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David Guyatt
03-21-2010, 09:06 AM
Paul Rigby posted a link and a snip to the following story in another thread. Because newspaper article links change frequently, I've decided to post the whole piece here.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/mar/21/mps-targeted-undercover-sting


MPs targeted in undercover sting over cash for influence

Former ministers said to have been caught on camera by journalists

Anushka Asthana and Toby Helm

The Observer, Sunday 21 March 2010

A group of MPs, including former ministers, have been targeted in an elaborate sting operation in which journalists set up a bogus lobbying company and offered to pay them in return for political influence.

Among the politicians approached was Stephen Byers, the former cabinet minister and arch-Blairite, who was filmed describing himself as a "bit like a sort of cab for hire". He offered to trade Westminster contacts for £3,000 to £5,000 a day.

Others who were targeted in the undercover operation included former cabinet ministers Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt. Margaret Moran, the Labour MP for Luton, was also involved.

The party tried to limit the damage last night by saying some MPs were "mortified" by how stupid they had been. However, nothing illegal has been alleged.

Twenty MPs were invited to attend meetings to discuss joining an advisory board and 10 turned up. The meetings were mainly held at offices in London's St James's Square. An undercover Sunday Times journalist asked them how the company could go about influencing policy and how it could improve its chances of winning a government contract.

Byers told her he had saved hundreds of millions of pounds for National Express through his contact with Lord Adonis, the transport minister, and had influenced food labelling proposals for Tesco after phoning Lord Mandelson, the business secretary. The MP said that his friendship with Mandelson was one of his "trump cards".

However, the next day he wrote an email to the meeting's organisers saying he had "overstated" the part he had played in trying to secure changes to the way in which the government deals with issues. "This means that I have not spoken to Andrew Adonis… or Peter Mandelson about the matters I mentioned," he wrote.

Byers issued a statement last night saying that at an informal meeting about a potential job opportunity he had made some "exaggerated" claims. "Having reflected on my comments I knew that I should immediately put the record straight. I did so the following morning by making it clear that I have never lobbied ministers on behalf of commercial interests. I later withdrew my name for consideration. I have always fully disclosed my outside interests," he said. Byers described the set-up as a "massive deception".

The operation is reported to feature in a Dispatches programme to be aired tomorrow on Channel 4.

The journalists set up a lobbying company known as Anderson Perry Associates, supposedly based in the US. Its website described it as a "bespoke consultancy that helps organisations and individuals maximise and exceed expectation". It claimed to have 120 clients in Europe, the Middle East and the US, operating in the health and defence industries.

The exposé is likely to thrust the issue of standards back to the heart of the election campaign as party leaders battle to show they will clean up parliament. The operation, which targeted MPs who are standing down from parliament, also targeted the Lords, with Baroness Sally Morgan, a former aide to Tony Blair, reported to have been approached.

Paul Rigby
03-21-2010, 09:44 AM
"I remain intensely relaxed about all such revelations. In point of fact, they confirm my thesis that we live in a truly well-ordered state, one in which the rich and well-connected trouser the readies, while the malodorous poor have their benefits cut. This is how it should be."

Sir Reginald-Pike Darkness, the noted Peterhouse historian and former Tory MP, telling it like it is, in "Trickle-down: why crumbs are good for them," The Sunday Telegraph, 21 March 2010, pp.15-19.

David Guyatt
03-21-2010, 09:57 AM
I remember Sir Reginald with fondness. I studied under him at Peterhouse for my Doctorate in Political Sophistry & Trouser Stuffing (not to be confused with shirt lifting). I got a 2:1, whereas he had a first class bank account.

Good times.

Paul Rigby
03-21-2010, 11:11 AM
I remember Sir Reginald with fondness. I studied under him at Peterhouse for my Doctorate in Political Sophistry & Trouser Stuffing (not to be confused with shirt lifting). I got a 2:1, whereas he had a first class bank account.

Good times.

