The Preston Mafia exposed

Preston's former deputy leader Frank McGrath

Preston's former deputy leader Frank McGrath

The England First Party has made political corruption in Preston a major campaign issue in the 2012 local elections.  Leaflets have gone out in the past week across Ribbleton ward highlighting the case of Frank McGrath, former deputy leader of Preston City Council, who in March 2010 was convicted of laundering money for a major drug trafficker and jailed for four and a half years.

Our leaflet, published in support of Mark Cotterill, the EFP’s anti-corruption candidate for Ribbleton, pointed out that McGrath – who was one of the leaders of the “Preston Mafia” whose influence extended across much of Lancashire  – had been ordered to pay almost £1 million.  This represented profits from criminal activity.

Today that anti-corruption campaign has been dramatically vindicated, as former councillor McGrath has been ordered to spend a further two years in jail.  He still owes more than £400,000 of his ill-gotten criminal loot.

The England First Party calls for a full inquiry into Labour’s “Preston Mafia” and the web of corruption that Lancashire police tried but failed to uproot during the 1990s.  Both the Labour and Conservative parties have questions to answer about this corruption scandal – especially with a new Lancashire Police Commissioner due to be elected later this year.

Click here for a full investigation of the Preston Mafia, which will be extended later this week.

England First Party exposes Preston Mafia

Harold Parker. Preston City Council leader (1982-92) and Guild Mayor (1992)

Harold Parker. Preston City Council leader (1982-92) and Guild Mayor (1992)

2012 is a Guild year in Preston – a year when Prestonians are meant to be proud of their home city.  Preston Guild is a unique civic celebration, held every twenty years since 1328.

Yet this year there is a shadow over Preston Guild – a ghost at the feast.

For the record of the man who was Preston’s Guild Mayor at the last festivities, and who had led the City Council for the previous decade – the late Cllr Harold Parker – is again under scrutiny as part of an investigation into what was termed the “Preston Mafia”, a description coined not by political opponents but by his own Borough Treasurer!

The England First Party believes that both the Labour and Conservative Parties have serious questions to answer about corruption and political chicanery in Preston, and that a full enquiry is needed to get to the bottom of the scandal.

—–

On 24th April 2012 the disgraced Labour politician Frank McGrath was ordered to serve a further two year prison sentence, after failing to obey a court order to repay almost £1 million of the proceeds from his life of crime.  This in itself might seem bad enough: but to understand the full dimensions of the affair we must look back to 7th August 1991, when a team of twenty Lancashire Police detectives carried out simultaneous raids across Preston.

The targets of these police raids included Preston Town Hall and the homes and offices of Cllr Harold Parker, leader of the council since 1982, and his deputy Cllr Frank McGrath.

OwenOyston

Property tycoon and rapist Owen Oyston, seen here attending a Labour Party fundraising event.

Rumours had been circulating for years about the improper business relationship between these two senior Preston councillors and Owen Oyston, a millionaire businessman and supporter of the Labour Party, featured as early as March 1984 in an investigation by the BBC’s Watchdog programme.   A particular focus of these investigations was the redevelopment of Preston Docks.

Cllr Harold Parker effectively controlled Preston Council’s decisions over the dockland development while being paid a £450 monthly retainer by Oyston, who had a major financial interest in the project, and receiving numerous other benefits in kind from Oyston interests.  Meanwhile his deputy leader Cllr McGrath became a millionaire in 1987 through his investment in Oyston’s company Red Rose Radio, which owned local radio stations in Preston, Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff.

The police raids in 1991 were codenamed ‘Operation Angel’ and led to criminal charges against Frank McGrath and several of Preston Council’s most senior officials, including the chief executive and deputy chief executive.  Also raided were the offices of Tustin Developments, a company owned by Iranian exile Hossein Ghiassi and his California-based brother, who had won substantial contracts for the Preston Docklands project.

