Freebie and the Bung?
In any case, Paterson has now decided to leave elective office to spend more time on his other jobs, so the whole exercise - trying to force out the Commissioner for Standards and junk the Standards Committee - appears yet more pointless. Unless the point of the exercise were to take out both Commissioner and Committee before they had the chance to investigate someone rather closer to the heart of power.
Owen Paterson - now no longer an MP
Who that might be may have been one of the great unanswered questions, but for the sad fact that being schooled at Eton, and graduating with a Classics degree from the University of Oxford, can be achieved with a modicum of guile masking the innate stupidity of the individual concerned. So it came to pass that Bozo gave the game away.
Dan Bloom of the Mirror set the ball rolling yesterday lunchtime. “No10 announce Boris Johnson will refuse to declare how much his freebie Spanish holiday at Zac Goldsmith's villa was worth … claimed PM's decision not to declare value of the Marbs trip was within the rules, because: the Commons register says MPs do not need to declare ‘family holidays’, or foreign trips that are ‘wholly unconnected parliamentary or political activities’”.
But, as Bloom points out, Bozo gave Goldsmith a peerage and a Government job. Also, this comes hard on the heels of another Prime Ministerial freebie: as the BBC noted earlier this year, “Boris Johnson has been criticised by the MPs standards watchdog for failing to promptly explain how a trip to Mustique was funded - however he has been cleared of breaching the rules”. As ever, though, it is the detail that gives us the vital clues.
Not declaring my £25k freebie? Er ... if you say so, Alex
“[The Standards Committee] overruled the Commons standards commissioner Kathryn Stone who having carried out the report had concluded that Mr Johnson broke the rules by having not ‘fulfilled conscientiously’ the requirements to register donations”. Oh, and “Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner said: ‘The way Johnson handles his personal finances mirrors the way he governs the country - chaos and confusion’”.
Angela Rayner, you say? Here she comes: “[Boris Johnson] is trying to change the rules and replace the independent anti-corruption standards watchdog because he himself breaks the rules”. And here comes the Beeb: “Opposition parties have called for an inquiry into Boris Johnson's free holiday at a Spanish villa owned by the family of minister Lord Zac Goldsmith”. The cost of that villa to a member of the public? £25,000 a week.
There was more. “Labour and the Lib Dems say he should publish details on the Register of Members' Interests covering all MPs … No 10 said he did not need to and had followed all transparency rules”. And now Ms Rayner “has written to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone”. Who Bozo had tried to have binned.
Anyone might conclude that Owen Paterson was a mere firebreak to prevent Ms Stone from nailing the real corruption - around Bozo himself. I’ll just leave that one there.
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