Wondered if you caught this little gem of the BBC entirely sanitising the very idea that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has been caught with her snout in the trough of tax-payer funded largesse? Tory sleaze was one thing but Labour sleaze….? Today really is the Toady programme for its’ Nulabour masters

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  1. Marge says:

    Typical – didn’t notice anyone on the Today programme explaining how employing someone to do two seperate jobs didn’t break any rules when they were having a hate-fest against Spelman – but of course she’s a Tory and it was a Beeboid story..


  2. martin says:

    The BBC started spouting official Home Office (shouldn’t that have come from the Labour Party HQ and NOT the Home Office anyway?) as soon as this story hit the front pages.

    Note that there hasn’t been any investigation into this story by the BBC. As I keep pointing out when Labour MPs are caught up to no good it is always the newspapers that do the investigation. When it’s a Tory the BBC are always behind it.

    When Muslims are up to no good it’s NEVER the BBC doing the investigation (usually the BBC are funding them) but when we need a good news story about Muslims, it’s always the BBC behind it.

    Notice a pattern?


  3. Guppy says:

    The BBC reporter Andy Hayman was totally incapable of adding anything to the debate.

    There are three details he could have mentioned or had questions researched:
    (1) Mr Smith is one her payroll at a huge salary
    (2) £25,000 a year to rent a bedroom from your sister is way over the odds.
    (3) Did the sister pay tax on it?

    But he couldn’t or wouldn’t.


  4. martin says:

    Guppy: Also we have to provide security for Spliff at both homes. She could (and should) live in the freebie house she can have which I understand is guarded as a matter of course.

    Better still have an election so we can be rid of this useless fat chubber.


  5. frankos says:

    Watch the BBC let this one slip away into the depths and contrast with the BBC’s coverage of the Osborne Ruskie on a boat “scandal”


  6. Anonymous says:

    David Vance

    I don’t see an bias in asking this reporter to check out what the rules actually are.

    The fact that until 2004 government ministers HAD to register their constituency homes as second homes does rather alter the picture for me. I thought it absurd that Ms Spliff was registering her constituency home as a second home, but if that was the normal rule until it was made optional in 2004, then maybe she’s not so out of line. It would mean, for instance, that ALL john Major’s cabinet did the same.


  7. John Bosworth says:

    Thanks for the clip David. This is a fascinating look into the soul, not just of the government, but of the BBC as well. This kind of pussy-footing around the bleeding obvious is done in every company (or corporation) that is not fully transparent. These two guys are walking on eggshells because they know how close this stuff is to the way the Beeb itself operates.


  8. Roland Deschain says:

    The reporter says “to be fair to Ms Smith, she didn’t avail herself of the grace and favour home” – as if she’s doing the taxpayer a favour.

    She isn’t. She saves no costs by not using it, unless the grace and favour property is sold. Instead she relieves the taxpayer of extra money which presumably finds its way into her sister’s pocket. (Now where does her sister work?) And even assuming it is legitimate to claim for staying in the house, can a figure of £500 per week be justified?


  9. Libertarian says:

    David Vance

    I don’t see an bias in asking this reporter to check out what the rules actually are.

    Anon, delighted that you feel that you are getting value for your money!


  10. Tom says:

    Following the tip off from Guido about Trend, I’ve just checked out what the committee actually said about Trend’s defence.

    Looks to me that Jacqui Smith’s defence is much the same – (my emphases):

    what lies at the heart of this case is Mr Trend’s belief that he was free to make an election as to which of his homes should be regarded as his main residence for the purpose of the Additional Costs Allowance. All his subsequent actions stem from this.

    9. As the Commissioner points out, neither Mr Trend nor the Department of Finance and Administration has any records which might shed light on the circumstances in which Mr Trend continued to nominate a London address as his main residence after he and his family moved to Windsor. Although the material issued to Members at that time regarding the Additional Costs Allowance is not without ambiguity, we do not believe that, when read with the Resolution itself, as Members were expected to do, there is any real scope for doubt that the words “main residence” were intended to have other than their natural meaning.

    10. The Commissioner comments that he finds it “difficult to understand” how Mr Trend felt able to sign a certificate in November 2000 giving the home of his friend in London as his main residence … It was wrong of him to sign the document when, as he told us, he had the London accommodation rent-free, and at that time made little use of it when the House was not sitting.


