Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2854

Casinos big gamble after betting on winning MPs 

Troublemaker looks at the week's news including; Casinos bet on an MP, Labour stops campaigning and MP landlords cash in 
Issue 2854
By Ralf Roletschek - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A MP’s winnings (Picture: Ralf Roletschek /Wikimedia)

Conservative MP Philip Davies lobbied the government on behalf of a casino to introduce a measure that was then included in the recent white paper on gambling. The MP for Shipley, in West Yorkshire, wrote in February to culture secretary, Lucy Frazer, after being entertained at Les Ambassadeurs luxury casino in Mayfair, central London. He asked Frazer, who was overseeing the shake-up of gambling laws, to make changes that would allow casinos to offer credit lines to gamblers, including “ultra-high net worth foreign visitors” playing the tables at Les Ambassadeurs.

This change was later included in the government’s white paper on gambling reform. In his letter, Davies at one stage referred to the casino’s income as “our” revenue. Asked repeatedly by the Guardian newspaper if this apparent error was the result of him reproducing material provided to him by the casino, Davies did not answer.

Les Ambassadeurs said it had briefed Davies on the credit issue and had also “provided information to help inform his letter”. Davies’ entry on the register of ­interests does not include any ­remuneration from Les Ambassadeurs. Les Ambassadeurs confirmed it had hosted him for a tour on 25 January and that he had enjoyed a meal at the club, whose website boasts of its fine dining options.

The letter to the culture secretary from Davies, a longtime gambling advocate who received £50,000 working for Ladbrokes owner Entain, was revealed in response to a freedom of information request.

  • A senior Tory MP failed to declare he was paid £2,000 a month to chair a pressure group lobbying Rishi Sunak. Bim Afolami, a former vice chair of the Conservative party, declared in the register of interests that one of his private clients was a public affairs firm, WPI Strategy.  But he did not mention that they were paying him for his work running the Regulatory Reform Group of MPs.  As chair of the group, Afolami has written to the prime minister calling for regulators to be better held to account, and pressed Sunak for change at prime minister’s question time in the House of Commons. This comes after the former Tory cabinet minister Liam Fox was also criticised for lobbying the prime minister on behalf of a business group that pays him £1,000 an hour.

Labour says don’t campaign…

Labour Party officials have told constituency parties that they are not allowed to affiliate to a selection of campaigning organisations. Specifically an internal email said affiliations between anti-monarchist group Republic and Constituency Labour Parties were no longer valid. Renewing such links without approval by the Labour Party’s national executive committee would breach party rules.

The list consisted of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Labour Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Stop the War Coalition, Republic, London‑Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, Jewish Voice for Labour, Somalis for Labour, Sikhs for Labour, All African Women’s Group, Health Campaigns Together, the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group and the Peace and Justice Project.

…except for the poshos of course

Henry Tufnell will stand as an MP for Labour in the new seat of Mid and South Pembrokeshire. He surprisingly defeated two well-known women who have stood in the area before. A local source told the website, “Tuffnell has no local connection apart from the fact that his mother Rosina Jane Tufnell, who in 2021 was the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, owns a second home in the constituency, and comes from a family that has a big landed estate in Gloucestershire with a manor house and a number of farms and houses on it. It certainly seems an unlikely background for a would-be Labour MP.”

Henry Tufnell’s father Mark Tufnell is the current president of the Country Land and Business Association—until recently known as the Country Landowners’ Association —which represents the wealthiest of farmers and members of the landed gentry.

  • Luxury car maker Ferrari announced last week that its profits for the first three months of the year  jumped 24 percent to £260 million. Huge demand from the rich for  its latest models drove a surge in revenue. Ferrari shipped 3,567 vehicles in the quarter, up 10 percent from a year ago. It said the 812 Competizione was a major seller. It has a top speed of 211 MPH and does just 16 miles per gallon. Foot to the floor and scatter the plebs as the environment burns.

  • NHS England is paying management consultants day rates of up to £3,000. NHS England is paying some executives from top consulting firms including Deloitte and PA Consulting the equivalent of an annual salary of more than £600,000. Deloitte, which charged the most for its consultants, was hired to help NHS England improve how it keeps track of its spending—on private companies.

Tory cabinet and Labour MP landlords cash in 

Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt and home secretary, Suella Braverman, are among five cabinet ministers who earn at least £10,000 a year renting out housing, according to a new snapshot of parliament’s landlords. On the Labour frontbench, David Lammy, Emily Thornberry and Lucy Powell are all landlords. Overall, MPs could be earning as much as £2.2 million a year from renting out homes, the research found.

In all, 68 Conservative MPs are currently landlords, according to analysis by a campaign group, 38 Degrees.

Hunt has declared he operates seven flats in Southampton, while Braverman, Gillian Keegan, the education secretary, and Lucy Frazer, the culture secretary, all declared one rental property in the latest House of Commons members’ register of financial interests. Alex Chalk, the justice secretary, declared a flat in Shepherd’s Bush and a share in a cottage in Gloucestershire, both producing more than £10,000 a year in income.

The study counted 87 MP landlords—more than 13 percent of the Commons. Over 53 claimed rental income from one home and 34 from two or more properties.

Bunting for council cuts

Cash-strapped local councils across the country spent more than £3.8 million of their own funds on events to mark the coronation of king Charles III last weekend. Some councils spent tens of thousands on celebrations despite having cut services and raised taxes to avoid bankruptcy.

Among the councils spending the most is east London’s Barking and Dagenham, the fifth most deprived local authority in Britain which planned to spend £155,000 over the weekend. Conservative-led Bromley council was to spend £50,000 on coronation celebrations, which it said would come from its community fund, usually reserved for grants to charities. Last year, Tory council leader Colin Smith vetoed a proposal by the Labour opposition leader to give community groups grants to open warm banks for residents struggling to heat their homes and additional funding for food banks during winter on cost grounds.

Things they say

‘You need to learn about peaceful protest’

A cop to a Just Stop Oil protester arrested on coronation day for wearing a T-shirt that said Just Stop Oil

‘Received intelligence’

The Metropolitan police explain why they arrested two women as a threat to the coronation for giving out rape alarms as a part of Westminster council’s night safety campaign

‘Many Conservative voters went on strike’

Tory MP John Redwood on the elections—though perhaps he doesn’t mean the post, rail and NHS workers

‘Voters beginning to give Rishi Sunak credit’

Tory culture secretary Lucy Frazer explains why people didn’t vote Tory in the local elections

‘The war in Ukraine,  which is going on’

Frazer continues to explain why people didn’t vote Tory in the local elections

‘It isn’t about bring back Boris’

Former Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman, chairman of the Conservative Democratic Organisation, then said they should bring back Boris

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