Sunday, August 27, 2006

Prescott's Two Sons in Sleaze Allegations

For a change, it's not John Prescott who's in trouble in the Sunday papers, it is his two sons, David and Johnathan. I've only jhust got round to reading the Mail on Sunday but they have a story about David Prescott getting a House of Commons pass for his son David (whose daytime job is as a PR consultant/lobbyist) to carry out "media monitoring" work while Prezza was in charge of the country. Yeah, right. Like Prescott doesn't have an army of civil servants and Labour Party hacks to do that for him. Having been through the process, it takes some time to get a House of Commons pass - in my case three weeks, but I have heard of it taking a couple of months. I suspect that Prescott therefore arranged for it to be 'fasttracked'. But I wonder if David Prescott declared his interest in Geronimo Public Relations (proprietor, Gez Sagar, former Head of Media for the Labour Party) on the application form. I don't suppose we will ever know (and that's a hint to any journalist with a good contact in the House of Commons Pass Office!).

The Sunday Times makes allegations against Johnathan Prescott for using Prescott's grace and favour flat to entertain clients. It ends with a quote from a Prescott spokesman who says "It's a private matter and he can do what he likes with the flat". Not when it is owned by the taxpayer, he can't.

So, a few more chips in the Prescott armour. But that's all they are, chips.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like father, like son. What did anyone expect?

ps Iain, the Oxford blue looks brilliant and also makes the banner text legible. And it does give you a clear brand identity. So to speak. Why not stick with it? Poster votes notwithstanding. It's your wall.

Little Black Sambo said...

We have chips everyhere oop north, including in our armour. (Chinks is a forbidden term.)

Verity said...

The Oxford blue is brilliant. So is the smart black. So is the chic chartreuse. So is the jazzy, playful red. So is the classic grey.

This is the smartest and most interesting banner in the business and Iain is to be congratulated on it, not encouraged to diminish it and render it more conventional!

2br02b said...

So, a few more chips in the Prescott armour. But that's all they are, chips.

I thought that was Deputy Dawg's diet: chips with everything.

Scroblene said...

Iain.. bless your socks...

I have to say that Guido got the note I left about what prescott will do when he goes.

Verity started it... not me...

Kindest regards,

S.

Realist said...

I do so wish that these corrupt Gits in the Labour party could be brought to some form of justice. I am not holding my breath though. We musn't forget that the police, who are suposedly going to feel Blair's collar in the near future, are the same outfit, that have had one of their guys, standing outside No 10's front door for the last ten years. In all that time, he hasn't spotted any thing untoward. Based on much of their present record, I havn't got much confidence in them. (unfortunate that, my brother is in the CID).

Verity said...

Sadly, I never cease being astounded at the passivity of the British. The Mail on Sunday readers today were complaining that the construction of the casino attached to the Dome is going ahead on the assumption that Anshutz is going to get it - going ahead without planning permission, I might note.

The writers to the correspondence column were saying things like, "I hope he doesn't get it!" They had already internalised the illegality of it all, and that Prescott is involved, and all they could say was, "I hope he doesn't get it!", like spiteful school children, angry but powerless.

In the US, every senator and congressman would have been flooded with emails and telephone calls by this point,insisting that the illegal work be stoppped, and that those involved in it be prosecuted. And the Congressmen would have pulled out all the legal stops. Work would have been stopped and the participants would have been hauled up. There would have been a hearing at which Prescott would have been required to testify under oath.

This is why America has a robust democracy and Britain votes in a new set of bosses every few years. They kick their toes petulantly into the sand saying, "I hope he doesn't get it!", not even realising it is within their own power to stop it.

Anonymous said...

Verity said:
"This is the smartest and most interesting banner in the business and Iain is to be congratulated on it."

Toady. Just because you're afraid of getting another stylish saffron card.

Beachhutman said...