Frank McGrath was charged with multiple counts of fraud and theft in January 1992.  Yet despite millions of pounds being spent on ‘Operation Angel’, his trial and almost all of the subsequent ones collapsed.  It now seems that the interests of justice took second place to political machinations.  Much of the campaign against Owen Oyston and his corrupt Labour cronies had been funded and organised secretly by prominent Conservatives, notably:

Lord (then Sir Peter) Blaker greeting President Zia of Pakistan

Lord (then Sir Peter) Blaker greeting President Zia of Pakistan

  • Lord Blaker, former Conservative MP for Blackpool South, who served as a Foreign Office and Defence minister in Mrs Thatcher’s governments during the 1980s.  He died in 2009.
  • Sir Robert Atkins, Conservative MP for Preston North from 1979 to 1997 and an MEP for North West England from 1999 to 2009.
  • Bill Harrison, property tycoon and millionaire Tory donor who regularly hosted Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at his Preston home during her visits to the North West.  He died in August 1999.  (Like his arch-enemy Frank McGrath, Mr Harrison lived in the affluent Preston suburb of Fulwood, though in even grander style at Greyfriars Hall.)

This Tory trio worked through local Preston residents activist Michael Murrin and Blackpool based private detective Chris More, who managed to access the confidential bank and income tax details of Cllrs Parker and McGrath.  Yet when it came to prosecuting the targets of Operation Angel, the Tory party at national level proved most unhelpful, as did some very senior police officers.

Mrs Thatcher’s Attorney General Nicholas Lyell prevented the release of files implicating Balfour Beatty, the construction giant and major Tory donor, in the web of corruption surrounding the Preston Docklands development.  This was very good news for Labour’s Cllr Frank McGrath, as it seriously handicapped the Operation Angel investigation into his affairs.

Mark Thatcher's involvement in the controversial Pergau Dam contract in Malaysia, by a quirk of fate, helped save some of Preston's Labour Mafia from prosecution

Mark Thatcher's involvement in the controversial Pergau Dam contract in Malaysia, by a quirk of fate, helped save some of Preston's Labour Mafia from prosecution

Fortunately for McGrath, although the Conservative Party were no friends of his, they were on very friendly terms indeed with Balfour Beatty, which had been founded a century ago by the Conservative MP for Hampstead, George Balfour, and retained close links to the Tories.  Operation Angel happened to coincide with the controversy over the construction of the Pergau Dam in Malaysia, with more than £200 million of British taxpayers money authorised by Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd.  A judicial review later found that Hurd had acted unlawfully in approving the Pergau project, which was being constructed by Balfour Beatty and another company with strong Tory connections – Cementation International, employers of the Prime Minister’s son, Mark Thatcher.

So although Balfour Beatty’s own offices had been raided and police had discovered a payment of £140,000 from Balfour Beatty to Cllr Frank McGrath’s Isle of Man company bank account ‘Global Enterprises’, Attorney General Sir Nicholas Lyell decided at the end of 1993 to drop all aspects of the case that involved this major Tory donor.  Cllr McGrath arrogantly told the press: “I offered no comment to the police when they questioned me and I understand the company did the same.”

No doubt Balfour Beatty were relieved when they were able to resolve their own embarrassing involvement in the Preston Docklands scandal by paying back £1.3 million to Preston Council in 1998.

Owen Oyston might have thought he had escaped the long arm of the law with the collapse of Operation Angel, but justice caught up with him in May 1996 when he was convicted of rape.  Oyston’s friend Peter Martin, a former policeman, had regularly supplied girls from his model agency.  One of them – a 16 year old girl – was raped by Oyston, who was jailed for six years.  Later that year Peter Martin was jailed for 20 years after admitting a series of rapes and assaults on young girls recruited through his model agency.

