29 Tory MPs have accepted lavish free trips from the murderous Saudi Arabia regime since 2015

From Evolve Politics: A list has emerged detailing a staggering number of MPs who have accepted lavish all expenses paid trips to the head-chopping state of Saudi Arabia.

Since 2015, the government of Saudi Arabia has spent at least £222,000 jetting UK MPs out to the oil rich middle eastern country.

Details of these trips are listed on the website of the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. The purpose of the register is to provide information of any financial interests or benefits an MP receives which could be seen as influential on their work as a Member of Parliament.

33 MPs have taken all expenses paid trips to Saudi Arabia since March 2015 – 29 of them Conservative.

Tory MP Leo Docherty seems to be a frequent flyer. He visited in 2015, 2017 and 2018. He is now a member of the Committees on Arms Export Controls.

For Docherty to even be appointed to that Committee is worrying in itself considering the high number of arms the UK licences for export to Saudi Arabia.

[Read full article (with list of the 29 MPs) on Evolve Politics…]

MPs’ interests in betting industry are the reason for Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals regulation delays, says former Tory minister

From the Morning Star: Tory ministers’ links with the betting industry are the reason for the delays in new restrictions being placed on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), says former sports minister Tracey Crouch.

The Chatham MP resigned from her post after Chancellor Philip Hammond said the cut in maximum stakes to £2 would not come into force until October 2019. Users can currently bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on the high-speed and high-stake electronic casino games.

She told BBC Radio 5 Live that it was a fact that some ministers are “very interested in the bookmaking industry.”

Ms Crouch said she had been working under the assumption that the new £2 maximum stake would be introduced in April 2019.

“There have been conversations that have taken place with many members of Parliament with different interests and, on this occasion, clearly I wasn’t as persuasive as some of my other colleagues,” she said.

Campaigners say FOBTs allow users to lose money too quickly, leading to addiction and social, mental and financial problems. Every day, two people will take their lives because of gambling-related problems, Ms Crouch noted in her resignation letter to Prime Minister Theresa May.

The machines generate £1.8 billion in revenue a year for the betting industry, according to the Gambling Commission.

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

Boris Johnson accepted £14k worth of hospitality from the Saudis days before Khashoggi’s death

From the Morning Star: Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson accepted £14,000 worth of hospitality from the Saudi regime, only days before Jamal Khashoggi’s death, it was revealed this week.

Andrew Smith, media co-ordinator of Campaign Against Arms Trade, said: “Politicians should not be taking money from authoritarian regimes or dictatorships like the one in Saudi Arabia, which has an appalling human rights record and has inflicted a humanitarian crisis on Yemen.

“The Saudi regime is not spending money on hospitality for Boris Johnson because it cares about his views on education. It is doing it because it knows that he’s got ambitions for Downing Street and it wants to buy influence.”

Labour’s shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett said it was another reminder of how far the Tories’ “cosy relationship” with the “murderous” Saudi regime extends.

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

Revealed: The oligarchs who fund the Tory project

From Morning Star: The Tories have “serious questions to answer” over lavish donations to the party by the wife of a former Putin associate, say Labour.

The Conservatives received £4.7 million in donations in the first three months of 2018, more than three times the £1.49m pulled in by Labour between January 1 and March 31, data from the Electoral Commission has revealed.

But £100,000 of the Tories’ total came from Lubov Chernukhin, whose husband Vladimir was Russia’s deputy finance minister during Vladimir Putin’s first term as president, before settling in London in 2006.

Ms Chernukhin has now donated over £620,000 to the Tories since June 2012, including a payment of £160,000 in July 2014 to play tennis with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and £30,000 this February to have dinner with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.

She also tried to donate £10,000 to the party in April 2012, but was deemed an “impermissible donor” by the Electoral Commission.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister John Trickett called on Theresa May to “explain what checks have taken place, and why her party has accepted money from individuals with links to Putin’s regime, despite her promises.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg unrepentant about earning commission on investments in Russian oligarchs

Via The Daily Politik: Andrew Marr challenged Jacob Rees-Mogg on his company, Somerset Asset Management’s links to Russian oligrachs.

Mogg reckons we should be, “much tougher on Russia. I think we should impose the level of sanctions that America has imposed on Russia” BUT it’s OK for Mogg to make money from people who make money from Russia, “by second degree”.

