Tag Archives: david cameron

Did DCMS stitch up Miliband and Clegg over WWI wreaths?

Wreathgate

With Ed Miliband slammed for not preparing a hand-written note on a WWI memorial poppy wreath — before it subsequently emerged that David Cameron was the only dignitary to have signed his ‘from’ card — this is a VERY awkward quote from Poppy Scotland:

“Our normal procedure is that we would just send the cards directly with the wreaths.

“We were asked to send [the cards] to the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) and the wreaths were sent through to Glasgow in advance, but the blank cards to London.”

There are strict rules on the political impartiality of the civil service.

So having received the cards in derogation from “normal procedure”, who at DCMS offered the Tory prime minister the opportunity to sign his card — but not the Lib Dem deputy prime minister or Labour opposition leader?

UPDATE: Official DCMS line …

“The same wreaths and pre-written messages were provided to all wreath layers. Some chose to write personalised messages.”

Scrapbook understands that (a) Cameron’s office asked for a card in advance and it was added to the wreath in the morning and (b) that no one was given time on the morning to write a message — but some wreath layers bought their own message or wreath and substituted it on the morning.

EU nominee to dump shares after Scrapbook highlights lobbying links

Lord Hill: shambles

David Cameron’s nominee for the European Commission has been forced to announce the sale of his £375,000 shares in a lobbying group — just hours after Scrapbook highlighted a serious conflict of interest.

We published details of the Brussels-based EU lobbying operations of Huntsworth Plc — in which Lord Hill has a stake having sold his own public affairs business to them in 2006 — at around 2pm yesterday afternoon. At 10pm the Press Association reported:

David Cameron’s nomination of Lord Hill to represent Britain on the EU commission has been branded a “shambles” after he had to sell shares in a lobbying firm to avoid criticism over conflicts of interest.

The peer is acting to head off concerns over his significant holding in £140 million global public affairs company Huntsworth, which operates in Brussels.

With journalists briefed that the government wants to secure a finance-related position for Hill, companies listed as clients of the Huntsworth group underscore the utterly unsustainable nature of his shareholding:

  • Experian
  • Financial Reporting Council
  • Oil & Gas UK
  • Institute and Faculty of Actuaries
  • City of London Corporation
  • HSBC Bank
  • Capital One Bank
  • Investec Bank
  • La Salle Investments
  • SCM Private
  • Yorkshire Building Society

Forcing a top Tory peer to offload hundreds of thousands of pounds of shares in unfavourable market conditions (Huntsworth stock is down 40% since April) … it’s all part of the service.

Cameron’s commission candidate owns shares in EU lobbying firms

Lord Hill

In what could be the Tories’ second high profile appointments cock-up this week, it turns out that David Cameron’s nominee for the UK’s next European commissioner owns shares in multiple EU lobbying firms.

Before leading the House of Lords, Lord (Jonathan) Hill had an extremely lucrative career as a lobbyist, co-founding the public affairs outfit Quiller. He now has a stake in at least two similar companies which have a direct office presence in Brussels.

Records obtained by Scrapbook show that Hill owned 50% of Quiller before it was sold to Huntsworth Plc for £5.9m in autumn 2006 — presumably in a mixture of cash and shares, the latter of which appear on Hill’s entry in the Register of Lords’ Interests. Hill consequently has an interest in Huntsworth’s massive network of communications businesses — including Grayling and Citigate, which boast offices “in the heart of Brussels’ EU quarter”.

Lord Hill register of Lords' interests

Quiller have already been in hot water over their clients’ regular access to Conservative ministers –having employed one of George Osborne’s pals in a leadership role at the company. As a peer, Hill even intervened to support the sell-off of school playing fields to Tescoone of Quiller’s clients.

So how is it in any way sustainable for the UK’s Commission nominee to be making money from companies which lobby the Commission?

In full: A&E waiting times post that Cameron doesn’t want you to see

A major row is brewing ..

