Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Report Into Shahid Malik Must be Published

I am perplexed by the decision of Gordon Brown to prevent the report into Shahid Malik's expenses from being published. Isn't this the man who has been saying he wants to be transparent about expenses? I cannot remember another example of someone in Sir Philip Mawer's position being gagged like this (apart from Elizabeth Filkin's experience, of course). What is the point of an independent inquirer if his work is undermined in this manner? It would be interesting to hear what Sir Philip Mawer thinks about it.

But more importantly, what is in this report which is so bad that they want to hide it?

63 comments:

Alan Douglas said...

If he has nothing to hide, he has nothing to fear.

Or should we say "If he HAS something to hide ..."

Alan Douglas

Tim W said...

It must be pretty impressive stuff, bearing in mind all the scandals of late.

Maybe he starred in Jacqui Smith's pornos and claimed expenses on his work there?

Rick said...

Let's hope the Telegraph can obtain a copy.

Hawkeye said...

It's the best "Downfall" yet...

Anonymous said...

I suspect it won't be published for same reason so many MP's voted against expenses disclosure.

They did not want the taxpayer to know at best, how morally corrupt and, at worst how utterly bent they were!

Simples!

Not a sheep said...

The only thing transparent about Gordon brown is his desire to hold onto power for as long as possible and by whatever means he deems appropriate.

Johnny Norfolk said...

This is Brown with his new open government.

Actions speak louder than words, so there is no change at all.

Anonymous said...

I agree the report should be published, but just on a point of information Sir Philip Mawer is not the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner (that is John Lyons). Sir Philip Mawer is appointed by the PM to investigate alleged breaches of the ministerial code.

Anonymous said...

Make a Freedom of Information requet for it.

Stronghold Barricades said...

Shall I make the FoI request for you?

Unsworth said...

By refusing to publish Brown is indicating that Malik is indeed guilty. Now this is not a case being held in front of a judge, but Brown's action is a mockery of 'open government'. Justice not seen is justice not done.

Hypocrite Brown.

Rexel No 56 said...

Anon @ 10.13

Sir Philip Mawer is not the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner (that is John Lyons). Sir Philip Mawer is appointed by the PM to investigate alleged breaches of the ministerial code.

Indeed, why did Brown feel it appropriate to appoint his own investigator rather than use the existing machinery.

Was it:

a) a knee-jerk response to Cameron's scrutiny panel
b) to keep control so that he could make sure only dissidents could be found "guilty"
c) to keep control of what is published
d) all of the above

Anonymous said...

Words cannot express how frustrated I am at this governement, Gordon Brown and the whole sorry mess of a Labour party.

I watch Malik in interviews and could scream at his arrogance and contempt for anyone who questions his motives or actions.

This is the 'new' Brown and open government? I hope the Telegraph continue to pursue this one.

javelin said...

Oh ... I heard on the radio that Shahid Malik had just been cleared and had been allowed back into the cabinet.

It doesn't get more authoritative than Reuters - 1 hour ago.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/GCA-ukPolitics/idUKLNE55803P20090609

So it's true Shahid Malik is completely innocent!! ;-) Free the Malik 1.

Reuters says "Philip Mawer, Brown's adviser on ministerial interests".

So lets have a look at the full report then Gordon??

Oh - what you are going to give us Brown's conclusion - but not Mawer.

So was it Mawer's conclusion or Brown's conclusion that Malik is innocent?

But I though this was the new transparent Brown - and this is his first test of transparency??? Ha, ha.

Brown: Read my lips. I am not a liar.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Sigh...

Once again Dale's propensity for overstatement gets in the way of a valid point.

He may be entitled to say the report should be published, but he still lacks the power of diktat to say it must be published.

Then, we are entitled to ask, "Why?"