>>This is why America has a robust democracy and Britain votes in a new set of bosses every few years. They kick their toes petulantly into the sand saying, "I hope he doesn't get it!", not even realising it is within their own power to stop it<<

Often because it isn't in our power any more to do anything about anything - the EU largely runs the country, and it's unelected.

I KNOW the EU didn't buy the dome .............. but I bet they'll get their oars in somewhere !

Adrian Yalland said...

Is there some mechanism that someone can instigate to make a formal complaint/demand an inquiry into Prescott and the issue of the flat being used for his son's business deals.

As for the HoC pass, it will be like Blunkett's nany's visa - 'nothing special, just a little quicker'!

God, this country is becoming more like a banana republic every day!

qaqwex said...

I want to know how that fat useless lard arse can go on TV and say Bechtel will have a major part in the construction of the Olympics when the contract hasn't been awarded yet - and why are the two organisations set up by government to oversee this potential fiasco subject to the FoI Act.

Verity said...

Adrian Yalland - someone may be able to complain to the police. Or call the Public Prosecutor's office. Or call an MP who's a lawyer and ask him. I just don't understand British passivity.

Anonymous said...

Adrian Yalland said:
"Is there some mechanism that someone can instigate to make a formal complaint/demand an inquiry into Prescott and the issue of the flat being used for his son's business deals."

You could always try making a formal complaint to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. He'd be happy to investigate the matter and give you his unprejudiced conclusion.

Verity said...

anonymous 10:13 - This is exactly the fatuous comment I would expect from a Brit. You have no comprehension of how serious this offence, in an elected official, is and you think it's all a bit of a larff.

You have got exactly the government you deserve.

Peter Hitchens said...

let him build his casino, the man obviously doesn't understand london, nobody goes to greenwich ,its a f***** nightmare to get to.
Americans may flock to las vegas (their gambling outlets are limited) but what else is there to see on their godforsaken continent apart from some huge trees, mountains and big holes in the ground?
F*** all.

Anonymous said...

Verity, I admire your vigorous invective and your clear-eyed directness of expression. But you have no sense of humour. As the anonymous (10.13) in question I assure you I have every sense of the seriousness of this Government's corruption and moral turpitude. But I am also perfectly aware of the futility of expecting any official humility, particularly when the arbiter of such reaction is a Prime Minister who sincerely believes he, and by extension the members of his Government, can do no wrong. All we can now do is laugh, and vote them out at the next election.

Would an administration headed by Cameron be any different? Really? Politics in this country is in terminal decline.

qawex said...

My earlier comment should be

"not subject to the Freedom of Information Act"

Corruption - thy name is New Labor

(the u in the last word has been left out deliberatly to remind people of where the PM and DPM heads can be found lodged)

Anonymous said...

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmsecret/060706/memi13.htm

if prescott was attached his father's staff, then he would have to declare everything in the register of members interets. see link above.

Adrian Yalland said...

Verity - we Brits are passive, but the Americans don't understand irony.

Secondly, we don;t deserve a government THIS bad surely?

Thirdly wowever, you have a point - we do accept so much crap from people like John Pisspott - who are just milking the system to advance their own ends. I am therefore going to investigate if there is anything I can do to complain to the police and others and force them to investigate.

verity said...

adrian yalland - good for your intention and I hope you see it through. The easy, deep-rooted acceptance of democracy and accountability as the norm in human affairs is American, not British. The British tend to be exclusive - as in, "What do you think gives you the right to ask this question?" and obstructive.

If some little tosspot asks you why you want to know - which is outrageous, but I bet they do - say you want to know if a crime has been committed. Here is the little tosspot's big chance to put you down: "Sir, if you think an offence has been committed, may I suggest you call Scotland Yard?"

The thing is, British tosspots protect the status quo, despite there being nothing in it for them. If he still doesn't want to answer, ask why he is covering up and ask for his name. He will not give it to you under any circumstances. An American would give it to you the minute you asked. (Of course s/he'd have nothing to fear as they would have acted correctly within the law.)