This must have been during Pike-Darkness' faux-revolutionary period circa 1968, when he was writing for Harold Evans' Times on such diverse issues as fashion ("the drainpipe hipsters against the fascist De Gaulle"), politics ("is Robert Kennedy a communist?"), and rock music ("Mick Jagger gives me satisfaction: an interview"). This period is not to be confused with his later, Monday Club period, when he anonymously authored the pamphlet "Red Star over Sidcup" (Grocer Heath as a conscious agent of the Bolshevik conspiracy), and co-authored (with William F. Buckley, Jr.) a thriller alleging that a naked Khrushchev axe-murdered JFK in revenge for his humiliation in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

By the way, he didn't stroke a youthful Guyatt leg, did he, and demand you be of some service to the nation?

Thought as much. Typical SIS.

Jan Klimkowski
03-21-2010, 11:32 AM
Among the politicians approached was Stephen Byers, the former cabinet minister and arch-Blairite, who was filmed describing himself as a "bit like a sort of cab for hire". He offered to trade Westminster contacts for £3,000 to £5,000 a day.

Others who were targeted in the undercover operation included former cabinet ministers Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt. Margaret Moran, the Labour MP for Luton, was also involved.

New Labour's brothel operates day and night.

The brothel's most famous whore, Tony Blair, demands a higher price - a fee of one million pounds for political advice to a South Korean oil company with investments in the Middle East and the Russian "Stans". See post #63 and replies here:

http://www.deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2614&page=7

Jan Klimkowski
03-21-2010, 12:14 PM
The original piece also implicates Peter Mandelson, aka Lord Mandy, Prince of Darkness.

There's video of New Labour whoring at the Sunday Times link here:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article7068820.ece


Revealed: Labour’s cash for influence scandal

A FORMER Labour cabinet minister has boasted about how he used his government contacts to change policies in favour of businesses.

Stephen Byers, former trade and transport secretary, was secretly recorded offering himself “like a sort of cab for hire” for up £5,000 a day. He also suggested bringing Tony Blair to meet clients.

He was among several politicians recorded by an undercover reporter posing as a company executive looking to hire MPs for lobbying work.

The others included:

- Patricia Hewitt, a former health secretary, who claimed she helped to obtain a key seat on a government advisory group for a client paying her £3,000 a day.

- Geoff Hoon, the former defence secretary, offered to lead delegations to ministers and told the reporter that he was looking to turn his knowledge and contacts into “something that frankly makes money”. He said he charged £3,000 a day.

- Margaret Moran, the Luton MP who was forced to pay back £22,500 in expenses, boasted that she could ring a “girls’ gang” of colleagues on behalf of clients. Among those she named were: Jacqui Smith, the former home secretary; Hazel Blears, the former communities secretary; and Harriet Harman, the deputy leader of the Labour party.

The interviews were part of a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme in which 13 Labour MPs and seven Conservatives were approached.

The disclosures will raise questions about the relationship between the large number of MPs leaving parliament next month and their contacts who remain in government. It comes after David Cameron, the Conservative leader, last month said that lobbying was the next political scandal waiting to happen.

Byers, who held three cabinet portfolios from 1998 to 2002, gave specific examples of how he claimed he had changed government policy by lobbying his cabinet friends.

He claimed to have struck a secret deal with Lord Adonis, the transport secretary, last year on behalf of National Express, which he said was seeking to jettison a loss-making East Coast rail franchise without penalties. Byers said: “We agreed with Andrew ... he would be publicly very critical of National Express” as long as he agreed terms which favoured the company. The decision to terminate the franchise in July last year left a burden on the taxpayer of hundreds of millions of pounds.

Byers also claimed he could use his friendship with Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, as his “trump card” to squash government plans that did not suit his clients.

On one occasion Byers says he phoned Mandelson to put a stop to “massively bureaucratic” food labelling regulations after he had been contacted by Tesco. “Peter got it delayed and then got it amended,” Byers said. He also boasted he could get confidential information from Downing Street and could help firms which were price-fixing to get around the law.

On Friday Byers issued a statement saying that he had “exaggerated” his claims and had retracted them the day after the meeting in an email.

Lord Adonis and National Express denied there was any deal. However, a source close to Richard Bowker, who was chief executive at the time, said that the Byers version given to the undercover reporter was “pretty accurate”.

