Tag Archives: grant shapps

Shapps and £140,000 from secretive club with no accounts in 4 years

Grant Shapps: That's a club not my association!

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps has his personal election campaigns bankrolled by a secretive club fined by regulators after failing to submit financial returns for more than four years. Funds transferred to his Welwyn Hatfield Conservative Association total some £140,000 since Shapps has been a candidate in the constituency.

Scrapbook reported earlier this month that Conservative Club (Hatfield) Ltd – a members’ social club based at the same address as Shapps’ local party — was fined £3,000 by the Financial Conduct Authority after refusing to reveal financial data or the names of its officers.

But challenged on Twitter over the breaches, Shapps attempted to deny his links with the organisation, claiming “that’s a club, not my association”:

As if ‘CONSERVATIVE ASSOCIATION’ emblazoned along a flank of the building and ‘Conservative Club’ above the entrance weren’t obvious enough, Scrapbook has since determined that Shapps’ party own the whole property and rent a portion of it to the club.

Welwyn Hatfield Conservative Association and Club

Perhaps Shapps would be on firmer ground if the links ended there. But papers filed with the Electoral Commission reveal that members of the club were automatically counted as members of the local party and paid membership dues — in addition to hefty four-figure donations from the club as a whole.

Grant Shapps' Hatfield membership

Local campaign chiefs are absolutely categoric that the money is used to fund Shapps’ campaigns, along with council candidates in the area. One report notes “increased leafleting and canvassing” on behalf of Shapps in the run up to the 2010 election before stating:

“Income generated from the Conservative Club continues to be a significant part of the unit’s income.”

Shapps even boasted during an online debate about his local party’s membership figures, emphasising the relationship with the secretive club:

“I think the change in apparent Welwyn Hatfield membership is down to a reporting quirk caused by Conservative Club members no longer being included in the returns. Our actual membership has been strongly rising.”

The club is also controlled by senior party figures. Their last accounts — which as a friendly society are regulated by the FCA rather than Companies House — were received way back in November 2009. They show that the then chairman was a sitting Conservative councillor.

In summary, the chairman of the Conservatives — the man ultimately responsible for their entire election operation and legal compliance — has his personal campaigns funded by an organisation that hasn’t submitted any accounts in over four years.

CCHQ fingerprints on selection to replace Nazi shame MP

Amanda Milling with Boris Johnson

The influence of Tory HQ can be felt on the selection to replace disgraced Nazi uniform enthusiast Aidan Burley MP — with the Conservatives picking an ally of Grant Shapps’ parliamentary bag carrier as their new candidate in Cannock Chase.

While announcements for the selection of Amanda Milling (above with Boris) featured the usual spin about her tenuous connections with the seat, her links with the Tory charman’s PPS Jake Berry are arguably the key factor in securing the nomination.

Milling is a deputy council group leader and chief campaigner in Berry’s seat and the internet is replete with pictures of them campaigning together. Could it be that Conservative top brass were so desperate for a safe pair of hands in Cannock that they ‘encouraged’ a candidate known personally to a CCHQ figure to run for the seat?

She certainly didn’t feel the need to do much campaigning. Her website is still boasting of her deep local roots in Rossendale and pictures of Lancashire countryside — two hours’ drive up the M6 from Cannock.

Amanda Milling website

Scrapbook wishes Cllr Milling luck in her campaign.

If recent events in Cannock Conservative Association are anything to go by, she’ll need it.

Grant Shapps’ local Conservative club fined £3,000

Grant Shapps

The background isn’t clear, but the Welwyn Hatfield times is reporting that the Tory chairman’s local Conservative club — listed as the HQ of his local party – has been slapped with £3,000 worth of fines:

“Hatfield’s club appeared at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court on Friday after not supplying information to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

“The Maynard House, in The Common, association was fined £900 for each of the three charges, must pay costs for £300, and a victim surcharge of £90.

The news comes after Shapps’ national operation was reported to the Information Commissioner for allegedly breaching data protection legislation.

Apparently the club is registered as a mutual friendly society and hasn’t bothered to comply with reporting requirements.

Grant Shapps: The Movie

In keeping with the action movie production, presumably “Stinking Rich” Shapps will be arriving in one of his two planes.