Americans accept your right to know what's going on in government and what elected individuals are doing the same way they accept that it is your right to breathe.

It's a whole different ethos.

Someone should call and find out whether Prescott's thuggish sons committed an offence by using Prescott's grace and favour residence to prosecute their business.

Why isn't the press all over this? They're so lax. No one in Britain is held to account. Look at Cherie Blair sailing through the Green channel with thousands of goods of gifts. I think when the press got on her case, she paid up, but only after she'd been caught out.

We will all be waiting for your report tomorrow.

casual observer said...

And so it goes on and on and on and on... and nobody does anything about it. Fatso must have some really interesting dirt on his useless boss.

permanentexpat said...

Anon 10:52..........You're going to vote them out next time? Is that a promise?
Adrian Yelland: 'We Brits are passive but the Americans don't understand irony.' Maybe castrated by Nanny is the better explanation & there's certainly no irony in that for even those most deprived of testosterone.
"Hearts of oak are our ships etc."
Give me a break.

Scroblene said...

Qaqwex,

Good point about Olympic builders, but the thing is that there are two years put by for preparation, three to build and one to commission the job.

In terms of who will be in government then, you can be sure that none of the names associated with the job now, will be around to take the blame.

Can you name any of the starter team on the Dome? Vaguely I recall only Michael Heseltine and I'm still not sure...

Indigo said...

Gentle readers might like to update themselves on the Dome corruption scandal. The President and CEO of AEG Europe has had to apologise for fake documents submitted to the Department of Culture. The question everyone should be asking is: what else in Greenwich Council's application for the supercasino licence has been "simply made up".

Indigo said...

proprietor, Gez Sagar, former Head of Media for the Labour Party

I've just noticed this. Well, Gez Sagar is a known quantity - it cannot be that everyone has forgotten his contribution to the work of the New Millennium Experience Company - and the DOME. This includes things like air-brushing out facts inconvenient to Cool Britannia and terrifying those who innocently presented those facts. I speak as one with direct experience of Gez on the other end of a telephone line spewing brimstone.

Indigo said...

Hmmn, my suggestion that people check on the Greenwich Watch blog latest "exclusive" seems to have got lost in the proverbial ether.

Adrian Yalland said...

Verity - you have a point!

Verity said...

Yes, Adrian. But have you done anything?

Adrian Yalland said...

I amde a few phonecalls - but it is Bank Holiday Monday. I do however fully intend to report the incident to the police - once I am clear of my facts. I need some statute to hang my complaint on - and I need to talk to a constitutional lawyer to find the right statute. Unless I go armed with some facts, it will be all too easy for the police to refuse to investigate.

Eleni said...

Well done Adrian Yalland. I hope you see it through as well.

The big question is:

Are all of us blogging on this topic going to help & Support Adrian on this OR are we just going to expect him to get on with it himself?

Money and mouth time! So let’s work on this together. Let’s bombard the "tosspots" with emails and questions.

We just seem to vent our spleens on this blog with little or no change in actual events. What is it going to take?


How about we email the people in question and start copying the press into emails?

If we get behind this on mass then surely we can snowball this into some response and awareness together with setting the example of how we all really want things to go - Accountability.

So how about we work out a plan of action and start tackling this from various angles?

There's nothing wrong in trying to find out the constitutional aspect and getting email addresses etc.

So if anyone has this information already, then please post it so we can all jump onboard and make a difference. From little acorns...

Anon – 11.43 – Thanks for link – but doesn’t work.Can you confirm?

John O said...

Adrian, Try this:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/PCFSComplaintsLeaflet.pd

John O said...

adrian

or www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/notes/snpc-03750.pdf

"Investigation breaches"

Good luck.

Eleni said...

Hi Everyone:

Here's a link. There's too much information to get through so any help would be appreciated in helping out Adrian Yalland!

http://confinder.richmond.edu/country.php

Also http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/~llou/conlaw.html This link starts off it's base in the use but filters to the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember this happening?

http://www.impeachblair.org/article23.shtml

Adrian Yalland said...