Hewitt offered a service helping clients to influence legislation. “If you’ve got a client who needs a particular regulation removed, then we can often package that up [for a minister],” she said.

On Friday Hewitt issued a statement saying she was offering to do the work only after she left the Commons. “I am always willing to give advice to companies who have something positive to offer our country,” she said.

Hoon revealed that he had already been offered a chairmanship of a foreign defence firm for an “embarrassing” amount of money. While making clear that he did not want a job that was predominantly lobbying, he offered to find out information on the defence policy from civil servants and said he would introduce fee-paying clients to ministers.

On Friday a lawyer for Hoon said his comments had been misrepresented and he denied ever offering to give confidential information.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article7068820.ece

David Guyatt
03-22-2010, 12:15 PM
I remember Sir Reginald with fondness. I studied under him at Peterhouse for my Doctorate in Political Sophistry & Trouser Stuffing (not to be confused with shirt lifting). I got a 2:1, whereas he had a first class bank account.

Good times.

This must have been during Pike-Darkness' faux-revolutionary period circa 1968, when he was writing for Harold Evans' Times on such diverse issues as fashion ("the drainpipe hipsters against the fascist De Gaulle"), politics ("is Robert Kennedy a communist?"), and rock music ("Mick Jagger gives me satisfaction: an interview"). This period is not to be confused with his later, Monday Club period, when he anonymously authored the pamphlet "Red Star over Sidcup" (Grocer Heath as a conscious agent of the Bolshevik conspiracy), and co-authored (with William F. Buckley, Jr.) a thriller alleging that a naked Khrushchev axe-murdered JFK in revenge for his humiliation in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

By the way, he didn't stroke a youthful Guyatt leg, did he, and demand you be of some service to the nation?

Thought as much. Typical SIS.

Gasp!

He must've tried the same tactic on you too then? I sent him packing to fag on other fags. My attitude was that nothing was for free (not even when I was at that tender age) and that ethic, I'm delighted to say, later informed the monetarist philosophy of Keith Joseph. Ho hum.

Tell me, didn't the Grocer play his own piano (and others too, I understand) At Peterhouse? I know, for a fact, that he was caught jibbing his sails, and raising his mast colours in the lavatories at there.

I ask because I'm sure I remember the occasional loud shouts of "Bonjour matelot!" followed by the tinkling of the ivories in a rather poor and frail rendition of Pyotr Ilyich's Sugar Plum Fairy wafting out of the common room. That and the whiff of buttered crumpet, oozing cream horns amidst the general cottaging activities that Peterhouse was renowned for.

Paul Rigby
03-28-2010, 08:40 AM
[QUOTE=Paul Rigby;18770][QUOTE=David Guyatt;18768]Gasp!

He must've tried the same tactic on you too then?

As I solemnly informed P-D, a patriot and his pants are not so easily parted: Was he talking cash or credit card? If the latter, he was to remove his grubby, if impeccably establishment, digits from my thigh at once.

There, I was a man of principle from the first. And I still have one of the used fivers to prove it.


Tell me, didn't the Grocer play his own piano (and others too, I understand) At Peterhouse? I know, for a fact, that he was caught jibbing his sails, and raising his mast colours in the lavatories at there.

A sickening tale of high-level depravity. Plainly, I applied to the wrong place. Damn.


I ask because I'm sure I remember the occasional loud shouts of "Bonjour matelot!"

A Noel Coward connection? Splendid. "Every girl who loves a boy/In Chicago, Illinois/Giggles and shoots him dead..."

Paul Rigby
03-28-2010, 08:55 AM
More of those Westminster Cabs hove into view. The really shocking thing here is that one of the two named, Caborn, is the possessor of an Old Labour beard, in days of yore, a badge of incorruptibility. Now, sadly, a beard is merely gay slang for “corrupt politician.” How easily language is corrupted.

