Tag Archives: danny alexander

Has Cable breached rules on declaring £4,000+ Oakeshott poll?

Vince Cable as Yoda

As Michael Crick observed earlier this week, a private constituency poll is a substantial donation-in-kind which should be declared as an interest by any MP lucky enough to receive one:

It’s not just Cable who was given details of Oakeshott’s ICM polling either. Cable’s PPS Tessa Munt was briefed and Oakeshott is also close to Ian Swales, whose Redcar constituency was surveyed. Cable admitted this week:

“in one particular case concerning … Tessa Munt from Wells, we sat down and discussed the details with her”

Scrapbook understands a 500-person constituency poll with 12 questions would come to an absolute minimum of £4,000 a popwell above the £1,500 threshold for declaration under Section 4 of the rules for the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

Section 4(a):

“This category deals with sponsorship or other forms of support by companies, trade unions, professional bodies, trade associations and individuals.”

The support must be “linked to a Member’s candidacy” — which localised general election opinion polling unquestionably is:

“For the purposes of the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, support should be regarded as “linked” directly to a Member’s candidacy or membership of the House if it is expressly tied to the Member by name, eg if it is a contribution to the Member’s fighting fund …”

With the register published every two weeks, MPs’ disclosures up to Monday 26 May — one day before the scandal broke — are due for publication. When it drops we’ll know what interests were declared by Oakeshott’s pals and exactly when they were registered — this needs to be within four weeks of receiving the support.

Calculations on the timings aren’t straightforward but could result in apologies from multiple MPs — including Saint Vince …

  • Commons authorities would presumably take the view that the date on which sponsorship was ‘received’ was the day on which an MP was shown the polling by Oakeshot — but we don’t know these dates.
  • We do know when the fieldwork for the polling was completed, however, and Oakeshott is likely to have received the tabulated figures from ICM within 2-3 working days.
  • The Twickenham fieldwork, for example, was completed on Wednesday 16 April, so let’s assume Oakeshott had the details by Monday 21 April at the latest.
  • The scandal of the provenance of the damaging polling — and the prospect of disclosure of details under article 2.6 of the British Polling Council rules — developed this week on Tuesday 27 May.
  • If Cable registered his interest in the poll after the scandal broke on Tuesday, then in order to be ‘in the clear’ with the rule on registering interests within four weeks, he’d need to have been shown the poll by Oakeshott on or after 29 April (four weeks prior).

If a declaration of Oakeshott’s Twickenham polling doesn’t appear in Cable’s entry in the next published update of the Register of Members’ Interests, then a defence against a rule breach would rely on the claim that Oakeshott received the results on an expensive poll of his friend’s seat — and then kept the details secret from Cable for more than a week.

There are a number of working assumptions, but the table below breaks these down for the different MPs involved (Sheffield and Inverness were ‘attack polls’ but included for completeness):

Oakeshott polling and Register of Members' Interests update 1

Curiously, Tessa Munt has decided to pretend she’s on holiday:

We’ll know more next week.


Desperate Dan: Now Beaker claims local paper more reliable than ICM

Danny Alexander: ICM vs Inverness Courier

With George Osborne’s sidekick deleting a tweet after realising it referenced a poll showing he stood to lose his seat in 2015 yesterday, Danny Alexander’s office had already released a statement trashing ICM and claiming that a “projection” in his local paper is more reliable:

“This deeply flawed poll is in stark contrast to the projection published last week in the Inverness Courier. That projection, which took into account the recent election results, showed Danny holding the seat ahead of Labour with the SNP in third place.”

“The Courier knows the constituency intimately and is better placed to assess the political mood than a remote polling company using a flawed methodology.”

His office manager even tweeted an image from the front of the Inverness Courier:

Having done a little local digging, however, Scrapbook can confirm that this isn’t a poll at all — nor was it presented as such. The ‘2015’ figures are generated by applying the 2009-1014 swing in the European elections for the whole Highlands region to the 2010 result from Beaker’s constituency.

Whatever the legitimate debate around methodology, even Lib Dem-endorsed ‘adjustments’ to the poll funded by Lord Oakeshott fail to put Alexander in the clear — currently suggesting a 10-11% loss to the SNP.

It’s getting pretty desperate to set your local paper up against a 25 year-old research company and a member of the British Polling Council.

Danny Alexander deletes tweet after realising poll shows he’ll lose

  • Lib Dems spin that Oakeshott polling disadvantages party
  • ‘Normal’ ICM technique has Clegg drawing level with Labour
  • Danny Alexander tweets the good news …
  • … before realising poll still shows him losing to SNP by 11%

Danny Alexander

With Lib Dems hitting the airwaves to spin on the departure of Lord Oakeshott, elections guru Mark Pack employed his statistical nouse to remove the sting from some of the peer’s poisonous private polling.