I just posted this on adrianyalland.blogspot.com:

I thought those of you who are concerned about ‘standards in public life’ might be interested to see the two emails below, a chain of correspondence between myself and the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life, regarding John Prescott allowing his son to use tax payer funded accommodation for private business meetings.

Of course, the reply from Sir Philip Mawer said exactly what I expected him to say – that Prescott is untouchable! The reply shows that once again, the Deputy Slime Minister has escaped censure for his clear abuse of office because he was abusing his office in his role as Minister of the Crown, rather than as a lowly MP.

So there you have it. A lowly MP can be censured by the commissioner, but a Minister of the Crown, a man who advices the Queen and is the second most powerful man in the UK, is virtually immune from investigation!

Unless of course Tony Blair orders an investigation into the matter! And will he do that?

To the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life and the Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life:

Sirs,
I am writing to both the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, and the Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life to make a formal complaint about the conduct of the Deputy Prime Minister, relating to news reports in yesterday’s Sunday Times, which alleged that the son of the Deputy Prime Minister, Jonathan Prescott, used the Deputy Prime Minister’s official residence (Admiralty House), to conduct a business meeting, presumably at the tax payers expense. I am also considering writing to the police to inquire of a criminal offence has been committed.

I feel it morally wrong that accommodation funded by the state to enable Government ministers to do their job more effectively – can be used to further the financial interest of a relative of the minister. This is, in my opinion, certainly not what such ‘grave and favour’ accommodation is intended for. I strongly believe that if Mr. Prescott Jnr. wishes to entertain business associates, he should do so at his own expense, just as the rest of us do.

I feel it sets a rather unpleasant example, and gives the impression that, the Deputy Prime Minister at least, considers the perks of his position are available to enrich his family, rather than simply enable his to do his ‘job’.

Therefore, I wish to ask the following questions:

1. What do the current rules say about how Government ministers use their tax payer funded accommodation, and more importantly, what do the rules say about their families using the accommodation for private business meetings?

2. Are there any plans to review the rules following these reports?

3. Where any of these rules broken in this instance?

4. Was John Prescott present or in the building during any of these meetings? Has John Prescott ever been present at any other meetings at which his son was present in a business capacity, and have Mr. Prescott Jnr and the Deputy Prime Minister ever discussed matters which could have secured his son information which if acted upon, would financially benefit him?

5. What was the cost to the tax payer of this 'private business meeting' (I presume that there was some entertainment offered – which the tax payer would have funded), and did either of the Prescott’s repay this money? If not, will they now be asked to do so?

6. What are the security implications – where Mr Prescott Jnr. and his guests security cleared?

I feel that further to the above complaint it is reasonable to ask if the committee and the commissioner agree that, given that Mr. Prescott Jnr. was at the time – and indeed still is – a businessman in the property development sector, specializing in advising the property development industry on planning permission matters, and that at the time, the Deputy Prime Minister was responsible for approving planning applications, it was unwise to allow his son to use his official accommodation for entertaining business associates. I certainly think that given the relationship between Mr. Prescott Jnr. and his father would have been well known to his business associates, the decision to hold a meeting at Admiralty House was almost certainly calculated to give the impression of Mr Prescott Jnr. having the ability to use his father’s position to his advantage. I can see no other reason why he would have wanted to have held a meeting at his father’s residence. Would the commissioner and the committee agree therefore, that even if no rules had been broken, then it showed a lack of judgment on the part of the Deputy Prime Minister, and that there is at least the appearance of a potential conflict of interest?

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

With best wishes,
Adrian Yalland


Reply - Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Dear Mr Yalland

Thank you for your e-mail following up a report in the Sunday Times that Mr Jonathan Prescott had used his father's official apartment in Whitehall for a business meeting.

As Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, my role includes considering complaints that Members of Parliament have breached the Code of Conduct or the associated Rules on registering and declaring interests approved by the House. I attach a leaflet which briefly sets out my terms of reference.

