Boris Johnson apologises to MPs for failing to declare income in time

From The Guardian: Boris Johnson has offered MPs a “full and unreserved apology” over the late declaration of more than £52,000 in income.

He made the apology to the House of Commons having been told to do so after he repeatedly failed to register payments from his newspaper column and books within the set time limit.

In a report, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, Kathryn Stone, said that the former foreign secretary admitted he had failed to register payments in time on nine occasions in the previous 12 months.

The report recommended that Johnson make an apology to the Commons on a point of order.

Stone said that while the Conservative MP had fully cooperated and promised to address the issue, the amount of money registered late – almost £53,000, or about 70% of his MP’s’ salary – and the number of times it had happened “suggested a lack of attention to the house’s requirements, rather than inadvertent error”.

Under parliamentary rules, MPs are allowed to earn money beyond their official duties but authorities must be notified within 28 days so it can be entered into the register of MPs’ financial interests.

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Theresa May lies on LBC about accusing police of “crying wolf”

From Momentum: Video evidence that Theresa May lied on LBC radio about her past “crying wolf” dismissal of the impact of Tory police cuts.

Liar Liar

Caught red-handed… 😢🐺?

Posted by Momentum on Friday, November 16, 2018

In one letter, Esther McVey misleads us seven times over the DWP’s impact on minorities

From the New Statesman: Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary who resigned over the Brexit deal, departed in true DWP style: disingenuously.

After her argument against Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement, the departing cabinet minister listed her “achievements” at the Department towards the end of her letter.

Let’s take a closer look at these boasts, shall we?

Employment did reach a record high this year. The unemployment rate is at its lowest since the Seventies. Sound good? These figures disguise the increasingly precarious nature of work for British people. Last November, the number of people who did not have enough work, who were on temporary or zero-hours contracts, or who were classed as “self-employed” but actually only working for one employer still remained higher than before the 2008 crash. The latest Office for National Statistics figures show that the number of people aged 16-64 who are not working, not seeking work and not available to work has actually increased, while the number of people in work hasn’t changed since March-May this year.

[Read full column on New Statesman website…]

Department for Education caught adding tuition fees to school funding claims

From BBC News: If you’re a student paying tuition fees, you might be surprised to find that the cost of going to university is being included as “spending” in the government’s defence of its record on school funding.

But when ministers faced accusations of under-funding schools in England, a figure they quoted widely as evidence of high spending has been found to include billions of pounds of university fees being paid by students, rather than only government spending.

School leaders have described this discovery as “shocking and disturbing”.

Last week, more than a thousand head teachers marched on Downing Street, protesting about school funding shortages.

The Department for Education rejected their claims, saying not only were record amounts going into schools but the “OECD has recently confirmed that the UK is the third highest spender on education in the world”.

The claim for world-beating spending was used repeatedly by the DfE, it was published on the department’s website and the Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb, used the same argument on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, in a debate over school budgets.

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Jo Swinson pairing row: Conservatives admit chief whip asked MPs to break arrangements

From The Guardian: The Conservatives have been forced to admit that their chief whip asked MPs to breach Commons voting conventions in knife-edge Brexit votes on Tuesday, as opposition parties demanded he quit and queried the accuracy of the prime minister’s account of events.

Party sources conceded on Thursday night that Julian Smith had asked several Tory MPs to break pairing arrangements but most had refused to do so. The only one who did obey the instruction was paired to a Liberal Democrat MP who was on maternity leave.

They admitted that Smith had wanted some MPs to break “short-term” pairing arrangements, where a Tory is asked to skip a vote because an opposition member is unable to attend for good reason, but had made an error in asking the party chairman, Brandon Lewis, to vote because he was paired with Jo Swinson – who only recently gave birth.

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Esther McVey misled MPs over Universal Credit, watchdog says

From The Guardian: Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, has been forced to apologise to parliament after making misleading statements about the government’s faltering welfare changes.

The MP for Tatton’s statement followed the release of a damning letter from Sir Amyas Morse, who told the minister she had misinterpreted a report by the National Audit Office on Universal Credit to make it look as if the new welfare system was working well.

McVey should not have claimed universal credit was being rolled out too slowly when the NAO had said the DWP should ensure it was working properly before transferring any more people on to it from previous benefits, she was told.

She should not have said universal credit was working when the report said this was not proven, Morse said. She should not have claimed that the report had not taken into account recent improvements in welfare, when it was signed off days earlier by her department, he added.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Tories ridiculed after shamelessly taking credit for new EU law to protect holidaymakers

From Evolve Politics: The Conservative Party have once again attempted to take the British public for fools after bigging themselves up for implementing a new law that they had nothing to do with.

Writing on Twitter, the Conservative Press Office proudly announced that: “We are introducing new rules to protect package holidaymakers and save customers tens of millions of pounds.”

However, almost immediately after posting their tweet, the Tory Press Office were inundated with numerous exasperated responses pointing out that, far from this being anything to do with the Conservative government, it was actually an EU Directive.

This is far from the first time this year that the Tory government have been caught out claiming credit for EU laws.

[Read full article on Evolve Politics…]

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