Dec 2 2012
Daily Mail. Forewords by Chris Spivey
Clegg’s £12m favour to charity backed by his wife: MPs demand inquiry into huge payment
Is anyone surprised that Dopey Clegg is helping himself to the public’s money? I’m certainly not. They all do it and then blame the poor. The quicker this lot are kicked into touch the better. And by this lot I mean The Lot. The Tories, the Liberals, the Labour Party and the Royal family too. They are all lying, cheating, depraved scumbags. Just how many times do these ponce’s have to be exposed before you all get angry enough to say, No More?
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg personally intervened to help a charity linked to his wife Miriam obtain £12 million of taxpayers’ money.
Labour and Tories joined forces to call for an investigation last night after leaked emails showed one of the Lib Dem leader’s key aides lobbied for Booktrust to be given the grant, instead of competing with other charities.
The organisation announced last week that it had secured £6 million for each of the next two years, while other charities will have to wait until next year – and some will get nothing.
The charity has previously received Department for Education funding – but the new award secures that until 2015. According to sources in Mr Clegg’s Cabinet Office, his aide Matt Sanders sent an email to education officials referring to the fact that Mrs Clegg – a prominent supporter of the charity – hosted a function for them just weeks earlier.
It is understood that other emails show that senior civil servants expressed concern at the way the bidding process had apparently been manipulated to benefit Booktrust.
A Whitehall insider said: ‘There was unease at the way that it appeared Mr Clegg wanted special treatment for Booktrust, and the fact that Miriam’s name came up.’
When the claims were put to the Education Department last night, an official spokesman said: ‘We have no comment.’
A spokesman for Mr Clegg last night confirmed that he had asked for Booktrust to be given the £6 million-a-year grant without having to make a special bid for it. But he denied Mrs Clegg’s link to the charity had been used in any way and said there had been ‘no wrongdoing.’
Mrs Clegg, who uses her professional name, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, hosted a lavish reception for Booktrust in October at one of London’s most grandiose venues, the historic Lancaster House.
Mr Sanders confirmed he sent emails to the Education Department asking for the charity to get the money directly – and that he had said Mr Clegg favoured the move.
He said he had mentioned Mrs Clegg with regard to Booktrust, but only with regards to the event.
He added: ‘I asked for a briefing from officials before attending the Booktrust event. But I did not mention her name with regard to funding.’
Significantly, the emails were sent from Mr Sanders’ official Cabinet Office email address, meaning they can be subject to future scrutiny.
Mr Clegg’s spokeswoman said there was nothing unusual or improper about Mr Clegg’s close interest in the Booktrust grant. ‘Any suggestion of impropriety is completely wrong,’ she said.
The decision to fast-track the money was made by Education Secretary Michael Gove on the advice of officials, she said. And a No 10 spokesman said that David Cameron fully backed the decision, too.
Mr Clegg’s spokeswoman also said: ‘Miriam Gonzalez Durantez has no role in any decisions made by the Government.’
Mr Sanders, who also advises Lib Dem Schools Minister David Laws, said he made it clear to officials that both he and Mr Clegg believed Booktrust should be given the £6million a year without having to bid for it.
He said other officials supported this view and that the final decision was taken by Mr Gove.
There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Booktrust, which has given away 40 million free books to schoolchildren. in the past 20 years. It has received government funding since 2004.
In 2011, the Department for Education awarded it £13.5million over two years; and last Thursday the charity announced that it had secured another £6million for both 2013/14 and 2014/15. Chief executive Viv Bird said: ‘I am grateful to Ministers for this vote of confidence.’
At the charity’s 20th anniversary party in October, Spanish born Mrs Clegg said she fell in love with Britain through reading Enid Blyton’s stories and was keen to encourage her three sons to read.
She quoted Roald Dahl’s Oompa Loompa song, from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, ‘So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall.’
The book formed the theme for Mr Clegg’s Christmas party for Lib Dem MPs last week.
On the Booktrust’s website, Mrs Clegg is quoted praising The Gruffalo as ‘the single favourite book at home’ and last night she and her husband attended a stage production of Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson’s Room On The Broom in London.
Last night, Labour and Tory MPs called for an inquiry into how the Booktrust grant was made, and for all relevant emails to be published.
Inquiry into how grant was made: Tory MP Peter Bone (right) says Mr Clegg will have ‘serious questions to answer’ on the award of public money and Labour MP John Mann (left) said MPs should not interfere on behalf of a body
Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘If there was undue influence over the award of this money, Mr Clegg will have very serious questions to answer. No one is questioning the good work of this charity but I would be very concerned if communications from his office have been used to influence the award of public money. There should be a Cabinet Office inquiry and I will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary about this.’
Labour MP John Mann said: ‘Any grant involving public money must be handled the right way. Ministers should not interfere on behalf of one body. There needs to be a full inquiry and that means publishing all relevant communications.’
As part of a savings drive, Booktrust and other similar groups had been told that this year they would have to compete for a share of a £60 million Government pot – submitting a proposal before January.
Prescott threatens to gag business probe into his links with China
Yes, that’s the way Lord Presscock. Gag the MSM when it looks like you and your family’s dodgy dealings are about to be exposed. Isn’t that how all this depraved business of government paedophiles was kept quiet for so long? Your happy to be on the front pages when things are going well. If you have nothing to hide, why worry? And if ‘dispatches’ makes some claims that are not true, sue them. That way your name is publicly cleared, and you make a few quid in the bargain. After all, Lard McAlpine is suing me because I made some claims about him, i.e. He’s a nonce… Oh hang on a minute. He’s not suing me is he… Do the right thing John boy.
Lord Prescott is embroiled in a furious row with Channel 4 over a programme examining his business links with China.
The former Deputy Prime Minister has threatened an injunction against the producers of a Dispatches documentary after they investigated his association with the country.
The Labour peer has visited China on several occasions since stepping down as an MP in 2010 and has connections to the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges think-tank, set up by ruler Wen Jiabao.
Producers of The Chinese Are Coming incurred the wrath of Lord Prescott after examining the Asian business interests of his son Jonathan.
The programme focuses on the economic clout of China and its commercial interests, in particular lobbying activity by Huawei, a telecoms firm whose UK activities are under investigation by MPs.
- A punch in the nose for Prezza: Prescott loses police commissioner poll in his own back yard of Hull to a TORY
- Prezza’s on patrol – and God help the police! Robert Hardman risks a biffing from John Prescott as he bids to become a Police Commissioner. But even with his old boss Blair on the case, will anyone bother voting today?
The company has spent more than £90,000 over two years lobbying MPs and Ministers.
Jonathan Prescott, a property developer, has faced scrutiny in the past over links between his business and his father’s political responsibilities.
When Lord Prescott was in Government and living in his grace-and-favour apartment in Admiralty House, his son showed building contractors round the property. He denied business had been discussed.
Last night, Lord Prescott’s other son, David, who frequently speaks for his father, asked for questions to be put in text-message form.
He then failed to respond.
A Channel 4 source said the programme was still being edited.