  11. backwoodsman says:

    I think the beeboid treatment of the citizen smith case, has been a minor classic- among the questions they have cospicuously failed to show any interest in addressing are :
    – The bending, at best, of expenses rules.
    – The flouting of voter residency rules
    – How her husband can be paid by the tax paxer to ‘work’ for her, whilst presumably child minding in worcestershire.
    – How the husband can still be paid by the tax payer, having been caught sending anonymouse letters in praise of citizen smith to local papers.
    – how they can seriously expect we will continue to pay a license fee, for them to play us ad nauseum tapes of nulab denials;.
    IMHO it would be good if the moderators could run a series of pieces examining the reforms needed to cleanse the news departments at the bbc of pro nulab bias. Although it may well be that this is impossible and the only solution is to retain bits like R1, 2, 3, and some of the TV programming.
    The value of making a start on planning reform here, is that the ideas can be passed on to MP.s, who , whilst sypathetic and prepared to carry reform forward, are too idle to initiate the work themselves.


  12. Jonathan says:

    As part of the establishment the BBC just don’t get it – do they?

    Here are the facts…

    1) By any reasonable definition Jacqui Smith’s main home is in Reddich – because

    a) This is the only property she owns.
    b) Her husband and children live there
    C) On her own website, she lists Reddich not London as her home address.
    d) Allowing for the long parliamentary recess – she spends more nights in her Reddich home than anywhere else. [Certainly whilst she was an ordinary backbencher or a GVN whip – she had little reason to be in London, when Parliament was not sitting]

    2) When she became Home Sec. Miss Smith turned down the use of a free grace and favour apartment. Even though she currently ‘lives’ in the box-room of her sister’s house. This decision has had negative cost implications for the taxpayer – both in terms of continued expenses claims by Miss Smith and the cost of policing the Peckham home.

    3) The only logical reason why Miss Smith would turn down the apartment to stay at her sister’s Peckham home + continue to list Peckham rather than Reddich as her primary residence, is to maximize her expenses claims. I’ve not heard one single commentator from any political persuasion (or media outlet) dispute or challenge this central observation.

    2) Jacqui Smith has claimed £116,000 over a six year period – at a rate of £19,333 p.a. or £1,611 per month. In her interview with Sky she claims that this money was needed to cover the expense of living at multiple locations. Fair enough – but how does the math add up.

    According to local estate agents, £400 per month is the ‘going rate’ for such an arrangement. So even if we are generous and double that estimate to £800; where has the remaining £800 gone? To her sister? Or has she kept the money herself? Because Miss Smith refuses to divulge how much rent she pays, we the people who pay her rent, are none the wiser. What we do know however, is that it should not be costing Mr. Smith 1,600 a month to live in Peckham with her sister!

    3) The 24,000 maximum allowed for the second home allowance is not the sum that should be claimed; it is the maximum that can be claimed. Miss Smith should only claim for any expenses she has incurred in performing her duties. That is why expenses as opposed to earned income are exempt from Tax. In this case, the BBC should be asking – has Jacqui really incurred £1,600 worth of housing expenses every month?

    4) Miss Smith has a poor voting record re: transparency for MP’s expenses. A decent journalist would question this. Especially since our Home Sec. is known to deploy the argument – “if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear” in other debates.

    4) Mr. Smith is earning £40,000 p.a. as her Parliamentary advisor. Given that he does not commute to Parliament or his employer’s office at the home office or her primary residency in Peckham – how does Mr. Smith perform his duties? The term parliamentary advisor (note: not constituency secretary) suggests that Mr Smith has some intimate knowledge of Parliament and its workings. But clearly this is not the case. So on what grounds was he appointed and why is he still the best man for this publicly funded job?

    Now in all of the above – no rule may have been broken – but (and here’s the bit the BBC don’t get) clearly Miss Smith has abused her position. As Home Secretary she is not supposed to just obey the law, she is supposed to be seen as upholding the law i.e. beyond reproach.

    The fact that she has been cleared by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner should not be end to the story. Rather, the BBC should use it to demonstrate that the system is broken. For only in such a corrupt system could Jacqui have been found innocent.

    Now in the wake of the phoney phone-ins and the Ross scandal, BBC executives are known to be looking at strategies to restore public trust. A campaign from Auntie against public corruption would be a good and obvious start. So why does the BBC hesitate. I think we all know the answer….

    The BBC – sucking up to Gordon, it’s what we do best…


  13. Tom says:

    I don’t know if any Inland Revenue inspectors read this blog – or any tax accountants… but does anyone know whether Jacqui Smith will have to pay capital gains tax when she sells her Redditch house, after she’s defeated at the next election?

    After all, she can hardly claim it’s her ‘main residence’, can she?


  14. Grant says:

    Do I smell a faint stench of corruption ?


  15. gfen says:

    Jonathan – first class summing up!


  16. Tom says:

    Jonathan | 10.02.09 – 4:04 pm

    even if we are generous and double that estimate to £800; where has the remaining £800 gone? To her sister?

    Probably to John Lewis.


  17. martin says:

    Unlike Caroline Spelman don’t expect the BBC to send the unwashed Michael Prick to investigate.


