Dorries faces new expenses query


9:30 am - May 9th 2010

by Unity    


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If you thought that a new parliament would draw a line under the whole issue of MPs expenses then think again:

£10,000 claim makes Tory the first MP in an expenses row

NADINE DORRIES, the Conservative MP, faces the first expenses complaint of the new parliament after a row about a £10,000 claim she paid to a friend’s company.

Her former Commons researcher, Peter Hand, is writing to John Lyon, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, questioning whether the claim can be justified.

The complaint will undermine hopes that the expenses controversy can be consigned to the last parliament.

Hand’s complaint relates to a payment to Lynn Elson of Marketing Management Midlands Ltd of £9987.50 (£8500+VAT) in July 2007 for consultation on an annual report and quarterly newsletter, design, layout and production of an annual report and consultation on a constituency survey (see invoice/claim form). As we reported back in February, Dorries went on to claim a further £37,509.75 in allowances, between September 2008 and July 2009, to cover the cost of services supplied by Elson, having already claimed more than £21,000 for services provided by another PR company, Media Intelligence Partners, between November 2006 and September 2008.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Hand, who worked for Dorries as a researcher from 2005 until November 2008, said:

“The 2006 report was posted on her website and I was closely involved in its production.

“I was never aware a report was produced in 2007 and never saw one. Even if there was this leaflet, I don’t understand how the costs could be so high.”

In response, Dorries told the newspaper that a copy of the report had been posted on her website before adding that:

“I’ve done an annual report every year since I’ve been an MP. We did keep a lot of stuff from Peter.”

Dorries was, however, unable to provide the Sunday Times with either details of the printing firm that carried out the work or a breakdown of the work undertaken by Elson.

—-

Let’s try and follow the money…

Briefly – I know a thing or two about producing leaflets/newsletter having – a few years ago – worked for the NHS in a job which involved knocking out regular community health newsletters with a print/distribution run of 17,500 copies per issue, so let’s try and follow the money…

A couple of weeks ago, Dorries put up a blog post which noted that she’d been contacted by one of the Sunday’s and asked about this particular leaflet and, with a bit of help from Dizzy, managed to put up up a couple of photographs of it, including this one:

Mmm… not much to look at is it – and what there is doesn’t look very much like anything I’d personally call an ‘annual report’.

However, having checked her site using both Google and the Wayback Machine archives, I can find no evidence to support her contention that this leaflet was ever posted on her website or blog. Similarly, my own searches failed to turn up either a quarterly newsletter or an annual report, as I would understand the latter, nor any reference to a constituency survey of any description.

Finally, a check on her expenses documentation failed to turn up any claims/payment for delivery/distribution of this leaflet, which could mean only that this was covered by the payment to Elson, even though there no mention of distribution or delivery on the invoice.

So, what we have is double-sided A4 colour flyer with, at most, about 1000 words of text and three photographs and a payment of £8500 + VAT.

Dorries’s cheapest option would cost £1,100-£1,900 with a mid-range cost of  £2,600-£3,500 and a top-end cost of between £4,500 and £5,700, none of which are the kind of sums you’d neglect to even mention on an invoice, especially the solus option which would have left Elson looking at making loose change from the invoice in return for her consultancy work.

And that leave Dorries with a few questions to answer… because, so far, the numbers just don’t add up.

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About the author
'Unity' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He also blogs at Ministry of Truth.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Westminster

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Reader comments


One small addition.

I’ve been told (but cannot confirm) that if you give Royal Mail 13 weeks notice you can get a leaflet drop to an entire constituency (and they will do it by constituency) for something like £400.

I was told that by our UKIP leaflet distribution bloke. The truth of it I’m not sure…..

I think this is Murdoch having a pop at us. You notice The Sunday Times waited until after the election to report this. They have been throwing the kitchen sink at Labour and the Lib Dems for the last month, but now the election is over, and she is safely re-elected they run the story.

Classic Murdoch.

Tim, sounds a bit cheap to me; you sure he’s not talking about the freepost that all registered candidates for Parliament get anyway?

Unity, nice job, pretty much agree on most of your numbers, something really doesn’t add up. Of course, we knew this already, but the journos obviously held off.

