Teetering on a 1,958 majority at number 27 on Labour’s target seat list, west London Tory Mary Macleod has adroitly positioned herself as a local champion of the campaign against a third runway at Heathrow. For example:
“I joined forces with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and other local MPs to stage a Heathrow Mega Rally to show the level of concern that local residents feel towards any further expansion of Heathrow. Thousands of local people joined us to make this message clear to the Government – no expansion at Heathrow.”
What Macleod seems less keen on mentioning, however, is that, while making a series of similar strident statements, her office was trousering tens of thousands of pounds in sponsorships from, errrr, Heathrow Ariport and British Airways.
In fact, she appears to be the only MP in the Commons to have received sponsorship from Heathrow and BA large enough to be registrable with the Electoral Commission:
- May 2012: £5,000 from Heathrow for a jobs and apprentices fair
- August 2012: £1,750 sponsorship for the Hounslow Volunteering Awards from BA
- January 2013: £4,000 sponsorship from Heathrow for community project
- April 2013: another £5,000 sponsorship for a local community project
- December 2013: £5,000 for another careers fair
Doubtless Macleod will maintain that this has not affected her aviation campaigning and that there could be nothing more benign than local jobs fairs and community projects.
But not only do the fliers for the 2013 and 2014 fairs bear the prominent photo of Macleod with the strapline “organised by Mary Macleod MP”, they also have an imprint of the type required by law for political communications, presumably meaning that her office have ownership of data collected from attendees and exhibitors — invaluable for any MP in a marginal seat.
Does she think her constituents so stupid as to not realise this is a blatant conflict of interest?
With his European Parliament group collapsing last week after it failed to retain MEPs from requisite seven different members states, can you guess who has come to Nigel Farage’s rescue?
Farage isn’t keen on those Eastern Europeans …
… unless £1 million of European Parliament gravy train money is at stake.
With wannabe MPs of all parties squabbling over a rapidly evaporating pool of winnable selections, the race is hotting for the safe Tory seat of Havant — and so are the negative briefings.
Now that the hopefuls have been whittled down to four, supporters of other candidates have decided to remind everyone that one of their rivals, the shortlisted Alan Mak, was forced to quit his position at the Cambridge Union — and the race for its presidency — after he was accused of forging an invoice for, errr, £100 of paper plates and cutlery.
Speaking to student paper Varsity at the time, outgoing CU president Will Gallagher, whose friend Kate Steadman succeeded him days later, said:
“I don’t think you forge an invoice by mistake, there is no place for corruption in the union.”
But something tells Scrapbook that Gallagher and Steadman won’t be commenting on the record this time:
As for ‘paper plate fraud’, Mak strongly denies the historic claims, telling Scrapbook:
”The allegations made 11 years ago in a student newspaper are untrue. I made an honest mistake, which I apologised for at the time and which was accepted and the matter was closed.”
Good to see the candidates and their supporters have moved on since 2003. Errrrr …
Who says MPs are out of touch, eh?
Here’s a graph comparing results from two surveys: the proportion of MPs who think they are trusted by their constituents — versus the proportion of the general public who trust their MP to represent them in parliament:
Well at least the mistrust is mutual. Nick Clegg’s so-called ‘Recall Bill’ will only allow constituents to sack crap MPs if a committee of their Commons colleagues says it’s okay first!
You can write to your MP to ask for a proper recall law by clicking here.
Scrapbook may be late to the party — but is this not surely one of the best Daily Mail corrections ev-vur?
A comment article on 13 August about the European Court of Human Rights said that the supply of heroin and gay porn to prisoners was now a ‘right’.
We are happy to clarify that this was not meant to be taken seriously and is not the case.
While Viscount Rothermere keeps a veritable stable of columnists capable of such bile, congratulations to those that guessed the original piece was spewed forth by Richard Littlejohn:
An earlier version of this article was amended to make clear that not all prisoners’ claims to be allowed voting rights were made ten years ago. Earlier versions also carried a joking reference to the ‘right’ to heroin and gay porn behind bars. A clarification pointing out that this was not meant seriously was published on 29 September 2014.
Some clearly struggle to differentiate fact from fiction — which may explain why they’re reading the Mail in the first place.
Kudos to climate journalist Edward King, who spotted that Owen Paterson’s ‘abandon climate targets’ speech was actually written by Matt Ridley (5th Viscount Ridley to you):
The fact that Britain had a card-carrying climate change denier as environment secretary is scary. Scarier still, however, is the contents of Ridley’s Twitter bio:
Perhaps “idea sex” is something that middle-aged Tories do with attractive party activists on WhatsApp — but we’re too scared to watch the video and find out.
Tory toff Jacob Rees Mogg has been in talks with the treasurer of UKIP — plotting to block government policy using the courts. The Telegraph reports that millionaire Stuart Wheeler met with the Somerset MP in the Commons over plans to bring a judicial review against the implementation of the European Arrest Warrant.
Rees Mogg has already suggested that Nigel Farage could be given a seat in government.
This latest embarrassment to David Cameron looks to be part of a trend for Tory MPs to openly defying his authority. Appearing on Newsnight earlier this month, Essex MP John Baron refused to rule out crossing the floor to UKIP, stating that he would “never say never”.
This week two other Tory backbenchers — Peter Tapsell and Zac Goldsmith — were the ones to introduce defector Douglas Carswell to the Commons as a UKIP MP (VIDEO):
Chief whip Michael Gove must have a very busy lunch schedule at the moment.
An events company trying to liven up their boring flood defence conference with a speech from a climate change denying UKIP MEP is one thing …
… but Austin Mitchell-style references to “rape” are quite another:
“Stuart Agnew MEP will recall how he was initially seduced, then financially raped; describe how the climate scare developed, produce some inconvenient truths, de-toxify CO2, recall ‘climategate’ and challenge the IPCC.
Agnew already has form, having landed himself in hot water over remarks that women with babies ‘lack ambition to get to the top’.
Scrapbook is trying to establish whether the provenance of this particular comment lies with Agnew’s office or the conference organisers.
Either way, one wonders what ‘event partners’ the Environment Agency think of their logo being displayed prominently alongside such a reference.
UPDATE: The conference organisers have blamed Agnew’s office …
“We did not write this it, was sent in by Stuart Agnew’s office an unfortunately uploaded to our website in bulk with 30 other seminar contents and this particular speaker’s content was not spotted. We have removed this from our programme the instant we realised, and are implementing much stronger checking processes from now onwards.