What we know so far is that the Ministerial Code (snap to attention, at the back there!) has been deemed not to have been breached. Presumably, if Malik has overstepped the legalities, he is open to other investigation and sanction. In other words, Dale is demanding self-incrimination if there is an offence; and double jeopardy in any case.

Meanwhile, immediate partisan advantage and lubricious (because it gives Dale and Tories a rise) curiosity "must" take priority over due process.

I wonder if the same itch for illumination applies to the details of, say, the Al-Yamanah deal? If Dale is off "interviewing" Margaret Thatcher, perhaps he might press on that rather-more-significant matter. After all, those revelations were also suppressed by this Labour Government.

Jonathan Cook said...

It really irks me when Gordon pronounces 'Transparent' as "Trans-Parent".......

Thank the lord he no longer says "Billions" when talking about his debt. He reserved the additional 's' in "Billions" only for boasting occasions.

....... Gordon is not either 'Transparent' or 'Trans-parent'. This Leopard can't change his spots.

the last remaining rag merchant (in Dewsbury) said...

There's never been a satisfactory explanation as to why Malik is the No 1 highest claimer out of 635 PS's, but lives in a modest residence in Dewsbury (average terraced house around £70K today) and has a house in Peckham that he bought before he was elected. Where's the money gone? Then word generally used amongst t'folk in Dewsbury (I work here) to describe him, is "Odious"

SHB said...

@Macolm Redfellow,

I don't beleive that at the time of the Al Yamanah deal anyone said we will be completely open and transparent about this.

Where as Brown has stated he would be transparent on expenses etc etc.

The context is somewhat different.

Anonymous said...

Shahid Malik has already opened his mouth on TV and condemned himself.

Just to remind you, when questioned about claiming the maximum amount allowable for a second home, amounting to £66,827 over three years, the then Justice Minister Mr Malik said on
national TV:

"Everybody has practically, if you look down the list, claimed £60,000 plus. Because actually a second home in London to run, that's what it costs". (Channel4 7pm news 15/05/2009)

This is an obscene affront to those millions of low paid workers, and others, in London whose annual household income is less than his
yearly ACA, let alone his £95,000 salary?

Of course this doesn't offend Mr.Brown's "presbyterian conscious" so Malik's back in another ministerial post.

So much for Labour's fairer Britain.

PIENOMICS said...

Malik is the man who thought it normal for the taxpayer to buy him an expensive TV. He is unfit to be an MP and totally unfit to be a minister. How can Brown square this treatment of Malik with his Presbyterian conscience? No wonder so many of us detest many of the political class. Stay where you are Iain providing insight and comment on those who rule us.

john miller said...

Blair, Brown and Mandleson won so many elections because the voters did not comprehend the scope and depth of their lies.

Nowadays, they lie almost be reflex.

So when Gord or Mandy say something, you know for certain that whatever the truth may be, it certainly isn't that.

So transparency=cover-up

Rich T said...

It stinks. And just goes to show that Brown can't be trusted to clean up politics. This complicity in a cover up show Brown to be as morally corrupt as those with their hands in the till.

Pretty straight kinda guys as usual.

Norton Folgate said...

New era of open and transparent government.

MY ARSE!

Blatant cover up.

UB41 said...

I suspect that the report looks into all Malik's financial arrangements.
The one for which he was suspended was breaching the Ministerial Code.

If it does in fact look at everything, then I'm sure it makes grim reading.

Brown's problem is that if it is published, the public will want Malik out of government. Malik will state that his affairs are no different to hundreds of other MPs so why is he being singled out?

Thus the scandal reignites!

Nigel said...

>> Malcolm Redfellow said...Sigh...<<

Do you have equal contempt for the views of Sir Christopher Kelly ?

"...the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said last night the report should be published..."

Is he just being partisan, too ?

Rexel No 56 said...