  18. Orson Carte says:

    “Do I smell a faint stench of corruption ?”
    Grant | 10.02.09 – 4:29 pm |



  19. Jonathan says:

    One question that hasn’t been broached in this matter, is Jacqui’s need for a London address.

    After all – if we had a half-decent public transport system in this country, it might have been possible for Jacqui to commute the 100-150 miles to London. The fact that she can’t – 12 yrs after Prescott launched his intergrated transport plan – says a lot really.


  20. Roland Deschain says:

    ..does anyone know whether Jacqui Smith will have to pay capital gains tax when she sells her Redditch house, after she’s defeated at the next election?
    Tom | 10.02.09 – 4:23 pm | #

    No, she won’t. Where there are two residences which could qualify as your principal residence, you can elect which one will receive CGT relief.


  21. Preposteroso says:

    Do we really have to worry about the boring fine print? Surely we just want her sacked, humiliated, pauperised and fed to the dogs whether guilty or not. That’s what happened to Hamilton.


  22. Anonymous says:

    Jonathan | 10.02.09 – 4:04 pm

    According to local estate agents, £400 per month is the ‘going rate’ for such an arrangement. So even if we are generous and double that estimate to £800; where has the remaining £800 gone?

    All this relates to going rates etc. in Peckham. But the point is that she isn’t claiming any allowances for Peckham.

    The ACA money is being claimed on costs at her Redditch home.


  23. JohnA says:

    Tom and Jonathan

    Thanks for chasing this with lots of detail.

    The question of where does any Home Sec spend all the vacation time – at their REAL home or in London, my experience is that when Parliament is in recess, most Ministers go HOME. The Home Sec can have her red boxes delivered to her home – typically only one of the Home Office ministers will be “on duty” ie in London during the recesses, on a rota basis. Private Secs in the Department would keep their Ministers in touch – and send boxes a couple of times a week if necessary. Sir Humphrey basically mids the shop during the recess.

    The main contents of the red boxes are papers and correspondence relating to Cabinet committees. In recess, these committees seldom if ever meet. The Home Affairs committee, for example, which is normally chaired each week by the Home Sec, does not convene during recesses.

    I would imagine that the Home Sec might visit London occasionally during the recess eg for any meetings of cabinet (which are sparse during the recess). That trip on say a Thursday would be combined with any other departmental meetings that might be needed.

    The other stuff in Ministerial red boxes is correspondence from voters complaining about XYZ. Typically in the Home Office or any Department most of this dross is delegated to junior Ministers.

    If there is any policy stuff being developed in the Home Ofice during a recess, it moves much more slowly than during the Parliamentary term.


    So – I would wager a fairly large bet that the Home Sec spends the bulk of each Recess in Redditch – NOT in London. Which alters substantially the arithmetic of how many nights are spent in London at the so-called main residence and how many in the constituency.

    Someone ought to put down a Parliamentary Question – how many nights did the Home Sec spend in each of the last 3 years in London, how many in Redditch. This business really needs to be flushed out.


    Jonathan – I had not realised that the Parliamentary Commissioner had “cleared” this – was this a formal clearance, was he aware of the full details ? Because if what Tom has posted about the earlier case, the Home Sec looks bang to rights on all this.


  24. Tom says:

    JohnA | 10.02.09 – 5:54 pm

    The standards commissioner has said he’s not prepared to investigate purely on the basis of a newspaper article.

    However in the Trend case, this is what the then standards commissioner said:

    I would not normally regard a complaint based upon no more than a newspaper story as a substantiated allegation. However in this instance I regard it as appropriate to put these complaints to you because

    (1) in the circumstances of this case it would be difficult for a third party to produce evidence independent either of your (confidential) dealings with the Fees Office or of what has been reported by The Mail on Sunday or in other papers;

    (2) of the public interest in seeing that the complaints are considered and in understanding fully the circumstances which they concern.

    Guido has the texts of the complaint, original + revised

    It may be necessary to mobilize a mass write-in to the standards bod.


  25. JohnA says:


    I believe there has now already been a complaint to him ?


  26. martin says:

    Expect the BBC to dig up something about a Tory MP in the next couple of days to take the heat off fatty Spliff.

    Just out of interest will Spliff have a secure phone and an office in this second house?

    Isn’t there a security issue here? After all the Police can’t stop friends of her sister turning up can they?

    As Littlejohn points out today it makes her look rather tacky bunking down in some box room.


  27. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Now its Cash for Relatives, is’nt it?


  28. Atlas shrugged says:


    In this case, the BBC should be asking – has Jacqui really incurred £1,600 worth of housing expenses every month?

    Yes they certainly should, and so should the tax man.

    They should be looking at JS’s sisters TAX RETURNS, and bank account statements.

    It is best not to get too complicated on these sorts of matters. Look for the REAL evidence. Which is always done by FOLLOWING the MONEY.


