Taking on retention of public affairs consultants by local authorities, Eric Pickles cites think tank research on “sock puppets”: “the practice of government lobbying government is not just confined to quangos. The Institute of Economic Affairs has undertaken extensive research on so-called “sock puppets” “they have exposed the extensive practice of taxpayers’ money being given to pressure […]

With his secretary of state for communities under fire over his anti-extremism letter to Muslim leaders, David Cameron rushed to Eric Pickles’ aid with the following sound bite: “Anyone, frankly, reading this letter who has a problem with it, I think really has a problem. Anyone who has a problem with Pickles Imams letter "really has a problem", […]

Eric Pickles is breaching parliamentary protocol in an apparent bid to keep the lid on embarrassing figures about, errr, allotments. Rejecting just two out of 83 applications from councils to sell-off sites for development has pit the communities secretary against angry tomato-growers in the Tory heartlands. Under the Smallholding and Allotments Act 1908 local authorities must provide “sufficient” […]

With Environment Agency boss Chris Smith on the ropes after a disastrous visit (VIDEO) to flooded Somerset on Friday, Eric Pickles — the cabinet minister with responsibility for flood prevention — decided to make some smug comments before, errr, apologising himself: “I don’t see myself becoming the advocate of the ‘Save Chris Smith’ campaign or printing […]

Eric Pickles’ department has been accused of cooking the books to disguise what they are spending on biscuits, the Mirror reports. After news broke on 26 January of a £40,000 hike in the budget for custard creams and other treats, officials responded by shifted several payments to catering suppliers from one financial year to the other — reducing the apparent increase. This […]

That awkward moment when the secretary of state for local government — asked about why councillors feel he is always bashing them — uses a domestic violence metaphor to a select committee … “When I do a bit of bashing it’s in the confines of a very deep and loving relationship” Did he tell you […]

Regular readers may remember Eric Pickles’ trip to India — at which the local government secretary ate six curries in one session. While the taxpayers’ bill for the jaunt was initially reported as £4,000, a parliamentary question has forced DCLG to disclose the full cost of the trip — nearly £8,000 including support costs. That menu again: […]

You’ll remember communities secretary Eric Pickles is quite fond of the occasional junket to India – he took a particularly expensive jaunt in 2011, which came to an eye watering £12,552. Now, Scrapbook can reveal Pickles took yet another costly trip to Calcutta this year, during which he ate six curries in a single session. During the […]

Eric Pickles’ department are still spending thousands of pounds on first class train travel — after telling the councils that DCLG oversees to ban it. Promoting his “50 ways to save” document — encouraging councils to slash everything from expensive leadership courses to document translation — last December, the Telegraph reported: “Mr Pickles also said that pay for senior staff […]