewis Jason McCartney Nigel Mills Anne Marie Morris David Nuttall Andrew Percy Dominic Raab John Redwood Jacob Rees-Mogg Laurence Robertson Andrew Rosindell Richard Shepherd Henry Smith