The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog never admits to making wrong calls, and certainly not to any failure to achieve their objectives, but as I told recently, their attack on Commons Speaker John Bercow over the granting of a pass to wife Sally’s friend Farah Sassoon has run out of road. The last press mention was in the Telegraph eight days ago.
Fart in lift inquiry resumes. Badly
So does The Great Guido accept defeat gracefully? You jest. All that happened was that the Speaker’s expenses were once again pored over in the vain hope of digging up some more dirt in order to curry favour with those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet – to whom the Fawkes folks have so shamelessly sold out. So today they have had another go at Bercow, over a trip to Manchester.
Sadly, this poorly researched snark will go as far as the pass story, which is nowhere. Much is made of the Speaker’s car – or cab – travel, from Westminster to London’s Euston station, and around Manchester. The Fawkes rabble claims that it can all be done so much cheaper using Uber, which they paint as a free market solution, rather than a massive corporate trying to crush self-employed cabbies.
Unfortunately for The Great Guido, without knowing what route was taken, and who may have been collected and dropped off along the way, it is not possible to make a meaningful comparison. And, as I’ve noted previously, the basic Uber car is way short on spec compared with a black cab. So that’s a Not Proven, then. And the Manchester car charge allegations are equally unproven.
Staines and his pals say that Bercow claimed £500, but could have done this for £50. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, the event he had gone to Manchester to attend – Paul Goggins’ funeral – was not in Manchester, but at Salford Cathedral. Goggins was MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, and there may have been a constituency gathering afterwards.
Wythenshawe is well out of town. Taxi costs will therefore increase accordingly. But the Fawkes rabble finally scores a minor hit with Bercow’s hotel claim, of £364 for three people for one night. This is above the MP’s accommodation limit of £120 per room per night. Wow. A whole £4. And rooms at the Ibis Budget quoted by the Fawkes blog will each cost rather more than the £32 quoted – without breakfast.
Then we come to the train fares, which the Fawkes folks skip over. That may be because the amount of £79.70 per person return is not “the standard fare” but the Standard Off-Peak fare. MPs can legitimately claim full Standard fare, which for London to Manchester is a honking £321 return, or £963 for three. But Bercow’s party paid only £239.10 – a saving of £723.90.
So that’s another glorious Fawkes failure. Another fine mess, once again.