Friday, June 19, 2009

Binley Gives the Telegraph a Piece of His Mind

Brian Binley, Tory MP for Northampton South has written a piece for the Cornerstone Group blog in which he takes aim at the Daily Telegraph and pulls the trigger with some panache. He is furious at the Telegraph's story about his living arrangements this week, and after reading his defence, I have to say i don't blame him. Read his story HERE.

26 comments:

Swiss Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Swiss Bob said...

Start again.

Iain, the Telegraph says June 19th is the happiest day of the year.

It's hard to argue: Metropolitan Police to investigate MP’s.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't really get away from the fact that he rent a property from a company he is Chairman of though does it? It may well have been better for the taxpayer that the company subsidised his living arrangements. On the other hand it is no where near being whiter than white.

Anonymous said...

"Oh, and the company was about £38k down on the deal over the three year period. So much for implying that I had diverted taxpayers money for my own personal benefit!"

If Mr Binley MP's accomodation was subsidised to the tune of £38k by BCC marketing, a company of which he was chairman, what were BCC getting in return?

Armchair said...

I don't think Binley has sinned particularly badly.

The Telegraph has stitched him up just for the sake of a story that they know the public won't consider in the cold light of day.

Hope he fights it all the way.

JuliaM said...

"t doesn't really get away from the fact that he rent a property from a company he is Chairman of though does it? "

Nope, it's just misdirection, stunning hyperbole and whinging justification.

"Hope he fights it all the way."

Fights it how...?

It's out in the open now, and we can all see how he reacts to any questions about his behaviour - with overly-dramatic accusations and no action at all. If he thinks he's been hard done by, he can sue, can't he?

sinosimon said...

erm......he paid OUR money to a company both he and his wife were directors of.....that owned the flat he was renting.....so as a director, presumably owning shares in the company, he was in effect, paying taxpayer's cash to himself......if you think this is reason for HIM to feel aggrieved then you must have hit the night nurse with a little too much enthusiasm Iain. he should beanother on the downbound train asap

Elby The Beserk said...

Poor Brian. I just posted this on his blog.

Now you know what it is like to be a citizen of the UK these days. You are suspected of expenses fiddling. We are suspected of being terrorists

Poor you.

Doug said...

I think he was caught bang to rights. His defence is that he arranged his accommodation in such a way that his company made a loss (if that is true). That is no way to arrange his expenses and is completely opaque as to whether the company in question is taking advantage or not. Any other MP who used the same arrangements could have just as easily made a profit and benefited the company and the MP. Then again neither is it right for MPs to sustain losses, directly or indirectly, that can make them susceptible to corruption. It raises the possibility of MPs being beholden to a company if preferential rates are being applied. Suggesting his board of directors makes it legit also opens the possibility that the board can exert undue influence on the MP.

Bill Quango MP said...

Iain if you had heard him defending himself on the radio you would have no sympathy.
"I have done nothing wrong.. justification..within the rules.. It was allowed. ..not sorry.. not consider paying any money back.."

To get the full self justification/just don't get it mentality he need only have added

"I was only obeying orders.. it was the war.. everyone did it!" and "They were only Jews"

Anonymous said...

Whatever the rights and wrongs of what Binley did, surely he was at no point fleecing the taxpayer, and surely that is what the expenses mullarky is all about, isn't it. It seems to me that Binley was actually trying to SAVE money, and whether the rent goes to a company that he's a director of, or a grateful private landlord is irrespective. Or maybe I'm just naive! By the way, I understand the Telegraph didn't like it up 'em. If they can't take a robust defence, then they shouldn't dish it out. Good on Binley for sticking up for himself.

Anonymous said...

What`s the difference between his rental from his own Company and the Wintertons (Mr and Mrs Expenses ) renting a flat owned by their childrens` trust fund ? Nothing, methinks.
It all stinks.

Gareth said...

If the firm truly is about £38k down has the donation in kind been declared to the Electoral Commission?

Oxbridge Prat said...

His argument is very weak - they have him bang to rights.

Duncan Cookson said...

He's my MP and I contacted him about it. I got a couple of set letters which didn't answer any points I made. The problems are as follows...

1. It was against the rules but instead of accepting it he strung out an appeal for 3 years, an appeal he was always going to lose and did. Maybe that's the Speaker's fault too but he should have stopped claiming the money while the appeal was pending. His claim that "I had cleared my living arrangements with the Fees Office at Parliament, and then the rules changed, so I had to move out, though I appealed against the changes before I did so", doesn't give any sense of the time it took for the appeal.

2. As I understand it the arrangement meant he claimed full rent which nearly covered the mortgage payments whereas if the flat had been in his own name he would have only been entitled to the interest on the mortgage.

3. The flat was £1500 a month in swanky Pimlico. Northampton is an easy commute to London and cheaper options were available.

