Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why Doesn't Gordon Brown Fire Margaret Moran?

The BBC local news programme Look East ran a report last night concerning Margaret Moran and her connections to her partner's company eNetworks.

The report stated that Margaret Moran had used her position as an MP to facilitate the access to Government Ministers for the company. Specifically, it was alleged that she has held parties at Westminster to which Ministers were invited.

It was also alleged that eNetworks is run by local Luton Labour party members.

Perhaps the most damaging allegation was that eNetworks submitted an application for a grant for the sum of £26,000 from Luton Council in 2007. Nothing wrong with that on the surface, but eNetworks ticked the box to say that they were a registered charity and gave a charity number. The Charity Commission told Look East that eNetworks is not a charity and that the number does not exist.

Margaret Moran, her partner Mick booker & eNetworks were invited to respond. Neither did.

Interestingly, eQuality ran a conference on 7 May 2009 on housing at which both Andy Burnham and local government minister Iain Wright spoke. Margaret Moran chaired it. Is it ethical for an MP to run a commercial conference company and use her undoubted influence to secure such top name speakers?

And how nice of one of Ms Moran's employees at eQuality to nominate her for a Women in Public Affairs Award. From the citation, you'd think she was a blameless heroine...
Margaret Moran MP for Luton South is an outstanding woman and one that Luton should be proud of.Her vision is that of a forward thinking, modern day suffragette and her attitude is one of a high performance athlete...Parliament would be a very dull place without her; I’m 100% positive about that.

Indeed. Indeed.

UPDATE: The FT has yet more serious allegations against Ms Moran, relating to eQuality. She is accused of using her Commons staff to work for the company.

The FT has further discovered that Ms Moran used her Commons staff to work for Equality Networks (EQN), a non-profit group of which she is the non-remunerated chair. Michael Booker, her fiancĂ©, is one of two company directors. The company, which states its profit “goes back into regeneration, jobs and skills to some of the most deprived communities in the UK”, offers services including research, training and “influencing”, defined as “legislative advice, relationship building and arranging meetings to parliamentary receptions or political briefings”.

EQN’s accounts show its funding comes from public grants, business sponsorship and private events organised for paying clients, principally in the housing sector.

Hundreds of documents seen by the Financial Times dated from 2006 to 2008 show that Ms Moran used her parliamentary staff to write funding bids for EQN, telling one that the salary the individual received was tied to working for EQN. Her constituency office also helped organise “great networking opportunities” at EQN conferences with ministers personally invited by Ms Moran.

When EQN bids for funding were unsuccessful, Ms Moran repeatedly used Commons-headed paper to intervene with local authorities and Whitehall departments to express her “concern and amazement”.

EQN received grants in 2008 from public bodies including £10,000 from Luton Borough Council for local regeneration funding, and £20,000 from the East of England Development Agency’s Investing in Communities programme for a “feasibility study” into a local women’s business centre.

A statement authorised by Ms Moran in response to the FT stated that “Margaret has never written any letters for EQN on parliamentary headed notepaper”.

However, the FT has seen copies of letters written by Ms Moran in 2007 on Commons-headed paper supporting EQN funding bids and personal invitations to EQN events sent to businesses on Commons headed paper.

If David Cameron can fire an MP for claiming £1,600 for a duck island, isn't it about time that Gordon Brown did the same thing to Margaret Moran?

43 comments:

Sue said...

Labour are worried that dear Esther is going to get her feet under that particular table and a corrupt MP is better than no MP:)?

That's Life!

Stepney said...

Call Plod.

This is Fraud.

Simple as.

Stop Common Purpose said...

Sounds like fraud to me. Time to call the polis.

Anonymous said...

And yet the Beeb has been leading on a Tory MP whose mortgage payments were erroneously allotted to the wrong address, something that apparently made no difference whatsoever to what he was paid....

Plato said...

Gordon doesn't want to start the dominoes falling.

Ditto Blears, Hoon, Purnell, Darling et al.

He just doesn't seem to get that it's Game Over.

UB41 said...

Iain, not sure if you read the full article but I believe Ms Moran also claimed over £6K in expenses from EQN.

I can just imagine...

"Well, it seemed rude not to"

I'm in agreement with Stepney.

If this isn't fraud, I don't know what is.

britom said...

There is so much corruption that Brown doesn't know where to start or where it will end.

Cinna said...

The games up Madge. Best come quietly.

Anonymous said...

Oh and whilst we're on the subject of fraud;

Geoff Hoon. Sells his "main" residence thereby avoiding CGT.

How can any property be classified as a "main" residence, if you don't live there? Indeed, if you've even rented it out to another person?

The rules are quite clear -a main residence is that where you spend the maximum number of nights during a week. So, if you live in a Grace and Favour apartment, you have a mansion in Derbyshire and someone is renting your flat, how, in the name of all that is rational, can the flat that you don't live in, be classed as the main residence?

This makes Blears look like a very junior chipmunk in the street gang.

Poor Geoff. No charisma, no brain, no escape. Not even Houdini would be able to get of this one.

PIENOMICS said...

Brown is useless as the public finances show. He's also spineless; failure to call an election last year and not sacking Blears, Moran et al.