Heroin trafficker Silvano Turchet, whose arrest eventually ended Frank McGrath's criminal career

Heroin trafficker Silvano Turchet, whose arrest eventually ended Frank McGrath's criminal career

Cllr Frank McGrath went on to become Chief Executive of the Oyston owned Blackpool Football Club, and it took a few more years for his luck to run out.  During 2003 McGrath met convicted criminal Silvano Turchet, who was on day release from a prison sentence.   McGrath described himself as an accountant and business adviser, though he had no accountancy qualifications.  Nevertheless for some reason Turchet decided that McGrath was the ideal man to help him with his next business enterprise.

This turned out to be the large scale importation of heroin, which Turchet brought in via a private plane, flying into a small wartime airfield at Sleap, Shropshire.  In May 2006 Turchet was caught red-handed when police raided the airfield and found him about to unload a cargo including heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.  He is now serving a 21-year prison sentence.

During 2004 and 2005 McGrath had laundered hundreds of thousands of pounds of drug money for Turchet.  Despite claiming that he was entirely ignorant of the source of these funds, McGrath was convicted of money laundering in February 2010 and given a four-and-a-half year prison sentence.

Ian Cruxton of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) commented:

“Serious organised criminals are motivated by money which buys them lifestyle and influence. Those who help them through money laundering enable the profits of crime to be invested in further criminal activity and this affects us all.
“SOCA doesn’t stop when it has caught and convicted the criminals. We will go after their wealth and we are determined to make sure they can’t use it or enjoy it.”

This SOCA policy led to the current attempts to recoup some of Frank McGrath’s ill-gotten gains.  He was ordered to repay £925,000 and this week failed to do so, resulting in an additional two year prison sentence.

Frank McGrath, former deputy leader of Preston City Council, had his jail sentence increased by a further two years this week.

Frank McGrath, former deputy leader of Preston City Council, had his jail sentence increased by a further two years this week.

Yet many Prestonians are left wondering whether justice was really done over Operation Angel twenty years ago, when Frank McGrath and others succeeded in escaping jail.  His old boss Cllr Harold Parker was never prosecuted, despite extensive investigations into his role as Owen Oyston’s representative during the Docklands development.

Cllr Parker retired from Preston City Council in 2009 due to ill health and died a few months later, after 45 years on the city council and its predecessor, Preston County Borough.  He was made an Honorary Alderman, after previously being awarded the Freedom of the City and given the title “Guild Burgess”, which dates back to a 12th century award to Preston by King Henry II.  Cllr Parker’s portrait hangs in the Town Hall, a public insult to anyone who cares about honesty in public life.

If Preston council tax payers are to have confidence in their political representatives and their police force, it is time for the criminal career of Frank McGrath and his cronies – whether Labour councillors or Tory businessmen – to be fully investigated by an independent inquiry.

England’s rotten boroughs

Senior Rochdale councillor Farooq Ahmed deciding £52m cuts for local residents, with the help of a "menthol" cigarette...

Senior Rochdale councillor Farooq Ahmed deciding £52m cuts for local residents, with the help of a "menthol" cigarette...

Councils across England are struggling with the consequences of the financial crisis, deciding how and where to implement cutbacks that can devastate the lives of some of the poorest English families, including the elderly and disabled.

In the Lancashire town of Rochdale – scene of recent racial disturbances – the senior councillor in charge of such decisions, designated “cabinet member for finance” dealing with £52 million of cuts this month, is Cllr Farooq Ahmed.

Cllr Ahmed was suspended from this position – and from the Labour Party – in January, after a video was leaked by factional rivals, showing him apparently smoking cannabis at Manchester Airport.

Danczuk-Bangladesh

Simon Danczuk MP, said to be behind the "smear campaign" against Labour colleague Farooq Ahmed, seen here in Bangladesh meeting the former Bangladeshi Prime Minister

He claimed that he was being smeared by Labour colleagues, including Rochdale’s MP Simon Danczuk.  This reflects long-running ethnic and personal rivalries within Rochdale Labour Party.  Before Mr Danczuk’s election to Parliament in 2010 there were allegations that he had employed dirty tricks to win the Labour nomination ahead of local Muslim and Manchester councillor Afzal Khan.  Mr Danczuk claimed he had received death threats.