Malcolm Redfellow was, of course, a bit keener on transparency when it came to Derek Conway:

January 30th 2008 on Heather Brooke's blog:

"Congratulations on leading the field on the Conway issue.....with the hounds of the journo hell sniffing at last, we might get greater “transparency”. Or as much of it as them as is above us allow.... what scrutiny can there be for the well-established tradition of MPs pushing public moolah at their belles (and beaux) de jour?..... There’s still a lot of undergrowth still to be hacked down."

No doubt Redfellow will be encouraging journalists to be hounds of hell in their pursuit of the Mawer findings....

UB41 said...

Ooops - forgot to point out (if it's not obvious)....

Malik is probably OK on the ministerial code stuff, it just the rest of it makes grim reading!

The Truth Will Out said...

Typical Brown, within 24 hrs of his 3rd or 4th relaunch (I've lost count) he's back to his old mendacious ways. Quelle surprise.

Unsworth said...

@ Rexel No 56

Nicely done.

Perhaps too much to expect the Redfellow to be consistent and logical though, eh? Except, of course, consistently biased, moronic etc etc...

Rebel Saint said...

Malik is just Muslim window dressing.

Maybe the Prime Mentalist is already a convert and is now practising the Islamic doctrine of "Taqiyya" when it comes to expenses.

jafo said...

Wasn't Malik summonsed for not paying his council tax - and then claimed the cost of the summons on his expenses?

Not to mention the massage chair and the home cinema system.......

How can that ever be acceptable?

If Gordon doesn't mind, I DO!

UB41 said...

Off topic Iain, so I'll apologise.

Anyone seen the Vaz video on Sky News site? Called "Toady of the week" lol.

Absolutely hilarious!

Ian said...

Is anyone even the least bit surprised? Gordon doesn't do what he said he would. What next? Pope believes in God?

The only transparency Gordon wants is over other parties expenses. You can be sure that if it was an investigation into a Tory MP that found him guilty the papers would have been released.

I'm still keeping an eye out for anything that means Gordon can delay the election until after June 2010.

Mike Law said...

@ Malcolm Redfellow

Hasn't this LABOUR government passed legislation allowing for double jeopardy retrials? Wasn't an exfootballer recently found guilty of murder in just such a case?

fatter than prescott said...

its OK---STAR CHAMBER means

keep it secret

English First said...

Not only MUST this be published, Malik must be exposed for what he really represents!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttz8-ucWhYc&feature=player_embedded

BNP dangerous? Really ...........

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Rexel No 56 @ 10.57 AM:

Golly gumdrops, someone who reads my stuff.

But misses the point. I was saying (I thought) that the report "should" be published. I decried the sensationalist and marginally-literate shriek that it "must" be published. That, mayhap, is the pedantry of a long-ago Classics exhibitioner of Trinity College, Dublin.

I have no doubt that Malik enters the realms of slimy toadhood. If Rexel No 56 @ 10.57 AM rootled further, he would discover "Malcolm Redfellow" addressing Malik and other "Muslim MPs" about using the arguably-racist term "patsy". That was back in August, 2006 : the accusation should have been directed specifically at Sadiq Khan, something not evident from the Guardian's original report. Malik was the only one to respond.

However, the present mini-furore is (pace today's Telegraph) a matter of £200 here-and-there for office space. Itself hardly as big a deal as the systematic rip-off achieved by Conway and others.

And, yes, Rexel No 56 @ 10.57 AM, this is definitely in a different league to Al-Yamanah. That involved an alleged "bung" of £12M to the son of a well-known Prime Minister: an outrageous libel, of course. After all £12M is a bagatelle among the vast sums sloshing around in that deal. Please note I didn't even mention the murky Cementation business. The neat parallel is that the then Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, now elevated-beyond-mortal-criticism as a Tory Peer, investigated and found: no evidence that the MOD made improper payments ... no evidence of fraud or corruption. The deal... complied with Treasury approval and the rules of Government accounting. Gosh: that phraseology has a familiar ring.