Wanting a new scalp post election, or keeping schtum to help her position? They’ve got some replacement idiots now, so she’s expendable?

Gah! *ticks box*

“; you sure he’s not talking about the freepost that all registered candidates for Parliament get anyway?”

Positive

6. David Wright

£400 to deliver a constituency would be under £10 a thousand (1p each). No way the RM would charge that; even the people who employ locals who want to earn a few quid to stuff leaflets through doors charge £30 to £60 a thousand, and I’d expect the Royal Mail to be much more expensive than that.

7. Ms Humphrey Cushion

At 23.30pm on Saturday 8th of May 2010, the Times Online posted this http://bit.ly/bxlblb article from which the above was taken. I tweeted the link immediately.

The tweet contains the hashtags #sackdorries & #twitterarmy. The “Twitter Army” members following the hashtag immediately set to work retweeting the article which had in excess of 1000 views within 1.5 hours. This morning at 6.00am (time of this comment) it has had 1419 views, purely generated by my link alone. This Topsy page http://bit.ly/aq328q has more information about the spread of this story on Twitter, showing that additional hashtags have been added to it, including #madnad which is one of Ms Dorries’ Twitter nicknames.

By 16.00pm on the 9th May it had 6035 hits, 5281 of which were generated via my link. The hashtag #sackdorries which linked to the story trended in the UK list for several hours throughout the day, full account here:http://bit.ly/9lJRpk

The story is still being tweeted as I write this but we have yet to have any media response at all regarding the call to remove Ms Nadine Dorries from office and hold a by-election in Mid Bedfordshire. Another failure by the British Media to hold Tory MPs to account.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Christian DeFeo

    RT @hangbitch: Nice one Unity http://bit.ly/aVvj3D #sackdorries #exterminatedorries #justfuckengetridofdorries

  2. Linda Jack

    RT @libcon Dorries faces new expenses query http://bit.ly/9qPAYT

  3. 125 f8

    RT @Lindylooz: RT @libcon Dorries faces new expenses query http://bit.ly/9qPAYT

  4. Sheryl Odlum

    RT @libcon: Dorries faces new expenses query http://bit.ly/9qPAYT

  5. Mark Fitchett

    RT @chickyog: http://bit.ly/9qPAYT #sackdorries

  6. Mike Power

    There is nothing so tedious and boring that it can't be made even more tedious and boring via the dead-hand of "Unity". http://is.gd/c14eU

  7. Tim Footman

    RT @chickyog: http://bit.ly/9qPAYT #sackdorries Gotcha

  8. Tank the Tories

    Excellent work RT @doctorcdf RT @hangbitch: Nice one Unity http://bit.ly/aVvj3D #sackdorries

  9. David Briggs

    LAWL RT @humphreycushion: RT @chickyog: http://bit.ly/9qPAYT #sackdorries #pwnt #spookyposse

  10. Chris Paul

    RT @Unity_MoT: Dorries' 10k claim – http://bit.ly/9qPAYT – is only part of the £70k she spent on PR as an MP – http://bit.ly/atue4m #sac …

  11. Humphrey Cushion

    RT @Unity_MoT: Dorries' 10k claim – http://bit.ly/9qPAYT – is only part of the £70k she spent on PR as an MP – http://bit.ly/atue4m #sackdorries

  12. Neil Ravenhill

    RT @Unity_MoT: Dorries' 10k claim – http://bit.ly/9qPAYT – only part of £70k she spent on PR as an MP – http://bit.ly/atue4m #sackdorries

  13. Neil Ravenhill

    RT @Unity_MoT: Dorries' 10k claim – http://bit.ly/9qPAYT – only part of £70k she spent on PR as an MP – http://bit.ly/atue4m #sackdorries

  14. Tim Ireland

    RT @Unity_MoT: Dorries' 10k claim – http://bit.ly/9qPAYT – is only part of the £70k she spent on PR as an MP – http://bit.ly/atue4m #sackdorries

  15. Able Dick Talent

    RT @Unity_MoT: Dorries' 10k claim – http://bit.ly/9qPAYT – is only part of the £70k she spent on PR as an MP – http://bit.ly/atue4m #sac …

  16. Tim Ireland

    I wonder if the same PR company in the story helped Nadine Dorries keep a lid on it for 2+ weeks http://bit.ly/9qPAYT #sackdorries

