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Thursday 14 August 2014

Guido Fawked – Andy Burnham Story Is A Dud

[Update at end of post]

It seems that the combination of staff shortage and desperation is causing the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and whoever is present at the Guido Fawkes blog to exhume old stories – and not with any extension of their credibility. Following the failed attempts to smear Commons Speaker John Bercow, the Fawkes folks have recycled an old story about shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham.
Fart in lift inquiry ongoing

Burnham ‘Owes’ Tax Efficient Lobbyist Aide £20,000” they proclaim, once again letting readers know that they are about to parade their ignorance of how thousands of self-employed people conduct their tax affairs. The Inland Revenue prefers to deal with those who have several income streams via a limited company. There is nothing dodgy about this. It is normal practice for the self-employed.

Not to The Great Guido, it isn’t: “Readers will remember how back in 2011 this blog revealed how Lee was being paid as Burnham’s spinner not on a normal PAYE contract, but through his company, Lee Communications. Since Labour advisers are paid for by taxpayer-funded ‘Short Money’, this seems particularly creative”. Where does one start on this slice of utter idiocy?

If Kevin Lee had more than one income stream, using his limited company would have made complete sense. Burnham would not have had to deal with Income Tax and National Insurance issues; all would be dealt with by Lee. And whatever method was used to raise funds for advisors is irrelevant to that process. Self-employed people, such as consultants, working this way is not witchcraft.

But there is another angle being pushed by The Great Guido, and, to no surprise at all, it is the Parliamentary pass one, as with the Bercow’s family friends, and with the same less than mellifluous turn of phrase: “Burnham has never managed to explain why he gave a lobbyist donor unfettered access to the parliamentary estate”. Yes, passes in Fawkes land bring “unfettered access”. Cut and paste that post!

All of which suggests this is yet another lame attempt by newly anointed teaboy Alex Wickham to regain some of that credibility he sprayed up the wall failing to smear Owen Jones, before then failing to smear the Bercows. What he appears to find difficult to understand is that Kevin Lee was being paid by Andy Burnham as an advisor: of course he had a Parliamentary pass.

In conclusion, the Fawkes rabble ask “As for that £20,000 loan, did Burnham ever pay it back?” to which the answer is that they have a variety of communication options available to them, and it should not be beyond the wit of mankind to use one of them to ask Burnham. He may refer them to the precedent legal case of Arkell v Pressdram, but that, for the Fawkes folks, is an occupational hazard.

Either way, this attack is going nowhere. Another fine mess, once again.

[UPDATE 15 August 1815 hours: information has arrived on Zelo Street which answers the question of the £20,000 loaned by Kevin Lee to Andy Burnham for his leadership campaign.

And that information is, to no surprise at all, that the loan was repaid some time ago. But here's the more interesting part: The Great Guido was told the loan had been repaid, yet has clearly taken no notice and so continues to ask questions about it, despite it not having existed for some years.

It seems the Fawkes rabble owe Andy Burnham and Kevin Lee a retraction and apology. But, as any fule kno, being the Guido Fawkes blog means never having to say you're sorry. So they most likely won't get one]

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