It's OK to Make Money from Russian Oligarchs –

Marr challenged Jacob Rees-Mogg on his company, Somerset Asset Management's links to Russian Oligrachs this morning. Mogg reckons we should be, "much tougher on Russia. I think we should impose the level of sanctions that America has imposed on Russia" BUT it's OK for Mogg to make money from people who make money from Russia, "by second degree".And he's the bookies favourite to be our next Prime Minister – #ToryBritain

Posted by The Daily Politik on Sunday, May 27, 2018

The top 50 political donors

Click the image to enlarge…

A list of the top 50 political donors and which parties they donate to. It won’t shock you to learn that 47 of them donate to the Conservative Party…Source: Sunday Times

Posted by The Daily Politik on Sunday, May 13, 2018

Theresa May’s husband’s Capital Group is largest shareholder in BAE, shares soar since Syrian airstrikes

From RT: Philip May, husband of the UK prime minister, works for a company that is the largest shareholder in arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, whose share price has soared since airstrikes in Syria.

The company, Capital Group, is also the second-largest shareholder in Lockheed Martin – a US military arms firm that supplies weapons systems, aircraft and logistical support. Its shares have also rocketed since the missile strikes last week.

The fact has not gone unnoticed by some on Twitter, who agree that BAE Systems has done very well out of the UK-US-France allied airstrikes on Syria, which were sanctioned by Theresa May. It has been reported that the UK’s contribution to military strikes was to fire eight ‘Storm-Shadow’ missiles at an alleged chemical weapons facility, each of which cost £790,000 ($1.13 million) – totaling £6.32 million ($9 million). The missiles were manufactured by BAE Systems.

Theresa May’s husband has worked as a relationship manager for the research investment company Capital Group since 2005. The Tory-BAE links go even deeper, however. The former chancellor of the exchequer and present editor-in-chief at the Evening Standard, George Osborne’s other employer Black Rock is the fifth-largest shareholder in BAE Systems.

The latest news comes on the back of a recent deal agreed by BAE Systems and the Saudi government for the provisional sale of 48 Typhoon jets to the kingdom. The deal was welcomed by the relevant government officials from the UK and Saudi Arabia, who say it would help safeguard jobs. However, it was criticized by arms campaigners worried about the ongoing war in Yemen.

[Read full article on RT website…]

Russian minister’s wife donated £160,000 to Tory Party for game of tennis with Boris Johnson

The wife of a minister in Vladimir Putin’s government donated £160,000 to the UK Tory party for a game of tennis with Boris Johnson.

Andrew Marr says to Boris Johnson in this video: “Labour says that part of the hesitation in this is that you as a party have been taking far too much Russian money.”

Russian money for government access?

I wonder who won? 🎾

Posted by Momentum on Sunday, March 18, 2018

Westminster Council deputy leader stands down amid investigation over gifts

From The Guardian: The Tory deputy leader of Westminster council has stepped aside after the Guardian revealed he had received hospitality or gifts 893 times over six years, frequently from property developers seeking planning permission.

Robert Davis, who chaired the Conservative borough’s planning committee for 17 years, said on Wednesday night that he was giving up all of his roles as deputy leader and cabinet member for business, culture and heritage while the authority and an independent QC investigates his conduct.

Davis was entertained by and received gifts from property industry figures at least 150 times since the start of 2015 – a rate of almost once a week. His entertainment was paid for by some of the country’s wealthiest property developers including Gerald Ronson, Sir Stuart Lipton and Sir George Iacobescu, the chief executive of Canary Wharf Group.

Read more

Fire station closed by Boris Johnson to be turned into luxury flats by Tory donor

[Meme from Wear Red – Stand Up and Be Counted]

One of 10 fire stations shut by Boris Johnson while he was Mayor of London is to be converted into luxury flats – by a company whose directors include a Tory donor. Belsize fire station was closed in 2014 after 100 years of service to the local community.

Vulcan Property Ltd, which bought the grade II listed building from the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) for £7.8 million, was given planning permission for the flats this week.

Electoral Commission records show one of the company’s three directors, William Richard Woodward-Fisher, made a £2000 donation to a Conservative association in 2005.

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Private companies with financial links to Tory politicians won NHS contracts worth £1.5bn within three years

Private companies with financial links to Tory politicians won NHS contracts worth £1.5 billion between 2012 and 2014, according to research by the UK’s largest trade union.

Among those highlighted in Unite research is former health secretary Andrew Lansley, the chief architect of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act dubbed “the death of the NHS as we know it”. Lansley received a donation of £21,000 from Caroline Nash, the wife of John Nash, in 2009. At the time John Nash was chairman of Care UK, one of the UK’s largest health companies, which, according to Unite, won more than £650m in NHS contracts between 2012-2014.

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Senior Conservative MP uses political contacts to further business empire

From Daily Telegraph: Mark Pritchard, the Conservative MP for The Wrekin, told an undercover reporter that he could use his “network” to set up meetings with politicians in countries where he had parliamentary connections. Mr Pritchard sits on official parliamentary groups for many of those countries where, in return for payment, he was offering to broker investments and to arrange meetings with senior government figures. Parliamentary rules ban MPs from seeking to profit from their positions and warns politicians to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

[Read article on Telegraph website…]