Love the pseudonym, by the way. So much more imaginative than the old (ahem!) staples like "anonymous". [Sorry: that one slipped out.]

el-sid said...

Gordon's now relented and will publish a "summary" of the Mawer report. Whether that will contain any of the juicy bits remains to be seen.

Mirtha Tidville said...

Was speaking to someone, shall we say on the side of local officialdom, who fell about laughing at the thought of this odious barrel of horseshit being cleared of rent abnormalities..It beggars belief...Malik has backed Broon to stay in power, pledged his allegience, kissed his arse...job done..

Think the voters however will have another take on it next year...find out where the Peckham job centre is and start looking now..

He is deeply disliked in Dewsbury

Anonymous said...

Iain, your blog is an outrageous resource hog.
Get it sorted.

Parliament of Piglovers said...

Maybe the Prime Mentalist is already a convert

Are nose oysters halal?

javelin said...

Gordon is now going to publish a summary of the report. He is using the "address" excuse that was popularised by the Misandrist (man-hater) Harman.

The Telehgraph has said "Downing Street has confirmed that Mr Malik had not had a formal tenancy agreement for the Dewsbury property."

In otherwords CASH-IN-HAND - IF AT ALL. Favour for a favour. Let's get the landlord to get a letter from his bankmanager confirming payment were made each month to a bank account from Mr Maliks account. Job done.

We can clear this all up in a couple of hours.

Verity said...

Reuters is very much in the pocket of the Islamic sector. They cannot be trusted to report anything about Islam or Moslems factually.

Al Jazeera is more objective than Reuters.

Dave B said...

Because of Brown's accent what he said was I will make expenses more translucent then before.

From BBC Web site:
"Translucent materials let some light through, but they scatter the light in all directions, so that you cannot see clearly through them. ..."

George Laird said...

Dear All

I would be interested in what some describe as Office 2 and the way money was paid to rent it.

From the Government that preached nothing to hide nothing to fear; they are so lacking in integrity.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

pete_s said...

The new allegation about the expenses of a second office, which he will not come clean about. All expenses below £250, isn't that the amount above which they have to be documented.

Anonymous said...

They should certainly provide proper reasons as to why the report isn't being published - but you need to remember that there are other parties involved (e.g the landlord) who may be entitled to the normal privacy attached to commercial contracts or whose actions may even be sub-judice.

Scallywag said...

That this is to be kept from the public, the electorate, tells you all you need to know about Brown's promises to the PLP last night.

Leopards, spots, briefings, smears, delusional, dysfunctional, bunker mentality, liar, etc., etc., all come to mind in a nanosecond...

The man's out of his tree. If he were a dog he'd have been put down years ago.

Blair has a lot to answer for. He should have listened to his wife for once.

jaybs said...

There is no doubt this report has to be published without delay. Otherwise it is nothing more than typical PM Brown promising change when all we get is more of the same.Voters must be made fully aware of what is happening over Shahid Malik!

East Midlander said...

Am I a cynic or has the fact that Brown looked over his shoulder and viewed the BNP winning seats and decided that if he released details of his errant Minister he would play into the hands of those awfull people who would use Malkic's origins as being typical of the people they blame for all the ills suffered by the Anglo Saxons.

East Midlander said...

Am I a cynic or has the fact that Brown looked over his shoulder and viewed the BNP winning seats and decided that if he released details of his errant Minister he would play into the hands of those awfull people who would use Malkic's origins as being typical of the people they blame for all the ills suffered by the Anglo Saxons.

Unsworth said...

@ Malcolm Redfellow

"However, the present mini-furore is (pace today's Telegraph) a matter of £200 here-and-there for office space. Itself hardly as big a deal as the systematic rip-off achieved by Conway and others."

So, moral relativism then? Sartre would have been entertained. How do you feel about Brown's sale of our gold and his raid on pensions?

Malcolm Redfellow said...

