The Nolan Principles of Public Life – a travesty

If Westminster staff need protection from MPs then we are obviously electing the wrong people. Yet, unless they resign – which they rarely do – we cannot get rid of them. In local government we can’t get rid of a councillor even if he deliberately votes against his own party’s wishes (and when members of his own party then protect him after he has done so).

It is even more unlikely that any Conservative MPs will be made to resign – even if they admit to calling an employee “sugar tits” (no asterisks for Owl on this one) and ordering her to make his sex shop purchases – both of which an MP has allegedly admitted to doing – because of their precarious grasp on power. Power which is held only because of a £1 billion bribe to a so-called Christian-values-based party the DUP – with its strong links to the fundamentalist Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster.

There must be a way of local voters being able to deselect an MP (or a councillor) when he or she is shown to be totally unfit for office, surely? Even a prison sentence doesn’t stop someone being a councillor – it has to be for more than a year!

“There is a requirement to inform the House, if Members are arrested on
criminal charges, of the cause for which they are detained from their
service in Parliament. The House is also informed when a Member has been
committed to prison for a criminal offence. In such circumstances, the
Speaker would normally make an oral statement or lay a copy of the
letter on the Table. The Representation of the People Act 1981
disqualifies from membership of the House any serving Member detained
for any offence in the UK or the Republic of Ireland for more than a
year or detained indefinitely, and their seat becomes vacant.

The House of Commons Library has compiled a list of MPs imprisoned since
1979 …”

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mps_with_criminal_records

We obviously cannot rely on the Nolan Principles for Public Life to protect us at any level of government – local, regional or national.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life/the-7-principles-of-public-life–2

Former Prime Minister Blair’s property empire avoids tax

“Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has set up a company to manage his £33 million property empire, joining a growing number of landlords who are opting for incorporation to beat tax rises on buy-to-let operations.

Blair, along with wife Cherie and eldest son Euan, are believed to own a total of 38 properties. The families’ property portfolio includes flats in north-west England which Mrs Blair and their son let out via an existing company, Oldbury Residential Ltd, which holds investments worth £2.4m in the year ending April 2016.

The family has reportedly banked at least £1.7m in profits from buying and selling nine properties, and they also have an extensive portfolio of private homes, including a £9m five-storey Georgian townhouse which they purchased in 2004 and a £10m Grade I-listed Buckinghamshire manor house.

Now Mr and Mrs Blair have set up another company, Harcourt Ventures Ltd, to let and manage properties, with Tony Blair owning half of the shares and his wife named as the sole director.

Setting up a limited company is one of several ways in which private landlords have responded to recent tax changes within the private rented sector. These changes include increases in stamp duty and cuts to mortgage tax relief introduced in April which no longer allow landlords to offset mortgage interest from their rental income. …

… Buy-to-let landlords are now incorporating their lettings operations as limited companies to avoid the tax changes and to secure additional finances to buy more properties according to industry statistics.

The proportion of homes available for rent in the UK, owned by a company landlord, reached 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 – the highest number since records began in 2010. …”

https://www.nationalrentersalliance.co.uk/news/landlord/tony-blair-sets-buy-let-property-company-avoid-tax-rises/