You will see from this that I am not able to consider complaints about the actions of a Government Minister as ministers. Ministers are subject in these respects to a separate Ministerial Code, promulgated by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is advised on the application of this Code by the Secretary to the Cabinet. Since the allegations in the Sunday Times concern the use of an official residence provided to Mr John Prescott in his ministerial capacity, I am afraid that I am unable to pursue your complaint. I can only suggest that you either write to the Prime Minister about it or raise it with your own MP.

Yours sincerely
Sir Philip Mawer
Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

Adrian Yalland said...

Guys,

I am not giving up on this, but there are two ways forward:

Firstly, by asking the Police to investigate if an offence has been committed. The difficulty with this is (a) they will probably refuse to do so or (b) will find it impossible to prove a crime has been committed, thus making the use of tax payer funded accommodation for the enrichment of friends/relatives/business associated/whoever you wish a ‘de-facto legally acceptable thing to do.

Secondly, by going down the road of asking the Prime Minister to investigate the Deputy Prime Minister’s conduct in this affair.

However, the difficulty here is that the code of conduct for ministers makes it very clear that:

1. The Prime Minister decides who should be investigated
2. The Prime Minister decides why they should be investigated (i.e. ‘the terms of reference’ of any investigation – what can, and what cannot be investigated)
3. The Prime Minister decides who does the investigation (friend or foe)
4. The Prime Minister decides how the investigation should be conducted

In other words, the PM can simply refuse to ‘recognise’ the need for an investigation, and if he does, then he can simply decide who investigates who, how and for what!

Not exactly open democracy is it!

But, in order for there to be any hope of an investigation, there needs to be public pressure. And the only thing that will create public pressure is media attention. I need the media to take some interest! I really need a journo to take this up and write a ‘who will police the Ministers’ piece’!

IN some respects, it is irrelevant if John Pisspot gets investigated – as he has no credibility anyway. And the more Bliar tries to cover his (all too large) backside, the more he appears untenable too. However, some media coverage of the mater wouldn’t go amiss, simply to keep the disgrace that is John Prescott at the front of the public’s mind – somewhere Blair really doesn’t want him to be.

So, does any one know a constitutional lawyer who fancies a bit of pro-bono work on this?

Adrian Yalland said...

Further to the last two, if Prescott is found to have passed on information to his son, then the following ministerial code of conduct applies:

Financial interests 5.13 b. Ministers are bound by the provisions of Part V of the Criminal Justice Act 1993 in relation to the use or transmission of unpublished price-sensitive information obtained by virtue of their Ministerial office.

Adrian Yalland said...

I am now in the process of writing to the Prime Minister and The Cabinet Secretary - Gus O' Donnell to urge an inquiry into this matter, and here are the email addresses if you wish to follow this example and write to them too:

Gus O Donnell: gusod@cabinet-0ffice.x.gsi.gov.uk
Prime Minister's Private Office: ncshane@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk

Adrian Yalland said...

email now sent to the PM and Gus O Donnell.

I will keep you infomred of progress - assuming I don't end up dead in the woods with my wrists slashed by a blunt knife in a way that wouldn't actually kill me and surrounded by a pool of.....nothing at all!

Anonymous said...

Adrian Yalland said...
Further to the last two, if Prescott is found to have passed on information to his son, then the following ministerial code of conduct applies:

Financial interests 5.13 b. Ministers are bound by the provisions of Part V of the Criminal Justice Act 1993 in relation to the use or transmission of unpublished price-sensitive information obtained by virtue of their Ministerial office.

3:27 PM

SO, on that basis, can't the polic simply invistgate him?

Eleni said...

So the plan of action could possibly be...

We all copy and paste Adrian's qustions and start bombarding emails to our relevant MP's.

Here's the email address link at the House of Parliment site:-
http://www.parliament.uk/directories/hciolists/alms.cfm

We can also get the media involved as soon as we build momentum.