  29. zoomraker says:

    wilders has been banned from visiting the uk.

    there will be a complete news blackout.


  30. John Bosworth says:

    Jonathan: Good work!


  31. weirdvis says:

    Guido is well on Troughie Smith’s case.


  32. nrg says:

    Does the fact that Jacqui Smith’s landlady / sister is a BBC reporter have any bearing on the Beeb’s failure to report fully on this scandal?

    Should the Beeb not be declaring a conflict of interest on the scant mentions they give this scandal.


  33. Jon says:

    zoomraker | 10.02.09 – 6:31 pm |

    But he is EU citizen – free movements of people etc. Can the Home Office ban him?


  34. Allan@Aberdeen says:

    Are the ‘conservatives’ doing anything about the open goal which is Jacqui Smith, or are they busy with similar dodgy practices? It appears to be the blogs which are pursuing this prey, although kudos to the Daily Mail. No wonder the leftist cappucinistas hate the Daily Mail.


  35. Philip says:

    Jon – they have. They have actually banned an elected lawmaker from an EU country.

    Atlas now has a scan of the actual letter.

    Utterly, utterly disgraceful behaviour. Wilders will come regardless and see what happens.


  36. Philip says:

    apologies – Home Office Wilders letter here.


  37. GCooper says:

    Not only is the BBC sanitising the head dinner lady, it is doing its absolute best to sell the government’s line that everything wrong with the economy is the fault of greedy bankers – not greedy bankers and incompetent, corrupt politicians, as is actually the case.

    I can honestly say that I have never before seen such a parade of lies and deceit from the Corporation. Even by its previous, pathetic, standard it is behaving shamelessly.


  38. Jon says:

    GCooper | 10.02.09 – 9:28 pm |

    OT – but did anyone else feel uncomfortable with the public apologies by the “greedy” bankers? It just looked so 1984 to me. In the past these people would have been sacked and disgraced – but these “public confessions” are very Orwellian.


  39. Gerald Brown says:

    I believe there is a scheme introduced by the present government to encourage the renting out of rooms in ones house in return for tax breaks. Perhaps this applies here, but do you have to register to receive the tax break? Another possibility is that it is a sisterly way of helping out with the mortgage.


  40. JohnA says:

    Why should an overpaid BBC reporter need help with the mortgage – probably under £100,000.


  41. charlie buoy says:

    Details of second complaint re Jackie Spliff


  42. GCooper says:

    Jon writes: “…these “public confessions” are very Orwellian.”

    I agree, they are. When do we get to ask the hard questions of our corrupt politicians in such a manner?

    One thing’s for sure: the BBC isn’t doing it!


  43. martin says:

    They ban Wilders but let any frigging halfwit tosspot with a bushy beard come here and preach hate in Mosques.


  44. JohnA says:


    Friggin halfwit tosspots with beards are not restricted to Islam.

    last time I lloked we hadone as Primate of All England.


  45. frankos says:

    OT – but did anyone else feel uncomfortable with the public apologies by the “greedy” bankers? It just looked so 1984 to me. In the past these people would have been sacked and disgraced – but these “public confessions” are very Orwellian.

    Reminded me more of Stalins pre war “truth” trials where officers and intellectuals admitted all and every crime .
    A great spectacle for all the plebs, taking their minds off their squalid existenses
    Then of course the victims disappeared


  46. PacificRising says:

    Just watched Quentin Letts with Jon Sopel on newsnight discussing the bankers inquisition.
    Letts brings up the MP’s second home allowance for comparison and before he can mention any names Sopel cuts him off and changes the subject back to the bankers, it was so obvious that he wasn’t going to allow any mention of the Spliff case.
    This case should go into the book to be compared against the treatment they give the Tories over such matters as Spelman and Yachtgate stories.


  47. martin says:

    johnA: True, but I don’t think the one you mention wants to blow people up? Or did I miss that?

    The bushy bearded tosspots that we let in here to preach in Mosques do.


    The Egyptian-born cleric wanted to come to the UK for medical treatment, his supporters say.

    Qaradawi, who is banned from entering the United States, visited the UK in 2004 at the invitation of the London mayor, Ken Livingstone, sparking protests from Jewish groups and gay people, who regard him as anti-Semitic and homophobic.

    In the same year, the cleric defended suicide attacks on Israelis during a BBC interview, saying: “It’s not suicide, it is martyrdom in the name of God.”

    When Christians start this sort of crap I’ll be calling them the same thing. But until then.


  48. Zevilyn says:

    Considering the taxpayer is having to foot the bill for their stupidity, they got off lightly.

    Goodwin’s apology especially was clearly fake, given the way he treated his staff like crap and ignored repeated warnings.

    These “Masters of the Universe” have been revealed to be rather dim, judging by their apparent mental denial.