Long-suffering Rochdale residents will no doubt be relieved to hear that Cllr Ahmed was cleared by an internal Labour Party inquiry, which chose to believe his account that he had actually been smoking an entirely legal menthol cigarette.

Perhaps herbal cigarettes all round will help Labour politicians in Rochdale concentrate on providing services to residents!

Meanwhile in the neighbouring town of Bury, the former Conservative council leader and his gay partner (a fellow Tory councillor) have been arrested as part of a long running corruption inquiry.

Cllr Bob Bibby and Cllr Jim Taylor were arrested in a dawn raid by Greater Manchester Police on their home in Bacup.  They have been bailed until April, but have both stood down temporarily from the Conservative Party to spare their colleagues further embarrassment during the forthcoming election campaign.

bibby-taylor

Former Bury council leader Bob Bibby and fellow councillor Jim Taylor were arrested this month as part of a long-running corruption investigation by Greater Manchester Police.

Lobbyist influence exposed in new Cameron scandal

TimBell2

Lord Bell of Belgravia, founder of the lobbying firm at the centre of a new scandal

One reason for the collapse of voters’ confidence in mainstream politicians and parties is that they know – whichever party is elected – real influence remains not with ordinary citizens but with unelected lobbyists who can buy access to MPs and ministers.

Very unusually, part of the inner workings of these lobbies have now been exposed in an investigation by The Independent newspaper which has embarrassed elite political circles in London.

Senior executives at one of the capital’s largest and best connected lobbying companies Bell Pottinger have been secretly filmed talking about how they can buy access to the very top of David Cameron’s government for agents of the brutal dictatorship in Uzbekistan.  The Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov is a former Soviet official who has been in power for more than twenty years since the fall of communism.  Former British Ambassador Craig Murray was removed from his post in Uzbekistan in 2004 after exposing abuses of human rights, to which Britain and America turned a blind eye in return for Uzbek cooperation in the so-called “war on terror”.

Bell Pottinger agreed to lobby on behalf of Uzbek interests in a series of secretly filmed meetings during the summer of this year.  Managing director Tim Collins, a former Conservative MP and shadow minister, boasted of his contacts at the top of the government:
“I’ve been working with people like Steve Hilton, David Cameron, George Osborne for 20 years-plus.  There is not a problem getting the messages through.”

He also recommended that the lobbyists should have lunch with the chief leader writer at The Times, Daniel Finkelstein, and that something might then “get dropped into a future column”.  Finkelstein was political adviser to then Tory leader (and current Foreign Secretary) William Hague from 1997 to 2001.

In return for payments of £100,000 a month, Collins even promised that internet search engines could be manipulated to give a more positive view of issues such as child labour and torture in Uzbekistan.

The Uzbek “client” was of course an undercover journalist.  But who else might Bell Pottinger have been helping with the “dark arts” of lobbying?

The most prominent recent client is the government of Bahrain, another brutal dictatorship where Western governments turn a blind eye to torture and killings because the Bahraini royal family are friends of Israel.

The company’s founder is Tim Bell, chief image maker for Margaret Thatcher.  He was ennobled in 1998 by Tony Blair and is now Lord Bell of Belgravia – though he has a less than noble past.  For five years Tim Bell was a notorious cocaine abuser, and in 1977 he was convicted of indecent exposure near his Hampstead home.

Liam Fox resignation update

liamfox-westminsterWithin a couple of days of our article about Liam Fox, the embattled Defence Secretary resigned from David Cameron’s cabinet.

It is understood that an article in The Times that sealed Fox’s fate was inspired by leaks from within the former minister’s own circle: specifically from Michael Hintze, former executive with Salomon Brothers and Goldman Sachs, and now godfather of the London hedge funds.  Hintze had been one of a cabal of donors who funded Fox, his special friend Adam Werrity, and a web of pro-Zionist think tanks and shell companies.