Barnaby said...

I think the real crime here is the shockingly unimaginative business names.

Prince Umfufu of Lagos said...

Wow, you guys is better than us at corruption

EnCrYpTeD said...

The full Look East report can be viewed at http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/england/realmedia/lookeast/norwich/lookeast?size=16x9&bgc=C0C0C0&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1

Looks like its only a matter of time before Moran is looking for new employment, wonder if she will go back to Lewisham

Dave said...

Don't forget her Andalucian villa, as reported on The Olive Press via Guido.
She's toast.
They're all toast

Alex said...

Anonymous said:
"How can any property be classified as a "main" residence, if you don't live there? Indeed, if you've even rented it out to another person?"

Simple. The law allows you to tell the Revenue in writing which property is your main residence, provided you have lived there some of the time. If the property is let out then there may be a gain relating to the period of letting but not if the property is only let on a sghort term basis or that part of the gain is less than £40,000.

Simon Gardner said...

It’s all gone suspiciously quiet on the Nadine Dorries front.

(Margaret Moran is clearly toast - even with a 5,650 majority. If her party doesn’t fire her, the voters clearly will.)

cherami said...

Brown won't fire anybody.

Like all bullies, he is a coward.

Anonymous said...

and why does a feasibility study cost 20,000 pounds ? I knock them out all over the world at about 5 grand apiece. Paid for by EU. The EU maybe as corrupt as our lot at HQ but they're mean as hell when they pay their technical experts.

orientalsage said...

Taken from eQuality Networks own website:
>>>
Do you need help with political engagement at the local or national government level?
Do you need to influence and engage key decision makers?
Do you need help getting your message across?
We have a unique set of networks that can get you where you need to be.
Whether you need to promote your work, discuss new projects or planning stages we can help. From legislative advice, relationship building and arranging meetings to Parliamentary receptions or political briefings - we have the unique experience to act as one-stop shop in government and parliamentary relations.
<<<

In view of Ms Moran's relationship with the company, that looks like an offer to sell direct political influence.

Isn't that how Derek Draper lost his job first time round in 1998?

So shouldn't someone else now be due for the chop?

Disco Biscuit said...

She is a fraudster, plain and simple.

golden_balls said...

She won't be the labour candidate at the next election i'm certain of that.

Anonymous said...

He won't. He is simply unable to make a 'difficult' decision. See the Red Chipmunk.

If he starts sacking, he will have to take a scythe to his Glorious Cabinet - Blears, Purnell, Hoon, McNulty, Spliff, Darling to name but 6.

And, lastly, if Steen gets sacked for his duck island, why is Margaret Beckett still standing in her consituency (and even being talked up for a post in any reshuffle)?

How much did we pay for her pergoda?

Lee said...

You could'nt make it up. She will no doubt go but not straight away making GB look more and more weak and not in control of the situation. Reacting instead of acting. Is this what we want from a sitting Prime Minister. Now it looks like all the cabinet will get away with it too! Geoff Hoon, no case to answer, James Purnell, no case to answer. Hazel Blears, doing a fine job and remember she paid the money back straight away (7 days as far as I can remember). He hasn't got the strength within his own cabinet, what next?

Anonymous said...

he won't sack her because he is a putrid sack of syphilitic puss. he has no authority.

if cameron has the guts - get ALL of his MPs to call by-elections - that would cripple Brown once and for all.

Nigel said...

>>How can any property be classified as a "main" residence, if you don't live there? Indeed, if you've even rented it out to another person?

The rules are quite clear -a main residence is that where you spend the maximum number of nights during a week.<<

That's not correct.

As far as I'm aware, for CGT purposes, any residence where you have lived during the previous three years can be nominated as your primary residence.

In Hoon's case, I'm not sure he did.

Purnell was clearly within the rules for CGT, even if his flipping is morally unacceptable.
To claim under ACA for the accounting advice in relation to the sale, as he seems to have done, is utterly indefensible.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who knows about the state sector will recognise this kind of behaviour. No wonder we are so in debt when so many at the top are exploiting the taxpayer

Cinna said...

It appears, according to Guido's blog, that she has a fourth property.

http://www.order-order.com/2009/05/morans-andalucian-villa/#comment-105163

I'm amazed that these so-called representatives of "ordinary hard working families" all aspire to become property magnates.

According to her website she has "Margaret Moran has almost twenty years of experience in housing..." It fails to mention it's her own housing of which she speaks.

Paul Burgin said...

Margaret Moran will be chucked out as sure as eggs are eggs, and if the Luton South Labour Party are stupid enough to defend her, then they too will face the consequences sooner or later. It may take days, weeks, months but it will happen. I know of few Labour activists, if at all, who think she should stay and don't underestimate the anger some of us feel. The fact that 205 of us wrote a letter to the NEC demanding hard and prompt action and that we feel more needs to be done and fast should say something.
As for the Conservatives, how are you keeping your house in order. Its all very well for David Cameron to call for an election now when MP's like James Gray have yet to be deselected

Anonymous said...

