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Wednesday 19 August 2015

Simon Danczuk’s Gravy Train

Regular visitors to Zelo Street may recall my pointing out the admonishment issued to Rochdale’s nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk over his failure to correctly register remuneration. This extended not only to income from the book Smile For The Camera - actually written by his former sidekick Matt Baker - but also to another twelve registrations which were declared late. The Commissioner was not impressed.
Behold the former representatives of Themselves Personally Now

Kathryn Hudson told at the time that “While I do not believe that Mr Danczuk deliberately failed to register his interests, the resulting situation is entirely unacceptable. It has continued during my investigation and as yet I have no evidence that Mr Danczuk has put in place any administrative system which will ensure that it does not”. She then effectively put Danczuk on notice to improve his behaviour.

This was her conclusion: “I am … not confident that [Danczuk] has taken the necessary remedial steps. It is for this reason that with regret I am bringing an otherwise straightforward matter to the attention of the Committee. I have also asked the Registrar, if Mr Danczuk is re-elected, to report to me in October 2015 on his registration practices”. Come October, she will have yet more late registrations to consider.

Because, right now, there are ten late declarations against Danczuk’s name, plus the hospitality he received in the form of an invite for two to last year’s Chelsea Flower Show, which took him five and a half months to declare. And then there are some eyebrow-raising payments as well, not least of which is one from ITV. The circumstances of the £3,000 payment are not given. Here’s what the register says.

“Payments received from ITV Services Limited, Business Service Centre, Trafford Wharf Road, Trafford M17 1FZ: 1 August 2015, received £3,000, for appearance/s. Hours: approx. 2 hrs. (Registered 03 August 2015)”. This is believed to be for an appearance on This Morning. Moreover, it is also believed that his appearance was on a Wednesday when the Commons was sitting, and Danczuk missed PMQs as a result.

And if that were not bad enough, there is also the rather more significant sum of £10,000 from News Group Newspapers - that would be the Murdoch empire - which is prosaically described as “24 July 2015, received £10,000 for an article I contributed to. Hours: 5 hrs. 
(Registered 28 July 2015)”. Have a think about that. Ten bags of sand for just five hours’ work. That is exceptional, especially when put alongside other payments.

Danczuk contributed to, or co-wrote, five other articles for News Group titles between December 2014 and July 2015. The payments ranged from £150 to £400. The implied hourly rate ranged from £125 to £400. Yet he was then paid at the rate of £2,000 an hour just for “contributing to” another article. This smells ripe enough for fuller disclosure to be a necessity - unless he wants the world to conclude that he is in Murdoch’s pocket.

And that is before we see his expenses claims for 2014-15. Get that gravy flowing!


Anonymous said...

Who does Danksuck support in the leadership race?

Tim Fenton said...

Danczuk is backing Liz Kendall.

rob said...

Not a team player?
Simon Danczuk - The Kevin Pietersen of the Labour Party but without any discerning ameliorating talent?

Anonymous said...

To Tim.......Well I never.