  17. Adam Croft

    RT @bloggerheads: I wonder if the same PR company in the story helped Nadine Dorries keep a lid on it for 2+ weeks http://bit.ly/9qPAYT #sackdorries

  18. Humphrey Cushion

    RT @bloggerheads: I wonder if the same PR company in the story helped Nadine Dorries keep a lid on it for 2+ weeks http://bit.ly/9qPAYT #sackdorries

  19. Hannah Mudge

    RT @libcon Dorries faces new expenses query http://bit.ly/9hfRrp

  20. Justin Baidoo

    RT @Unity_MoT: Dorries' 10k claim – http://bit.ly/9qPAYT – is only part of the £70k she spent on PR as an MP – http://bit.ly/atue4m #sac …

  21. Boscoe Bellistre

    RT @NadiaKamil: Backwards&corrupt! Dorries' 10k claim http://bit.ly/9qPAYT is only part of the 70k she paid for PR as MP http://bit.ly/a

  22. Liberal Conspiracy

    Dorries faces new expenses query http://bit.ly/9qPAYT

  23. OurManInAbiko

    RT @libcon: Dorries faces new expenses query http://bit.ly/9qPAYT

  24. Kate B

    Nice one Unity http://bit.ly/aVvj3D #sackdorries #exterminatedorries #justfuckengetridofdorries

  25. Adam Croft

    RT @libcon: Dorries faces new expenses query http://bit.ly/9qPAYT #sackdorries

  26. Tweets that mention Liberal Conspiracy » Dorries faces new expenses query -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liberal Conspiracy, Adam Croft, OurManInAbiko, Christian DeFeo, Kate B and others. Kate B said: Nice one Unity http://bit.ly/aVvj3D #sackdorries #exterminatedorries #justfuckengetridofdorries […]

  27. Les Crompton

    RT @libcon: Dorries faces new expenses query http://bit.ly/cnTLNk

  28. Mike Morris

    RT @Lindylooz: RT @libcon Dorries faces new expenses query http://bit.ly/9qPAYT

  29. Justin McKeating

    http://bit.ly/9qPAYT #sackdorries

  30. Ian Hurst

    RT @libcon: NADINE DORRIES, the Conservative MP faces new expenses query http://bit.ly/9qPAYT

  31. Humphrey Cushion

    RT @chickyog: http://bit.ly/9qPAYT #sackdorries

  32. Ryan Bestford

    "Dorries faces new expenses query" – http://bit.ly/9gCd79 <Al Capone MP: If we can't get her for crimes against decency, expenses!

  33. Unanswered questions

    […] Unity says over at Liberal Conspiracy, there are a few unanswered questions about the new expenses row featuring Nadine Dorries.  I […]

  34. Unity

    Dorries' 10k claim – http://bit.ly/9qPAYT – is only part of the £70k she spent on PR as an MP – http://bit.ly/atue4m #sackdorries

  35. Ryan Bestford

    RT @Unity_MoT: Dorries' 10k claim – http://bit.ly/9qPAYT – is only part of the £70k she spent on PR as an MP – http://bit.ly/atue4m #sackdorries

  36. earwicga

    RT @Unity_MoT: Dorries' 10k claim – http://bit.ly/9qPAYT – is only part of the £70k spent on PR as an MP – http://bit.ly/atue4m #sackdorries

  37. Phil Hatchard

    Ah, Nadine, you vile bitch. http://bit.ly/bxlblb http://bit.ly/9qPAYT http://bit.ly/bKlmWu http://bit.ly/dorriesout #sackdorries

  38. Heather Noller

    RT @evilflea: Ah, Nadine, you vile bitch. http://bit.ly/bxlblb http://bit.ly/9qPAYT http://bit.ly/bKlmWu http://bit.ly/dorriesout #sackdorries

  39. Nadia Kamil

    Backwards&corrupt! Dorries' 10k claim http://bit.ly/9qPAYT is only part of the 70k she paid for PR as MP http://bit.ly/atue4m #sackdorries

  40. Ian Massingham

    @guidofawkes unfortunately Nadine Dorries and 'woman' in question have previous. Slightly suspect. Bottom comment. http://bit.ly/9teUfG





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