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Monday, 25 January 2016

Danczuk Expenses - Police Called In

If you, or indeed any member of the public, were to go into a shop, help themselves to the goods on offer, and then walk out without paying for them, it would impress neither the shop owner, nor the law, nor indeed the legal system, were you to say in your defence that you hadn’t read the rules very closely and would pay back anything you owed. You’d be for the proverbial high jump, and there would be no defence.
So there will be few in politics or the press rushing to the defence of Rochdale’s nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk, after the Sunday Mirror revealed yesterday that he is alleged to have overclaimed as much as £25,000 in expenses in allowances for his two eldest children, whom he has, according to first wife Sonia, not seen for several years. The claims date back to 2011, and now the matter has resulted in a complaint.

The complaint, it seems, has been made to both Greater Manchester Police and Parliamentary standards watchdog IPSA, just to be on the safe side. The BBC’s highly sound North West political editor Arif Ansari has observed “.@gmpolice is talking to IPSA to decide who will investigate allegations against @SimonDanczuk over his expenses which he denies”. And there may be worse to come.

As I noted recently, IPSA has been giving consideration to opening an inquiry into the five-figure sum in overtime payments claimed by Danczuk on behalf of second wife Karen, whom he employed as a case worker at his constituency office. My information is that, following a complaint to IPSA, two spot checks were made to confirm that Kazza was indeed at Danczuk’s office. But on both occasions she was absent.
Perhaps IPSA and GMP could come to some sort of compromise, one to look into Kazza’s overtime payments, and the other to look into the allowances claimed for his kids. And it could be yet worse for the MP: as the Manchester Evening News has explained, “MPs are paid up to £2,425 extra, on top of their basic £20,600 accommodation allowance, for every child who ‘routinely’ lives within them in London”.

There’s more: “His … two children, with his most recent ex-wife Karen, live with her in their former marital home in Rochdale”. They visit Danczuk in London regularly, but whether they could be described as living “routinely” there is debatable. And there is yet more: “He also claimed for 34 train tickets - many of them first class - for his children to travel up and down to London since 2013. Ipsa rules on this are the same - 15 return journeys are allowed a year, but they are supposed to be for children who are routinely living with the MP in London”. That is “living with”, and not “visiting at the weekend”.

And just to be thorough in its reporting, the MEN had added “An intital analysis of the accommodation claims for the last parliament suggests Mr Danczuk had the highest total claim in the country between 2010 and 2015”. Higher than Andy Burnham, who was smeared over his expense claims by the Sun, with Danczuk’s clear approval.

What will Danczuk’s agent Allen Brett and the rest of the Constituency Labour Party make of this latest development? They may not be too impressed.


Anonymous said...

The noose tightens for yet another New Labour spiv.

He's obviously a paid up member of the Hazel Blears Flip Club. Must be something in the Manchester "air." Apart from the rain of course.

With some luck he's about to have a painful session with Sweet Pants in the Scrubs ablutions. Very appropriate.

pete c said...

I know there are people who, for whatever reasons, don't make a success of the marriage habit.

So be it.

But to have the phrase "his most recent ex-wife" attached to your doings is quite something.

Marriage aside, this man isn't making much of a fist at being a half-decent human being, is he.

Anonymous said...

Funny you mention Hazel Blears. Didn't Matt Baker work for her too?

Gweedo Fawkes said...

Being a greedy bastard myself, I never have to worry about expenses.

Chips an Chablis with everything, waiter!

Anonymous said...

Allen Brett lauded as some sort of peoples folk hero? Oh the irony!
Anyone who knows some of the cesspit of Rochdale politics knows that Bretty is Danchuck'b achilles heel.
Private Eye has featured his pugilistic prowess in thumping a election rival who went on to become a councillor. And also published shocking details of Bretty's no win no fee planning consultancy.
Has Allen been tin rattling with local businessmen to help fund Dumnchuck and his cronies election expenses?