Nearly 50 years ago my father told me that when there was a political scandal with the Conservatives it was usually about sex and with Labour it was usually about money, and so it has proven. He also said that in his experience local Labour politicians tended to start out poor and end up rich.
Obviously most of the financial fiddles go undetected, the politician just gets richer and we taxpayers end up with less value for money. However over the years of Labour power a whole string have actually come to light.
In 1948 John Belcher was forced to resign in disgrace from Parliament and from the disastrous post war Attlee Labour government in which he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. He had been receiving gifts for influence and avoided police prosecution even though they thought that he should be charged.
Labour were kicked out of power until the 1980s, whereupon the financial scandals started again.
T Dan Smith was a labour councillor known as “Mr Newcastle” who was at the centre of a web of corruption. Smith received £156,000 from architect John Poulson for signing up local councillors on to the payroll of his companies and getting them to push their councils to accept Poulson’s redevelopment schemes. He was sentenced to 6 years in jail.
John Stonehouse was a Labour Minister for Technology and Postmaster General. He was also a soviet spy and fraudster. He faked his suicide on 20 November 1974 and disappeared in Australia, once found out he was repatriated and put on trial, receiving 7 years imprisonment.
Businessman Joseph Kagan, Baron Kagan provided funding for Harold Wilson’s private office and was made a life peer. He was charged with theft and false accounting and was fined £375,000 with a ten month jail sentence.
In 1979, after the winter of discontent, Labour were kicked out of power till they rebranded and thus detoxified themselves, returning under Tony Blair in 1997. But despite the rebranding they were still up to their old ways.
Bernie Ecclestone gave the Labour Party a million pound donation and then the incoming Labour government changed its policy to allow Formula One to continue being sponsored by tobacco manufacturers.
Then in 1998 Peter Mandelson, Trade and Industry Secretary, was forced to resign after failing to disclose a £373,000 loan from Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson.
In 2001 Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish (also a Westminster MP) resigned from the post when he failed to refund the House of Commons for income he had received from the sub-let of his constituency office.
In January 2001, it was revealed that Peter Mandelson had telephoned Home Office minister Mike O’Brien on behalf of Srichand Hinduja, whose family firm was to become the main sponsor of the “Faith Zone” in the Millennium Dome and who was at the time seeking British citizenship, forcing Mandelson to resign from the Government for a second time. It was also revealed in a written Commons reply that Keith Vaz, had also contacted the Home Office about the Hinduja brothers, saying that Vaz had made inquiries about when a decision on their application for citizenship could be expected. The Hinduja Foundation had given the sum of £1,200 to Mapesbury Communications, a company run by his wife. He was sacked from his post as Europe Minister.
Tessa Jowell was Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when it was revealed that her husband David Mills was under investigation by Italian authorities for suspectedly receiving £340,000 from Silvio Berlusconi corruptly. He was sentenced to 4½ years prison in Italy but appealed, during which time the statute of limitations ran out.
In 2005 the Labour party received millions of pounds in loans to finance the election. The rich individuals making these loans where then put up for peerages in the cash for honours scandal that led to a police investigation and which possibly contributed to the resignation of Tony Blair.
In 2007 Peter Watt resigned as the General Secretary of the Labour party when it became public that more than £400,000 had been accepted by the Labour Party from one person through a series of third parties.
In 2008 Peter Hain resigned his two cabinet posts of Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Secretary of State for Wales after the Electoral Commission referred donations to his Deputy Leadership campaign to the police.
In 2009 covertly recorded discussions with 4 Labour Party peers in which their ability to influence legislation and the consultancy fees that they charge (including retainer payments of up to £120,000) were published by The Sunday Times.
Then there was the expenses scandal that involved all parties, but unsurprisingly Labour ministers and MPs were massively more implicated than members of the other parties, including:
- Jacqueline Jill “Jacqui” Smith was found to have “clearly” broken the rules on second home expenses and was ordered to apologise. On 5 June 2009, she stood down as Home Secretary in the Cabinet reshuffle, and lost her seat as Member of Parliament for Redditch in the 2010 General Election. Also she famously claimed expenses for a telecoms bill that contained two pornographic films.