At all costs this network had to be protected from the extended investigation which would follow if Liam Fox attempted to cling on to office.  So like many another political front man, Fox was jettisoned.

Will investigations nevertheless continue into precisely who was funding the British Defence Secretary and his unorthodox relationship with Adam Werrity?  And if they do continue, will they be reported?

This website will carry regular updates on any further revelations in the Fox saga.

Who paid for the Defence Minister’s special friend?

Adam Werritty (left) with Dr Liam Fox (centre) at a meeting in Dubai in 2007

Adam Werritty (left) with Dr Liam Fox (centre) at a meeting in Dubai in 2007

With British forces still on the front line after ten years of an unwinnable war in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence in London is preoccupied by a scandal which is set to force the resignation of the MoD’s boss.

Dr Liam Fox – who has been Secretary of State for Defence since the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition took power last year – is facing a host of unanswered questions about the role of his close friend Adam Werritty, who appears to have given the impression to business contacts that he is an adviser to the minister, even though he holds no official position and has not been security vetted.

The nature of the special relationship between Dr Fox and Mr Werritty is unclear, though rumours about the minister’s private life have circulated among fellow politicians and journalists for many years.

The Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox is facing pressure for his resignation.

The Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox is facing pressure for his resignation.

Mr Werritty ran a “charity” based in Dr Fox’s parliamentary office, which was closed down by the Charity Commission after an investigation into its tax status.  This “charity” – the Atlantic Bridge – was a political forum for extreme neo-conservative views, uniting Thatcherites and their Washington allies.  The Charity Commission closed down Atlantic Bridge because they found that its concentration on promoting the “Special Relationship” was political, not charitable.

The “Special Relationship” is usually taken to mean the Washington-London axis, but there has always been a third, more important and indubitably more “special” partner: Israel.

It is the Tel Aviv corner of the “Special Relationship” triangle that should now be in the spotlight as for the first time a British Defence Secretary is likely to be forced to resign by personal scandal.  Who was pulling the strings behind the “special relationship” between Dr Liam Fox and his close friend Adam Werritty?

Ambassador Matthew Gould with Union Jack yarmulke

Ambassador Matthew Gould with Union Jack yarmulke

Since Dr Fox became Defence Secretary just seventeen months ago, his friend Mr Werritty has taken no fewer than nineteen international trips where he has met up with the minister and stayed in some of the world’s most expensive hotels, despite holding no official government position.  Dr Fox has admitted that he and Mr Werritty also met at the Ministry of Defence with the UK Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, who “was known socially to both of us”.  He concedes that this meeting was “inappropriate”.  Mr Gould is the first Jew to have been appointed British Ambassador to the Zionist state.

The question is now being asked: who paid Mr Werritty’s bills at hotels such as the Shangri-La, Dubai, at £350 a night?  Or his flights for the past year’s international travel to the same venues as the Defence Secretary?  Business flights to these destinations would cost an estimated total of more than £38,000.

Lorna Fitzsimons (right) at the 2009 BICOM dinner at the Berkeley Hotel, Knightsbridge, with former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk

Lorna Fitzsimons (right) at the 2009 BICOM dinner at the Berkeley Hotel, Knightsbridge, with former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk

We do now know that on one of these trips his bill was paid by the pro-Israel lobby group Bicom, headed by former Labour MP Lorna Fitzsimons.  Bicom paid for Mr Werritty to attend the Herzliya conference in Israel in 2009, where he joined a panel discussion about Iran.

Unsurprisingly Mr Werritty also met up with his special friend, Defence Secretary Liam Fox, at this Israeli conference.