4. He made a big play to me and the press about how he'd always been against expenses and how honourable he'd been and so on and yet voted against his own party and with Labour members on external audits of claims and no money for furniture last year. You can see this here. He was joined by Mackay, the Wintertons and Kirkbride amongst others.

5. His hysterical comparison of an email from the Telegraph to living under the Stasi and KGB is pretty insulting to the poor people who actually did.

6. He says that the purchase of the house was a commercial decision which is a little misleading. In his email to me he wrote "I might tell you that I was a late entrant into Parliament and didn't want to lumber my wife who is 18 years younger than me with a sizeable mortgage, recognising that at my age things could go wrong. Because of this, my fellow directors were willing to take out a mortgage that was perfectly legal at the time and I pursued that as an objective and as an ideal solution". In other words the flat was only ever for him.

7. His defense to me that he could have taken the mickey much more isn't a particularly comforting one.

Anonymous said...

If Brian Binley's company were receiving less from him that it was costing to own & maintain the flat it would affect their profits (to the tune of £38K?)

This would reduce the tax liability of his company, benefiting the directors & shareholders.

In his own words the flat was bought, by the company, for his use. Surely a "benefit in kind" and hence taxable. Was any paid?

jafo said...

"Binley Gives the Telegraph a Piece of His Mind".....

Judging by that load of santimonious self-serving rubbish he came out with, he needs to get that piece of his mind back sharpish, he doesn't have any to spare.

Anonymous said...

i see the Telegraph had another, this time gratuitous, go at Binley today. Hell hath no fury than a Telegraph journalist scorned. There was no story, so they got at him through is media guy, who I feel genuinely sorry for. I know him a little, and he's a top guy, integrity beyond reproach, and a top quality operator. I have spoken to him about it and he is still shell-shocked at the experience. He was, he admitted to me, very evasive at first call because he suspected mischief making of some kind, and wanted to check it out. But once Binley's office had told him the Telegraph had been on to them, and the reporter had left a number for him to call, he rang and was totally transparent and honest. There was no story, so they decided to turn him over. How charming of them. Whatever the rights of Binley's accommodation arrangements, I do think he has a point that sensationalism and vindictiveness has taken over from honest reporting.

Anonymous said...

Duncan, I have spoken to Binley, and mentioned his KGB reference. He said he certainly didn't mean to be offensive, but he was genuinely shocked at the aggressive nature of his conversation with the journalist, who, he says, was grilling him as if he was a common criminal. And "could have taken the micky more" I think is his clumsy way of saying that lots of MPs made an appalling abuse of the system, which he never did. I am not a Binley apologist, but I have met the man, and I do think, overall, he means well. I also accept the reasoning that MPs do need to stay in London at least 3, possibly 4, nights a week - it is up to the Fees Commission to work out how best to make this best value for the taxpayer. Anyway, there are lots worse than Binley. The most important thing is that from now on, the system is overhauled, and today's nonsense about council tax far overshadows Binley's rent, and to who he pays it.

Joe Public said...

Presumably there are receipts to prove today's allegations are false; and, tax has been paid on all income?

Duncan Cookson said...
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Duncan Cookson said...

Well anonymous I think that claiming more than £50K that he wasn't entitled to and then refusing to pay it back is serious enough for it to be a major news story. The reasons for the rules are to stop people doing what he did. Buying a house through a company so they can claim rent instead of mortgage interest. I don't think too many people will be convinced by your character reference. You're entitled to your opinion. I disagree.

Why do they leave a comment deleted reference when you delete a comment? Does anyone know the reason? I just did it to tidy up a grammatical mistake and now I've made the thread look messy...

Anonymous said...

We'll beg to differ, Duncan, though taking the issue of expenses all in all we're there or thereabouts! I wish you, and everyone, a happy Sunday.

DominicJ said...

He rented a flat from himself, and used expenses to pay himself the rent, we're not happy about that.
His defence is almost as bad as waving a cheque around.

He claims he wasnt confident about the future to buy, fair enough, so why not rent privatly, rather than purchase through intermediaries?

Carl Gardner said...

I'd like to know why my perfectly reasonable comment of 20/6/09 @11.42 a.m. is still awaiting moderation and has yet to appear on the Cornerstone blog, although later comments have been posted, in some cases in edited form, in some cases not posted with an explanation, for example about foul language.

In it, I said I was not satisfied with the diversionary "witch-hunt" defence, pointed out Brian Binley denied none of the facts stated by the Telegraph, and asked him further questions about why it was in his company's commercial interest to buy accommodation which according to him as I understand it, it rented to him at a loss.

Anonymous said...

This is very odd. The comment I added over at Cornerstone has been awaiting moderation for days. One posted after mine, containing nasty sweary words has already been ruled out of order, and quite right too. All I did was ask what gives MPs the right to £100 a week of free food, more than the old age pension and four times more than the daily messing rate for a soldier in Iraq. They seem to be having some trouble with that.