Proof of Caborn’s beardedness:

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/richard_caborn/sheffield_central

Invitations to both men to join the BEP are winging their way electronically as I type. The more the merrier, if you know what I mean. My accountant, Roger Offshore, certainly does.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7076041.ece

From The Sunday Times

March 28, 2010

Two more ministerial ‘cabs for hire’

INSIGHT


TWO more former Labour ministers have been secretly recorded offering to exploit their government contacts and experience to help commercial clients for fees of up to £2,500 a day.

Adam Ingram, the former armed forces minister, said he could draw on a pool of out-of-work ministers who could be used to harness their government contacts.

Richard Caborn, the former sports minister, said he may be in line for a peerage that would boost his chances of extracting valuable information from the corridors of Westminster.

The cash-for-access scandal has already claimed three Blairite ex-cabinet ministers, suspended last week by Labour after they were exposed for offering to help clients lobby for fees of up to £5,000 per day. On Friday, John Lyon, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, said he would hold an inquiry into the trio.

This weekend a YouGov poll of more than 1,500 people for The Sunday Times shows that by nearly two to one, 49% to 29%, voters agree with Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, that this is the most corrupt parliament in Britain’s history. Three-quarters of people, 74%, believe there should be an inquiry into claims by former ministers that their lobbying had changed policy.

The Speaker, John Bercow, is working on curbs to restrict the number of ex-MPs with Commons passes and bring in new rules on disclosure of members’ outside work. A 15% cap on the amount of money an MP can earn on top of basic salary is also being proposed.

Today’s disclosures show that former middle-ranking ministers are also willing to use their connections with politicians and officials as they line up work to cushion their retirement from the Commons.

Ingram and Caborn were interviewed by an undercover reporter posing as a company executive wanting to hire MPs for lobbying work. The interviews were part of a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches in which both Labour and Conservative politicians were approached.

Ingram, who is standing down as MP for East Kilbride at the election, offered to develop a network of former ministers who could be useful for their contacts in different departments.

“There’s going to be a lot of ex-ministers ... and they then become a point of contact in the political network. ‘Who do you know in that department? Who can you suggest to talk to?’ And that becomes a point of contact. So all of that can be established,” he said.

He was happy to help the reporter meet serving ministers after the election, saying there were strict rules preventing him lobbying while in parliament but he could do so as a “non-MP”.

However, he suggested that the fictional company might wish to target civil servants as “they draw up invitations to tender, they then make all the recommendations, which may not cross the minister’s desk”.

When asked if he still had good contacts with civil servants from his time as a minister, he responded “oh yeah”. The reporter asked: “So you would be able to help us develop our relationship with the ministers and civil servants?” and Ingram replied: “I’d do that, I could work at that, yeah.”

Ingram said he was paid £1,500 a day or £1,000 a meeting by companies. He could already make up to £173,000 a year from outside earnings on top of his £65,000 salary as an MP.

The former defence minister revealed he was employed by two British businesses which are helping to establish a new defence academy in Tripoli for Colonel Gadaffi, the Libyan leader. “Gadaffi wanted a defence academy built, and people I’m with have got very good points of contact with the Libyan regime,” he said.

On Friday, his solicitors said he had not offered to sell his experience and contacts during the meeting. He said he regarded it as wrong for ex-ministers to sell their contacts and influence to give businesses privileged access to government.

Caborn, who is standing down as the MP for Sheffield Central, expressed interest in working for the reporter’s fake company but said he would not decide until after the election.

He talked about a number of services he could offer, quoting a daily rate of £2,500 “plus expenses”. He said he would be willing to build relations with ministers who were “good friends”. He was also happy to approach senior Conservatives if they come to power.

“There’s a number of ways in which you can influence or at least access ministers, whether it’s a sector or an individual company, or what. And also on policy as well,” he said.

Caborn may be in line for a peerage, which he said would give him “access to ministers” and information. “All this is all about contacts, it really is. It’s not so much always about influencing, it’s about getting information. And that’s absolutely key, because if you can get information that is very powerful.”

On Friday, a letter from Caborn’s solicitor said he had not committed himself to work for the fake company and denied that he had acted “unethically”. Caborn said his £2,500 day rate reflected three days’ work. This was not made clear during the meeting.