Bingo! Beleagured Shapps on charm offensive with right-wingers

Grant Shapps negative bingo

Tory chairman Grant Shapps could be moving to neutralise nascent plots against him from the Tory backbenches. In the wake of his bingo poster disaster, Scrapbook reported claims of “a wave of PR and press shit” headed Shapps’ way from right-wingers who “want a better chairman before 2015″.

Lo and behold …

Even Baroness Warsi — who scowled with jealousy at Tory conference (VIDEO) after Shapps succeeded her as party chair  – has joined attempts to shore him up:

“I think some of the attacks on Grant Shapps have been incredibly unfair because he’s been made to carry the can of decisions which probably involved a whole load of other people before that poster came out.”

Don’t blame him — he’s only in charge of CCHQ!

Bingo: knives are still out for Shapps

Grant Shapps negative bingo

Expectations that Lynton Crosby might wrest total control of CCHQ from Grant Shapps were tempered with the news that Crosby (along with Osborne) had also signed off on the now notorious ‘patronising bingo advert’.

Michael Green Shapps won’t be sleeping easy, however, with claims from the seriously underrated Blue Guerilla blog that a group right-wing MPs have got it in for him:

“[The] Right want to get rid of Grant Shapps” and there is set to be “a wave of PR and press shit coming out against him. They want a better Chairman before 2015.”

In contrast with Labour, the Conservative parliamentary party are ruthless with their leaders — never mind party chairmen.

Tory MP on his vintage port and “those” who enjoy beer and bingo

UPDATE: Non-plebs have informed Scrapbook that the cork is from a bottle of vintage port — not wine

Tory MP Karl McCartney obviously wasn’t paying attention to the #ToryBingo row exploding on Twitter yesterday evening. 90 minutes after Scrapbook set the hare running, the Lincoln MP decided to parrot the precise element of the graphic deemed to have been the most offensive (our emphasis):

Karl McCartney on Tory bingo graphic

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the reason he was distracted seems to have been the, errrr, 31 year-old bottle of vintage red wine he was bragging about to a friend:

Karl McCartney wine

Mike Smithson is claiming this episode could be as damaging as the Liam Byrne’s “There’s no money left” note.

Report: IDS and Shapps promoted “negative views” of disabled

Wheelchair

A committee of MPs has blasted cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith and Tory chairman Grant Shapps for contributing to “negative views” of disabled people. The pair both played central roles in abuses of statistics designed to attack welfare claimants.

In a report released today, the DWP select committee states:

“The Government is doing a great deal to promote a positive image of disabled people but this risks being undermined if the language used in DWP press releases and ministerial media comments about benefit statistics adopts a tone which feeds into negative views about people on benefits, including disabled people.”

“Government statistics should be used objectively to shed light on policy implementation, not to prop up established views and preconceptions.”

Grant Shapps was quoted in an official Tory press release implying that disabled people were coming off benefits in droves because they weren’t really ill:

“878,300 people claiming incapacity benefit—more than a third of the total—have chosen to drop their benefit claim entirely rather than face a medical assessment, new figures have revealed.”

But it later emerged that the release fudged two unrelated measures together and failed to make clear that many people recovered from their genuine illness before they were sent for a test — as opposed to pulling out because they were milking the system.

In evidence to the committee, DWP’s top spinner John Shield (who has since jumped ship to the BBC) lay the blame squarely with Shapps’ team at CCHQ:

“This is really simple. I knew you would ask, so I have checked with the press office. In no way, shape or form was anyone involved in the production of this. They were not, and I have been assured that this is purely a piece of party output [...] no one in the press office or in communications had any role in that; it is a party matter.”

But Shield was unable to deny DWP’s involvement with a second incident highlighted by the committee. Last April Iain Duncan Smith claimed of the government’s household benefits cap that “Already we’ve seen 8,000 people who would have been affected by the cap move into jobs”.

But the UK Statistics Authority found that the release was “unsupported by the official statistics published by the Department” and that the original statistics stated explicitly that the figures cited by IDS “are not intended to show the additional numbers entering work as a direct result of the contact [with DWP]”.

And then there’s the press release that had to be amended after describing benefits as “welfare hand-outs”.

Picture: Anna Strumillo

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