If Unsworth @ 7:11 PM can conclusively explain why a blatant fraud is equivalent to (legitimate, albeit outrageously over-generous) expenses, I might see his point that the one is "relative" to the other. Else he is being opaquely partisan, which allows me to respond in kind.

The "relevance" of the other issues (pensions and the gold sale) seems similarly dubious. However, allow me to remind him:

1. The Netherlands, Belgium and even prudent Switzerland equally thought that selling gold and investing in interest-bearing bonds (in the UK's case, 40% $, 40% € and 20% ¥) would be a better long-term deal than polishing gold bricks ad infinitum. I have one estimate here that the UK made about $2.5B in interest on the proceeds of the sale up to 2008.

Of course, had those different jurisdictions benefited from the advice of experts, like Unsworth @ 7:11 PM who unfailingly "know" when to sell gold at the top of a subsequently-inflated market, they could have profitably invested more on bulk-buying Brasso.

2. As for the pensions issue, I guess (were I one of those city slickers, senior bankers, and assorted snake-oil salesmen who were done over seriously) I'd feel affronted. Anyway, that's how I did feel when Thatcher tried a similar trick to snatch back teachers' pensions. The truly horrific pensions scam was the mis-selling of those "private pensions", when leggy lovelies, on commission, stalked around the rail termini, in full Chugger mode. That was nearly as big a rip-off as those "endowment" mortgages. Still, both those triumphs of Thatcherism allowed the Norwich Union and Halifax to de-mutualise: another great long-term success for capitalism.

Finally, I always found Sartre hard work, in the original or in translation. I know, as a '60s student, I tried to act the part, and even wrote essays on his existentialism, but that was more pretension than comprehension. Yet, I wish the Beeb would dig out Michael Bryant as Mathieu in Roads to Freedom. And the divine Georgia Brown (no relation) squeezing the emotion out of: La route est dur, mais je suis fort.

Promise me that mini-series wasn't one of the tapes the Beeb had to wipe for "economy" reasons.

jacky said...

something fishy methinks

Richard Dale said...

It appears that Mr Brown, our strong, self-confident Prime Minister, has been forced to agree.

Gordon Brown (possibly) said...

What report? I've never heard of this report. And who is this Shahid Malik you keep talking about? I know nothing about any of this.

I am getting on with the job, don't you know. What job that is, I don't know, but I am getting on with it.

Julian said...

Time for another reshuffle...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5499450/MPs-expenses-Shahid-Malik-admits-charging-taxpayer-for-two-houses.html

john miller said...

Sir Philip is going to produce a summary. An edited summary, presumably.

Bit like a history of World War II leaving out that nasty Hitler person.

javelin said...

According to the Telegraph office Number 2 (actually 3 including the house of commons) was in fact his living room. No contract existed and I assume the money went straight into his pocket. Presumably tax has been paid on office number 2 so if we can just see your tax return for last year we can clear this all up in a couple of hours.

Brown is utterly incompetent. How many other ministers have their noses in the trough. I hope the telegraph tells us.

Anonymous said...

"Malcolm Redfellow said...
Presumably, if Malik has overstepped the legalities, he is open to other investigation and sanction. In other words, Dale is demanding self-incrimination if there is an offence; and double jeopardy in any case."

Firstly, no-one is demanding self-incrimination. It is the Mawer Report that must be published and the details of Malik's transactions made public.
True, Malik made statements to the Mawer panel, but normal procedure is to publish the reports of such inquiries - which Malik must have been aware of.

How do you come to double-jeopardy? Malik has not been tried for any crime, related to his expenses. Any sanctions, by the Standards committee, could not be deemed to create a situation for "double-jeopardy", because it is not a legal process.

Stronghold Barricades said...

So was it my FoI request to Mandy Kelly that brought about the publication of the report?

Stephen Shorland said...

Bar bills and pork suppers?

Anonymous said...

It has been published: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/213826/sir_philip_mawer090611.pdf