Here it is in full …

A&E waiting times House of Commons Library deleted blog

Cool Britannia II guest on”fat faced” and “flatulent” Cameron politics

Cool Britannia II reception

While Downing Street is refusing to release the full guest list for a star-studded creative industries bash in the Foreign Office courtyard — inevitably dubbed ‘Cool Britannia II’ – Scrapbook notes some of the reported invitees could make for some decidedly awkward chat:

Benedict Cumberbatch called David Cameron’s politics “fat-faced” and “flatulent”

The Sherlock star said of the class system portrayed in period dramas such as Parade’s End:

“Everyone was held in their place, but what was honourable about it was that there was a duty of care from the top down. That shouldn’t be tied in with any sort of fat-faced, flatulent Cameron effort at what Toryism – horribly – is now.”

Andy Coulson ‘conspired to launder Daniel Craig voicemails so they could be used by News of the World

Former journalist and self-confessed phone hacker Dan Evans told the hacking trial that the ex-News Of The World editor and David Cameron director of communications ordered him to make a copy of voicemails from the James Bond star’s phone and post them to the paper to make it look like they’d been sent in anonymously. Another NOTW hack picked up the package, saying with mock surprise “Look what I’ve found!”, Evans told the Old Bailey.

Michael Gove slammed Simon Cowell comments as “irresponsible and stupid”

The education secretary on guest Simon Cowell’s comments on the apparent uselessness of his education:

“This is an irresponsible and stupid thing to say. Teachers strive every day to ensure children understand the importance of learning, hard work and discipline. Simon Cowell’s comments undermine their efforts”.

Perhaps some useful info for the seating plan.

Cameron aide Patrick Rock charged over ’59 child abuse images’

David Cameron facepalm

David Cameron’s bad day: first his European strategy falls to bits with the election of Jean-Claude Juncker … then his friend, former SpAd colleague and Number 10 aide Patrick Rock is charged over ‘child porn’.

From the CPS:

On the authority of the CPS, the National Crime Agency has today charged Patrick Rock, 63, a former Whitehall adviser, with three offences of making indecent images of children and one offence of possession of 59 indecent images of children. He has been bailed to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 3 July 2014.

The charges are:

    • Three counts of making an indecent photograph of a child contrary to section 1(a) of the Protection of Children Act 1978, between 31 July 2013 and 31 August 2013
    • One count of possession of indecent photographs of children contrary to Section 160 Criminal Justice Act 1988, between 31 July 2013 and 31 August 2013

It is alleged that the images meet the definition of Level C, as assessed by NCA CEOP officers and CPS lawyers.

Not good.

Did Coulson’s developed vetting finally force him to resign?

Andy Coulson

With David Cameron falsely claiming at PMQs that the UK’s former top civil servant was asked at the Leveson Inquiry whether he had raised concerns about Andy Coulson, the Tories seem to be spinning a weak line — via James Forsyth in the Spectator — that this had been “addressed” in Gus O’Donnell’s written submission to the probe.

The reality is that Gus O’Donnell’s written evidence is less that helpful to Cameron’s position. An addendum to his evidence drafted by the Cabinet Office security officer reveals that every single one of Coulson’s predecessors since January 1996 had completed the enhanced security checks called developed vetting.

Gus O'Donnell Leveson Inquiry addendum on developed vetting

With a routine vetting taking around 95 days, this indicates only one of Coulson’s predecessors had delayed (by four months) applying for this clearance. According to Jeremy Heywood, Coulson’s developed vetting only started after six months in November 2010 after a terror scare at East Midlands Airport. This process would have been well under way by the time he resigned on 21 January 2011.

People have failed to pass their DV for not being 100% honest — and we know that Coulson signed a declaration of interests and failed to mention £40,000 of shares in News International.

Subjects of DV are asked detailed questions about their sex lives — and the hacking trial heard that Coulson had a six-year affair with Rebekah Brooks.

So here’s another question which wasn’t asked at Leveson:

Did the process of Andy Coulson’s direct vetting reveal new information — or concerns about his honesty — which were a factor in his resignation in January 2011?

Coulson Guilty … now the prime minister has a statement to make

With Andy Coulson convicted for phone hacking — and Rebekah Brooks acquitted — it looks like someone has a statement to make:

“I have an old-fashioned view about innocent until proven guilty, but if it turns out that I have been lied to, that would be the moment for a profound apology. In that event, I can tell you that I will not fall short.”

Surely such a “profound apology” comes in person and not via press release?

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