Among Liam Fox’s most generous financial backers is the hedge fund tycoon and former Goldman Sachs and Salomon Brothers banker Michael Hintze, who paid for Dr Fox’s travel to Mauritania and Italy in 2007, and to and from Washington, DC, in 2008 and 2011.

Mr Hintze was also a major donor to Atlantic Bridge and Werritty has a free office at Hintze’s London headquarters.  One of the directors of Werritty’s “defence consultancy”, Security Futures, is Hintze aide Oliver Hylton.  Other directors of this mysterious company (since dissolved) are two who have since become Conservative MPs: the openly gay activist Iain Stewart (a prominent supporter of Conservative Friends of Israel), and the former lobbyist Laura Sandys, daughter of the former defence minister Duncan Sandys.  The latter’s lobbying company Laura Sandys Associates hired Miles Webber, former director of Labour Friends of Israel, to run its parliamentary team.

Gabby Bertin (centre) seen here leaving Downing Street with the Prime Minister, worked for Atlantic Bridge, the "charity" run by the Defence Minister's special friend Adam Werritty.

Gabby Bertin (centre) seen here leaving Downing Street with the Prime Minister, worked for Atlantic Bridge, the "charity" run by the Defence Minister's special friend Adam Werritty.

Also working at Atlantic Bridge was Gabby Bertin, now press secretary to the Prime Minister David Cameron.  Her position with the “charity” was funded by the New York pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Other declared financial backers of Dr Fox and his special friend are: Stanley Fink, Alan Howard, Jon Moulton and David and Simon Reuben.

Let us look a little more closely at these organisations and individuals who are generous supporters of the special friends Fox and Werritty:

Poju Zabludowicz (centre) hosted the United Jewish Israel Appeal dinner at the Hilton Hotel, London.

Poju Zabludowicz (centre) hosted the United Jewish Israel Appeal dinner at the Hilton Hotel, London.

BICOM
funded by Israeli billionaire Poju Zabludowicz, who is one of the UK’s most prominent Zionist lobbyists and a member of the Jewish Leadership Council.  A misdirected email recently revealed that BICOM regularly briefed journalists to write pro-Israeli articles, including Financial Times leader writer Jonathan Ford and Prospect editor David Goodhart.  The email leak might well cost former MP Lorna Fitzsimons her job at BICOM.

Michael Hintze (centre) with Conservative MPs Philip Dunne and Dominic Grieve (now Attorney General)

Michael Hintze (centre) with Conservative MPs Philip Dunne and Dominic Grieve (now Attorney General)

Michael Hintze
Grandparents fled the Russian Revolution and settled in China, before his parents fled that country after Mao’s victory in the late 1940s, settling in Australia where Hintze was born.  Educated at a Christian Brothers school before serving as a major in the Australian army, then entering the financial world through Salomon Brothers and Goldman Sachs.  Made millions from “short selling” during the banking crisis. Sponsors a professorial chair in international security studies at the University of Sydney.

Stanley Fink (Lord Fink)
Known as the “godfather” of the British hedge fund industry; Vice-President of the Jewish Leadership Council and Co-Treasurer of the Conservative Party; ennobled as Baron Fink of Northwood in 2011. Since 2008 has been in partnership with Tony Blair’s infamous right hand man Lord Levy, as chief executive of International Standard Asset Management.

Stanley Fink taking his seat in the upper house as Lord Fink of Northwood

Stanley Fink taking his seat in the upper house as Lord Fink of Northwood

Alan Howard
yet another hedge fund tycoon, co-founder of Brevan Howard, the largest hedge fund manager in Europe.  Like Michael Hintze, Mr Howard started his financial career with Salomon Brothers.  A board member of Conservative Friends of Israel, his company is based at the former London headquarters of Marks & Spencer in Baker Street.

Jon Moulton
a venture capitalist based in the tax haven of Guernsey.  Noted philanthropic supporter of the charity Jewish Care.