- Hazel Blears was reported as claiming the maximum allowable expenses, to under a pound, for three properties, as well as for stays in hotels, £4,874 on furniture, £899 on a new bed and £913 on a new TV, the second such TV in under a year, and the maximum £400 a month in groceries, they also claimed that Blears had not paid capital gains tax on profit from the sale of a London flat. The property was registered as her main residence with HM Revenue and Customs, but Blears had been claiming MPs’ second home expenses relating to the flat. It was claimed that she had made a £45,000 profit on its sale without paying capital gains tax. It was further claimed that she flipped her homes in London three times in one year. She resigned as secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
- Anthony “Tony” James McNulty was Minister for London and Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform at the Department for Work and Pensions. He resigned his position on 5 June 2009 after he admitted claiming expenses on a second home, occupied by his parents, which was 8 miles away from his primary residence.
- Geoffrey “Geoff” William Hoon who was Secretary of State for Transport had rented out his London home and claimed expenses on his constituency house. While doing so, he had lived in state-owned, rent-free housing at Admiralty House. Lost his job in the scandal reshuffle.
- Kitty Ussher resigned as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury after only 8 days in the position, following details of avoiding capital gains tax being published.
- James Keith Chapman, known as Ben Chapman admitted to an arrangement with Parliamentary authorities that had allowed him to claim interest payments on the entire amount of the mortgage on his designated second home in Lambeth, south-east London, despite having repaid £295,000 of the loan in 2002 and additional amounts there after.
- David Chaytor was charged with three alleged offences under section 17 of the Theft Act 1968, on 3 December 2010 he pleaded guilty to claiming rent for a house he in fact owned, using a fake tenancy agreement with his daughter. He was sentenced on 7th January 2011 to an 18 month jail sentence. His sentence may have been more lenient than the maximum seven years because of his guilty plea.
- Jim Devine was deselected following a disciplinary hearing by the Labour party “star chamber”. On 10 February 2011 he was found guilty on two counts of false accounting. He dishonestly claimed £3,240 for cleaning services and £5,505 for stationery using false invoices.
- Margaret Moran was barred from standing for Labour at the next general election. On 13 October 2010, the Telegraph reported that Moran would be prosecuted over her expenses. She spent £22,500 of taxpayers’ money treating dry rot at her and her partner’s seaside house in Southampton, about 100 miles from her Luton South constituency.
- Elliot Anthony Morley allegedly claimed £800 a month for a property in Winterton, near Scunthorpe, for 18 months after the mortgage ended, receiving an overpayment of £16,800 in total.The Telegraph also alleged Morley rented out a London flat designated as his main residence to another Labour MP, , a close friend and former special adviser. Cawsey named the property as his second home, allowing him to claim £1,000 a month to cover the rent which he was charged by Mr Morley. In November 2007, the newspaper claims Morley ‘flipped’ his designated second home from his Scunthorpe property to his London flat, and for four months the two men claimed expenses on the same property.
There are more, but you must be getting the idea by now.
Next came the 2010 influence scandal. A C4 documentary recorded Members of Parliament and the Lords offering to work for a (fictitious) political lobbying firm for fees of £3,000 to £5,000 per day. Twenty politicians were approached, fifteen agreed to meet them and ten had arranged meetings, of those ten, nine were secretly filmed including the Labour Party MPs Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt, Geoff Hoon, Richard Caborn, Adam Ingram and Margaret Moran. The Labour members were all due to stand down at the next general election and all but Moran had been cabinet ministers.
And in a final hurrah of sleaze before leaving power Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws resigned from the Cabinet on 29 May 2010 and was referred to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards after the Daily Telegraph newspaper published details of Laws claiming around £40,000 in expenses on a second home owned by a secret gay partner between 2004 and 2009 whilst House of Commons rules have prevented MP’s from claiming second home expenses on properties owned by a partner since 2006. By resigning Laws became the shortest serving Minister in modern British political history with less than 18 days service as a Cabinet Minister.
It amazes me that none of this dirt sticks to the Labour party, that they still manage to brand themselves as “nice” no matter how many times their politicians are caught out for shady financial dealings. Over nearly 50 years my father has been proven right, time after time, I am sure he will be proved right again many times in the future. And you can clearly see that socialist principles are there to be forced on the voters, they are not something that the politicians above seem to have adhered to.