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The Troublemaker—Boris Johnson pays for flight but Mr Burns goes for free

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Issue 2639
Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson (Pic: EU2017EE/Flickr)

Boris Johnson was happy to take a £14,000 gift in travel and hospitality from the Saudi Arabian government last autumn, which he declared in his financial interests.

But the posh Tory was much more reticent about accepting a freebie from the respectable Tory donor Christopher Moran.

Moran had organised for Johnson to talk about Brexit at the annual conference of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) bigots in Belfast.

Indeed, Johnson had opened his speech with a warm thanks to his “friend” Moran for securing the invitation.

Johnson had been flown back from the conference on Moran’s private jet.

Also on the flight were Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, and Conor Burns, a Tory MP who used to be a parliamentary aide to Johnson.Burns declared a “donation in kind” worth £1,308. But Johnson says he paid for the return flight with

Moran personally so didn’t have to declare it.

Johnson said he had paid £2,600 to Moran to cover the cost of the flght. It is unclear why he felt compelled to pay his “friend” Moran for the flight.

Coincidently, the trip took place in November, the day before newspapers revealed that Moran owns a luxury apartment block in West London where he charges £8 million a year in revenue from rents and service charges.

More than 100 women working as prostitutes advertise from the Chelsea Cloisters apartment block.

Johnson has been content to receive gifts from other major Tory donors since he stood down as foreign secretary in the summer.

He was given £73,000 for office costs by the hedge fund manager Jon Wood and a company run by the Tory election strategist Lynton Crosby. He also trousered £10,000 from Anthony Bamford, JCB’s boss.

He accepted a £16,000 trip to Wash-ington from an American policy institute, as well as his visit to Saudi Arabia.

MPs committee slams the academies scams

Academies are damaging children’s education while allowing bosses to cream off huge amounts of money, according to a parliamentary report.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said “a succession of high-profile academy failures have been costly and damaging to children’s education”.

But wrecking schools is paying off for the bosses. Former head of south London’s Durand Academy Sir Greg Martin received a payout of £850,000—what the PAC called a “shocking reward for failure”.

Despite a “catastrophic failure of governance” Durand Educatonal Trust had a “considerable liability” to Martin. This is because Martin owned the firm contracted to manage accommodation and leisure facilities on the school site. The PAC heard that the lump sum was “potentially worth £1.8 million” but was cut to £850,000 following an inquiry.

And academies continue to pay bosses huge salaries.

Drug cops force spitting out of Mini Cheddars

Police swooped on a woman munching Mini Cheddars.

Katherine Oliver was eating the snack as four officers leaped out of two unmarked vehicles which roared up and blocked her car as she pulled on to her drive.

She said, “One screamed, ‘What’s in your mouth?’. I struggled to say ‘Mini Cheddars’ through the large mouthful.

“He said ‘Open your mouth’, grabbed my face and squeezed. He asked ‘Is that a bag of brown?’ and I said ‘No’.

“I had to spit the cheddars into my palm to show him. I was ordered out and they screamed that I’d come from a drug house. I said, ‘No, I’ve come from Tesco’.”

  • A detective chief inspector has been jailed for plotting to set up two men. Elizabeth Belton of West Yorkshire police sent texts to PC Judith Mulligan. One said, “You’ve fit him up lol.” Two men were jailed as a result of the cops’ action in 2013.

  • Among the defeated candidates in the recent hereditary peers’ by-election were the Earl of Leicester whose seat is in Norfolk, the Earl of Carnarvon who lives in Hampshire, and Lord Southampton whose ancestral seat is in Northamptonshire. Elsewhere, the Duke of Devonshire’s pile is in Derbyshire and the Duke of Somerset’s in Wiltshire. Can’t the upper classes read a map?
  • The government’s planned cuts to the tax on profits will mean billions more in lost revenue than previously thought. The tax rate on company profits is to be cut from its current low level of 19 percent to 17 percent by the end next year. That will cost more than £6 billion.

Universal credit rip off

Hundreds of thousands of Universal Credit claimants will lose out on a week’s rent next year thanks to a glitch, housing associations have warned.

Tenants who pay rent once a week will make an extra payment in 2019/20 because the financial year has 53 Mondays, not 52.

The National Housing Federation’s Catherine Ryder said, “It’s a serious situation. This whole mess is entirely avoidable. Ministers must act now…”

The DWP said there are “no plans” to make changes.

We will pay for oil profits

We could have to stump up at least £24 billion to safely dismantle oil and gas rigs and other infrastructure in the North Sea, parliament’s spending watchdog warned.

There are around 320 fixed installations such as platforms and pipelines that will need to be decommissioned.

Energy companies are able to claim tax reliefs— by deducting costs from their profits or claiming back duties previously paid—to help with the expense of plugging and abandoning wells and removing equipment.

The cost to the Treasury of these tax reliefs has been estimated by the government at £24 billion, but the National Audit Office warned the final bill could be higher.

The Oil & Gas Authority, the regulator for the North Sea, has estimated oil and gas producers will have to spend up to £77 billion on decommissioning.

In 2016-17, the government paid out more to producers—£290million in tax repayments—than it received in revenues.

The Things They Say

‘I was brought up to respect women. You looked after them and were polite to them and everything else’

Tory donor and hotel owner Sir Rocco Forte

‘I am pretty queasy that Putin is so in favour of Brexit—I think that should give us all pause’

Lady Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5, joins the Brexit debate

‘Get out of my way you fucking peasant and watch my dogs!’

Queen’s gamekeeper at Sandringham before attacking a motorist with a stick

‘The people of Venezuela do not need the weasel words in a letter to the Guardian from assorted Stalinists, Trotskyists, antisemites, dead people, and Labour’s frontbench’

Labour MP Mike Gapes welcomes the moves towards a coup in Venezuela

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