The former Lib Dem Voice editor seized on the fact that the methodology employed for Oakeshott’s surveys of Lib Dem constituencies derogated from that usually employed by ICM. He quotes from the full data released by the polling firm:

“Usually, ICM would add 50% of those who refuse to answer the vote intention question or say they don’t know to the party they voted for in 2010. We did not do so on these polls.”

According to Pack this makes a big difference in Cambridge, Redcar and Clegg’s seat of Sheffield Hallam.

“No reason is given for doing this, however, and this adjustment usually benefits the Liberal Democrats … the methodology details aren’t just technical curiosities but have a major impact on what picture the polls show overall. Clegg not set to lose after all wouldn’t have made for such a great headline.”

Danny Alexander re-tweets the good news … but then deleted it.

The fact that the poll shows him losing to the SNP by 11 points — even with the ‘normal’ ICM weightings applied — may have something to do with it.

MORE poll geekery »

Budget 2014: Beaker celebrating early?

Danny Alexander budget

A penny off a pint. No rise for whisky or cider.

Scrapbook want some of whatever he’s had.

Flashback: How Osborne kept Danny Alexander quiet for four years

Danny Aid

As this blog observed on Twitter earlier, Danny Alexander has left it rather late to start rowing back against claims that he has “gone native” in the Tory-run Treasury — telling the Mirror that cuts to the top rate of tax will be brought in “over his dead body”:

It’s worth reflecting on the techniques used by Tory rodent charmers to pacify the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury for this period. Scrapbook’s favourite wheeze has to be the budget bribe (FULL DETAILS) offered to Alexander as the cuts began to bite in 2011.

Danny is the former spinner for the Cairngorms National Park, which covers a large chunk of his constituency. In the run up to that year’s Finance Bill, an ‘unaffordable state subsidy’ (in the form of green tax exemptions) for a monorail track running up the side of a mountain suddenly was suddenly deemed vital.

The thinking behind the edict given to civil servants in 1 Horse Guards Road? As we reported at the time:

Coalition dynamics dictated the Tory overlords should “give Alexander something” for his slavish loyalty.


Lib Dems back £18,000-an-hour ‘crack cocaine’ gambling machines

Lib Dems with Stop the FOBTs campaign

The Liberal Democrats have backed the so-called ‘crack cocaine’ of high street gambling, fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) which allow players to bet £100 per spin every 20 secondsthat’s £18,000 per hour. The vote on the obscure secondary legislation took place quietly in Committee Room 9 earlier today — despite promises from senior Lib Dems to crack down on the machines.

Calling for betting to be capped at £2 per spin — in line with bingo halls and casinos — the Lib Dem’s deputy chief whip Don Foster hailed a “real victory” when the government agreed to a review of the maximum stakes and spin rates on machines he described as “an aberration”:

“There’s no doubt this is ruining people’s lives. Fixed odds betting terminals have incredibly high stakes and prizes. People chase their losses. These machines are getting more and more sophisticated.”

Senior Lib Dems, including Nick Clegg, David Laws and Danny Alexander, were aldo photographed alongside materials campaigning against fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs). But this morning they caved into the gambling industry.

How do you know when a Lib Dem minister is lying? Their lips are moving (boom boom)!

How the Lib Dems U-turned on Lord Rennard ‘sex pest’ claims

It’s not the ‘crime’ that gets you: it’s the cover up.

Beaker: I’ll name and shame supermarkets (but not tax cheats)

Just when you thought the Lib Dem’s priorities couldn’t get any more skewed, Danny Alexander has told his constituents he backs naming and shaming of supermarkets who give dairy farmers a bad deal — whilst telling the country he won’t do the same for companies who avoid millions in tax.

In a local press release, Beaker backed the introduction of a watchdog with the power to name and shame supermarkets who pass on unexpected risk and costs to dairy farmers. Unveiling the plans, Alexander boasted:

“Farmers, in the Highlands and across the country, will now be able to enter into contracts with confidence, knowing they will get a fair deal from retailers. I am extremely proud that we are delivering on this in Government.”

But faced with seething public outrage that companies such as Starbucks and Google have paid less than 3.2% tax, he told this morning’s Today programme there would be no naming and shaming of the corporate giants:

Ironically evading the question, Danny told Radio 4:

“I’m not sure that naming and shaming is a good idea by the tax authorities. I think taxpayer confidentiality is a very important part of our tax system”

It looks like large corporations are exempt from more than just tax.

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