The mysterious Reuben brothers: financial backers of the British Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox

The mysterious Reuben brothers: financial backers of the British Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox

David and Simon Reuben
secretive property tycoons who added to their fortune as the biggest foreign investors in Russia during the heyday of the mafia oligarchs in the 1990s.  Their web of international shell companies was exposed in a fascinating article for Fortune magazine in 2000.

Whatever personal scandal lies behind the Defence Secretary’s current problems, British voters are surely entitled to ask: who pays the piper – and who calls the tune?

Labour’s secret plan to lure immigrants was borderline treason – and plain stupid

Was this author was too scared to accuse the Cultural Marxists running New Labour of outright treason? The info obtained by Migration Watch in their Freedom of Information request proves, not just treason, but attempted genocide of whites within the British Isles. Racial nationalists have been vindicated.

Telegraph Blogs, 10 Feb 2010: Incredible. I am stunned. Back in October Andrew Neather, a former Labour party speechwriter, let the cat out the bag when he said that the Government had encouraged immigration “to rub the Right’s nose in diversity”. But while Neather quickly backtracked, documents now released under the Freedom of Information Act suggest that he was telling the truth. Rather than being the result only of incompetence or a short-term economic measure to reduce inflation, Labour’s policy of runaway immigration was a deliberate and cynical attempt to change the face of British society.

The document released yesterday suggested that Labour originally pursued a different direction. It was published under the title “Migration: an economic and social analysis” but the removal of significant extracts suggested that officials or ministers were nervous over references to “social objectives”.

The original paper called for the need of a new framework for thinking about migration policy but the concluding phrase — “if we are to maximise the contribution of migration to the Government’s economic and social objectives” — was edited out.

Link to full article [external site]

Labour’s ‘secret plan’ to lure migrants

 The Government has been accused of pursuing a secret policy of encouraging mass immigration for its own political ends. (Voting trends indicate that migrants and their descendants are much more likely to vote Labour.)

 DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9 Feb 2010: The release of a previously unseen document suggested that Labour’s migration policy over the past decade had been aimed not just at meeting the country’s economic needs, but also the Government’s “social objectives”.

The paper said migration would “enhance economic growth” and made clear that trying to halt or reverse it could be “economically damaging”. But it also stated that immigration had general “benefits” and that a new policy framework was needed to “maximise” the contribution of migration to the Government’s wider social aims.

The Government has always denied that social engineering played a part in its migration policy.

However, the paper, which was written in 2000 at a time when immigration began to increase dramatically, said controls were contrary to its policy objectives and could lead to “social exclusion”.

Link to full article [external site]

Pay and expenses – Greedy MEPs on £450,000 a year

DAILY EXPRESS, 29 Jan 2010: Grasping Euro MPs will snatch even more money from hard-pressed British taxpayers after voting themselves a bonus which puts their pay and expenses package up to £450,000 a year.

MEPs want to feather their nest with an extra £1,300 a month, it emerged last night.

They claim the extra cash is needed because the controversial Lisbon Treaty has increased their workload. The extra money is supposed to pay for the hire of staff, though they already get a £15,000-a-month allowance for employees.

Some of the EU’s 785 MEPs, of which 72 are from the UK, can rake in more than £360,000 a year in expenses. The growing gravy train dwarfs the amounts claimed by Westminster MPs, whose milking of the Commons system has caused outrage in Britain.

Link to full article [external site]

Quentin Davies dismisses bell-tower expense row as ‘a joke’

GUARDIAN, 15 Dec 2009: The defence minister Quentin Davies today dismissed the furore over his expense claim for a bell-tower on his constituency home as “a joke”.

Davies said he had not done “anything remotely wrong” in submitting a £20,000 invoice for work to his roof, including repairs to the bell-tower, and insisted his work had not been affected “in the slightest degree”.

The Grantham and Stamford MP, who defected from the Tories, insisted that he had never intended to claim the full amount detailed on the invoice, only legitimate expenses for repairing his roof.

Read full article [external link]

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