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The kind Tory who aided Ukip – and a mystery leaflet

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Issue 2456

Royston Smith, the new Tory MP for Southampton Itchen, is a generous man.

Former Ukip candidate Kim Rose claims that two months before polling day Smith handed him an envelope marked confidential.

It contained about 55 pages with maps and local election results broken down by area. It also had addresses for Labour voters who had indicated to Tory canvassers they were likely to support Ukip.

Labour lost the seat to the Tories by 2,316 votes after holding it for 23 years. 

Rose says he used the information to instruct his campaign and claims he can thank it for many of the 4,000 votes he took from Labour. 

The former Ukip candidate also claims that the new Tory MP handed him a leaflet template that he recommended Rose distribute. Smith admits to giving Rose documents and advice for his campaign, but denies giving him canvassing data. 

He also denies giving the Ukip candidate the anti-Labour leaflet. 

The Tories admit that the leaflet came from somebody working in the constituency’s Tory campaign.

Rose said he “drew the line” at the leaflet as he said it looked “more like the BNP” and was “totally racist”. 

A space for Rose—who is Jewish and owns a jewellers—to put a photograph of himself is occupied by a photograph of the Oliver Twist character Fagin holding a jewellery box.

Rose said he found this insulting.

Blair enough, at £275 a second

Plans for Tony Blair to give a speech at a world hunger conference were dropped when organisers refused to meet his £330,000 fee, it was claimed.

The former prime minister, who last week stood down as a Middle East peace envoy, was asked to address the Eat food forum in Stockholm, Sweden.

The eye-watering fee works out at £275 a second for the proposed 20-minute speech.

The elite Oxford Union debating society stands accused of racism after its bar offered a “colonial comeback” cocktail with a poster of a slave in chains.

Posters for the drink were circulated in the Union’s bar before a debate last week on sending money to Britain’s former colonies.

Cops want to listen to your phone calls 

A report by privacy campaigners found cops were making a request every two minutes to access an individual’s phone calls or emails. 

They get access in 93 percent of cases.

The figures, released to Big Brother Watch under freedom of information laws, found there were more than 730,000 requests for communications data between 2012 and 2014 from forces across the UK.

There were annual increases in applications in each of those years, peaking at just under 250,000 last year.

The report also uncovered a huge disparity in how many requests were being allowed by each force.

Some, such as Essex, rejected 28 percent of requests but others, such as Cheshire, turned down only 0.1 percent.

Tory home secretary Theresa May plans to a law change to give cops even more powers to spy on people.

Jobs minister used to shill for tobacco

Employment minister Priti Patel was part of a team of spin doctors paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to help a tobacco giant counter negative publicity.

Shandwick, a lobbying and PR firm, worked for British American Tobacco (BAT).

Patel was one of seven employees used by Shandwick on the account. One of her jobs was to lobby MEPs against the introduction of the European Union tobacco control directive, which was introduced shortly after the new millennium. 

In a memo dated 14 December 2000, a senior executive within the company, Andreas Vecchiet, conducted an annual appraisal of the Shandwick team’s performance. 

He said, “We have mainly used Shandwick for project-based work relating to the WHO  campaign, NGO monitoring”.

Pity the MPs’ heavy workload

MPs will enjoy a bumper 48-day summer holiday this year.

And there will be plenty of time for tanned politicians to put their feet up when they get back, too.

New Commons recess dates announced by Chris Grayling reveal MPs have to be in Westminster for just 69 days between July and December.

It means there are 93 days when they don’t have to turn up.

Migrants on benefits

Some 30,000 British nationals are claiming unemployment benefit in countries around the European Union (EU). 

The figures are based on responses from 23 of the 27 other EU countries.

Four times as many Britons obtain unemployment benefits in Germany as Germans do here.

The number of jobless Britons receiving benefits in Ireland exceeds their Irish counterparts in Britain by five to one.

Careful which train tickets you buy

Trainee rail staff at First Great Western were told not to offer passengers the cheapest tickets, a Channel Four investigation has revealed.

Those learning how to work in stations were told that informing customers of a deal to save them £2 a day travelling from Reading to London would “cause problems” if “everybody did it”.

Complications with ticket machines also mean that some journeys can be up to £100 more expensive depending on which train company’s ticket machine is used, it emerged.

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