"Iain Dales Bloggers bring Deputy Slime Minister to task" I like it!

Thing is and if anyone could please explain, what is the difference between what blunkett did and 2 shags? Who invistagted him?

Buster George said...

Have been reading this post and am intersted in what Adrian Yalland had to say, and the response he got back to his Emails,

Looking at the code of conduct for monsters ledme to the complaints section. This is what it says about how you complain.


The complaints procedure for the Cabinet Office
The Cabinet Office aims to:

treat complaints seriously and deal with them efficiently
resolve complaints promptly and informally whenever possible
learn from complaints and take action to improve our service.
What to do if you have a complaint
You can complain about the Cabinet Office or a member of Cabinet Office staff in writing, by fax, email, phone or in person. If you want to complain in person you will need to make an appointment.

If you know the name or title of the member of staff or the Department your complaint relates to, you should make your complaint direct to them. It will be helpful if you refer to this procedure when you make your complaint.

What happens next
If you complain in person or by phone, we will try to resolve your complaint immediately. If you complain in writing, by fax or email, we will aim to respond promptly, and always within 15 days. If this is not possible, we will explain why and let you know how long it will take.

If you are not happy with the initial response you receive, you should contact us again and ask for your complaint to be passed to a more senior member of staff.

Following our second response, if you are still not satisfied, you can ask for your complaint to be referred to the Managing Director of the Cabinet Office.

If you remain unhappy with the Department's actions, you may ask a Member of Parliament to request that the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (the Ombudsman) investigates your complaint and/or the way it has been handled.

you can check this out for yourselfat this site

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/contact_us/complaints.asp

If we follow this line then we should ask JP himself to explain his actions publicly, and if we are not happy with his answer then we can ask that fatty passes our complaint on to the PM to deal with.

With enough people asking for answers, at the very least we will keep the water busy.

So lets get victor meldrew on his lard like arse.

Adrian Yalland said...

Anonymous 3.27. It is a good line to pursue, but I suspect that they would have a real issue proving anything concrete! I shall however ask the question none the less!

Buster: The trouble with the 'complaints section' on the conduct of ministers is that it asks you to write/contact the Commissioner for standards in public life - who cannot investigate ministers - only MPs!

The line we can pursue however is getting MPs to demand through the House mechanisms that Pisspott appear before them and answer some questions.

We need people to write to their MP, and to the police, and to Gus O Donnell!

Go to it people!!!

Eleni said...

Here's a link to the schedule 2 from the Paliamentary Ombudsman (which incidentally has been kept quite) which details which departments can be complained about and investigated. And yes the Cabinet Office is on there!

Also, they are independant of the government and appointed by the Crown.

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/publications/pdf/listofdepartments.pdf

All I'll say is that the Humpries of the Labour Party have got to be reeling. Well if we do something about it that is.

I mean we bombard Orange about Inigo but sit back and take this shite. So, as Verity made the point earlier in this blog topic, lets not sit back but get things done! Or at least try.

By the way, where is Verity? We could do with her jumping all over this.

Anyway this PDF is also worth a red. http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/publications/pdf/ombudsman_1.pdf

Have fun. I know I will.

If anyone does find anything out or actually gets any where, or has any advice on this then PLEASE post.

Eleni said...

Adrian

Good to hear you're still alive and well!

Adrian Yalland said...

Eleni! Alive and kicking. Thanks for the link - I will investigate. Am in the middle of drafting a letter to Yates of the Yard as we speak. No news yes from Gus O Donnell, but I imagne that somewhere in Whitehall, some minion is cursing the Deputy Slime Minister and his son for making the poor sod actually do some work for his gold plated index linked pension and over inflated salary!

You can hear it now "the trouble with democracy Humphrey, is that it requires us to periodically do things to please the people. Government wold be so much easier if democracy were simply abandoned, and they let us run the country without hinderence"!

Where is Tony Benn when you need him?