A little something from www.shout99.com

"HM Revenue and Customs has tackling tax 'avoidance' and pursuing
those who not only break the rules, but those who 'bend' them as part
of its key objectives for the future.

Usually, tax 'avoidance' is understood to be a legitimate way of
minimising tax bills, as opposed to tax 'evasion' which is illegal.
As for 'bending the rules', perhaps some of the best - or worst -
examples of bent rules have been found in the corridors of
Westminster recently.
Surely the responsibility lies with the Government to clarify the
laws so that scope for 'bending' is removed and tax laws, such as the
much criticised IR35, are clear and understandable."

There's no suggestion that this applies to troughing MPs, just to hard working professional contractors amongst others.

jbw said...

Prince Umfufu of Lagos said...
"Wow, you guys is better than us at corruption"

...and as someone who spent a lot of time travelling to & from Lagos that is quite an epitaph.

Mind you, I still think our MPs are rank amateurs compared with EU politicians.

Anonymous said...

In an earlier posting I made the mistake of identifying Geoff Hoon as a troughing pig of the vilest kind, implying that he avoided paying CGT when he sold his "main" residence - a flat that he didn't even occasionally stay in let along live in.

However I see Gordon Brown has deemed that this was an appropriate way to behave:

" Brown has insisted he will not tolerate abuses of the MPs' expenses system but also decared there was "no problem to be dealt with" in relation to two cabinet ministers.
The Prime Minister was asked about alleged non-payment of capital gains tax by ministers James Purnell and Geoff Hoon.
"They have made their statements, they have said what they have done. There is an inquiry in Parliament. As far as I know there is no problem that needs to be dealt with," he said.

I apologise unreservedly for my earlier mistake. Quite clearly I have been under the impression that if the actions of a small northern MP can be "unacceptable" for a lesser offence then the same rules and judgement would be applied to Mr Hoon for one which could be seen to be significantly more serious.

I was wrong. I beg the forgiveness of all concerned.

Keith said...

Anyone think she still has a chance of winning this?

http://www.womeninpubliclifeawards.co.uk/shortlist_info.asp?id=30

Interesting who nominated her.

Twig said...

Anonymous said...
And yet the Beeb has been leading on a Tory MP whose mortgage payments were erroneously allotted to the wrong address, something that apparently made no difference whatsoever to what he was paid....
May 21, 2009 10:24 AM
I agree, this was clearly a genuine case of form filling error and yet the BBC are still trying to pump it.
They are so desperate.
I hope Cameron is taking note.

Anonymous said...

Now Nigel 12:02 says "As far as I'm aware, for CGT purposes, any residence where you have lived during the previous three years can be nominated as your primary residence."

BUT

Mr Hoon is believed to have made a profit of around £300,000 on the London home he sold in 2006. The property had been rented out for FOUR YEARS before it was sold. During this time, he had lived in a grace-and-favour flat in Whitehall and owned a substantial “family” home in Derbyshire. Within months of changing ministerial positions and leaving the grace-and-favour property, Mr Hoon sold the London house, telling the tax authorities that it was his “principal” residence.

I rest my case.

Chris Paul said...

Why has Cameron not fired McKay and Kirkbride for their disgraceful fiddle? I don't even believe that was within the rules as they claimed. One of the designations must have been hooky.

But I'd have Moron suspended long ago myself ... though I think Ms Dorries may have got herself in some similar tangles.

Who is her Woburn house-sitter?

eve1967 said...

bill wiggin claims he made a mistake by claiming for the wrong house. it appears that his claim for the house he should have been claiming for was less than the amount he was receiving for the the house that had no mortgage.in simple terms he his thick or a crook like the rest of them

Mirtha Tidville said...

Brown is so weak within the PLP, let alone his party at large,quite frankly he couldnt fire a pop gun as things stand.....The snouts are running rings round him and he knows it.......

Men in white coats cant be far away you know..

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

"Why doesn't Gordon Brown fire Margaret Moran?"

Because that would require him to do what he hates above all else, namely making a DECISION.

Anonymous said...

Re orientalsage at 11:38


"Taken from eQuality Networks own website:……………….In view of Ms Moran's relationship with the company, that looks like an offer to sell direct political influence."

But is this a company website?
According to a Who.is search:

Domain name:
equalitynetworks.org.uk

Registrant:
Margaret Moran

Registrant type:
UK Individual

Registrant's address:
The registrant is a non-trading individual who has opted to have their
address omitted from the WHOIS service.

Anonymous said...

On wikipedia it states Ms Morans Partner is a safety officer at southampton university so what is the relationship with eqnetworks.
Also eqnetworks is registered in Luton so why does Ms Moran have to visit Southampton to visit her partner when her partners apparant business is based in Luton. To whom does the property in southampton that I have been paying renovation costs to belong to?

Chalcedon said...

She should be toast according to a well known moral compass. Let alone the court of public opinion.

Just when you thought the wreck had reached the bottom........

Joe Public said...

"And how nice of one of Ms Moran's employees at eQuality to nominate her for .........."

Another MP's employee has picked up Mr Jacqui Smith's laudatory habits.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Margaret Moran bought a Council House under the Right To Buy scheme when Chair of Housing in Lewisham area?