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No House of Lords inquiry into Ashcroft

Nick Robinson | 09:05 UK time, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Peter Mandelson's call on the House of Lord Appointments Commission to hold an inquiry into the Ashcroft affair looks set to be turned down. The committee are to tell him that they didn't exist when Ashcroft made the assurances which secured his peerage, they don't have the paperwork and they don't have the powers to hold an inquiry.

Guess what? If the first secretary had done a quick Google search for the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee he would have found a written answer from a colleague who reported that it is the government - or more specifically the Cabinet Office - which has the relevant paperwork.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    I suspect that there are a few fellow peers who are silently grateful, had his appointment been retrospectively reviewed it could well have opened a hornets nest of similar referrals...

  • Comment number 4.

    Wow! It's almost as if they didn't really want an inquiry.

  • Comment number 5.

    Do you think that Mandelson didn't know that it was the Cabinet Office with the paperwork?

    He could not come on TV saying that he had called for an enquiry in the Cabinet Office, but they have said, as per Ashcrofts letter, he had clarified the terms with the Labour Government, and had met them.

    far better to create mischief and call for an enquiry that would have to be "rebuffed", with an air of dubious reasons.

  • Comment number 6.

    My goodness this makes Mandelson and Labour look rather foolish or deceitful, whichever you prefer. The games this Government are playing, while the important issues, like the economy, are still not being addressed is really quite frightening.

  • Comment number 7.

    Typical Mandleson; an angry snap first, then ask questions later.

    How very dare you...

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 8.

    Here’s hoping that this leads to a full scale investigation into all of the parties funding activities.
    Mandy’s opened a can of worms here because we know they have all been at it.

    But wait – silly me – Nick says an enquiry looks set to be turned down, so the whole seedy affair will be buried by all concerned.

    Yep, they all tried to cover up the expenses fiasco & they will all band together to bury this filth as well.
    All MP’s are Brothers in Arms – now it’s us VS them.
    Is it any wonder people don’t bother voting anymore?

  • Comment number 9.

    Nick,

    George Osbourne may have indirectly asked you to take a pay cut, but to let that influence your blog topics is petty.

    Too many posters have noted that too often you are too biased.

  • Comment number 10.

    Nick - I think that it's time to move on. Lord Ashcroft was yesterday's news.

  • Comment number 11.

    Im confused why this morning you were asking which tory's knew the terms of the arrangement?

    In order to become a peer he had meetings in 1999 with the cabinate office and cabinate secutary. IE labour ministers knew the arangement and aggreed to it! He met his side of the agreement, there for this is a none story or at best a story as to why the cabinate office allowed him to remain a non dom in 1999.

    So Peter Mandelson should be asking why his predicessor (im sure Peter is at least on the current commette if no chairing it) allowed him to remain a non dom and not complaining that he is one.

    It really anowys me whan a goverment offical complains about something that the same goverment aggreed to!

  • Comment number 12.

    Nick

    So Mendacious Mandelson strikes again.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250880/Mendacious-Mandelson-duped-BBC-Chris-Patten-smear.html

    Yesterday's efforts were not guided by Mandy were they?

    Can you ask Mandy how he can afford a £3 Million Socialist Mansion when he can't show the income?

    I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 13.

    Why will millions of illegal immigrants be voting in our general election?

    Do these illegals pay any tax at all?

  • Comment number 14.

    No enquiry into Lord Paul presumably either.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    Three blogs in less than 24 hours? Guess there must be a Tory to bash, eh Nick?

  • Comment number 17.

    What about the current party in government, they have their fair share of non-dom contributors. Are you going to be commenting on them too?

  • Comment number 18.

    Aye, you're determined not to let this go are you Robinson?

    On the Politics page, we've got load of council jobs at risk, we've got Brown skipping PMQ's for a visit by Jacob Zuma, you've got support increasing for an English parliament.... and yet, you just cant get your teeth out of this particular bone, can you?

    Gahh. The rate you're going mate, you couldnt be trusted to be even handed enough to edit a sink estate school newsletter, let alone the charades around Westminster.

    FEEBLE.

  • Comment number 19.

    Nick you still along with the rest of your BBC colleagues failed to spell out which of the Labour donors are non dom and in comparison with Ashcroft
    how much have they donated. Can we expect to hear the Government already has the information they are asking the Lords committee to reveal on the BBC news casts or would that spoil the drive to embarrass the Tories.

  • Comment number 20.

    Nick

    the real issue in Ashcroftgate is about Bearwood - is this a real company or a sham company in order to syphon money into the Tory party from the dodgy south american country.

    We also need to have a closer look at those companies in Belieze are they legitimate?

    We don't want to see the election bought like the gerrymandering in Westminster not so long ago.

  • Comment number 21.

    2. At 09:32am on 02 Mar 2010, APbbforum wrote:
    I'm sure there will be lots of comments below accusing you of bias/hypocrisy/obsessiveness but don't pay any attention to them.


    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    HA HA HA

    Desperation.

    "He said at the time "

    Funny that, that no one else was being ask I mean if there was any balance at the time then all parties should have been questioned in the same way?

    Funny how none of the Labour Peers downers were questioned about their status.

    You could almost believe that there was bias around at the time?

    Surely not!

    Tell me which sitting Prime Minister was questioned by the Police over 'CASH FOR PEERAGES'

    That Moral High Ground must be sticking to the bottom of your shoe issuing a very repugnant smell..

  • Comment number 22.

    So what have they been doing for the last 11 years then ?
    Does anybody have any idea other than recking the economy ?

    ah they do not want to talk about there past so lets attach someone else to create a smoke screen, even though we could have changed the rules long ago ?

  • Comment number 23.

    Poor Nick. You must be gutted. Still, plenty of time to come up with something else, isn't there. Keep digging.

  • Comment number 24.

    Nick,

    you need to keep going with this there is a real issue that our election is being bought like Florida - (before Jed bush).

    It would be horrendous if you stood idly by whilst a great wrong was being done t the electorate. Ignore the extreme rightwing reaction on this site there is a much greater good that needs to happen now.

  • Comment number 25.

    Nick

    if you have any concerns about foreign political influence over our electoral system.

    Why is Rev Jessy Jackson ( An American Democrat) touring the country getting out the Black vote for Labour?

    Labour ran an open door policy to increase immigrant voters who they knew would favour them.

    Now we have Jessy galvanizing that vote.

    Any chance of you asking any questions?

    NAA didn't think so.

  • Comment number 26.

    nautonier wrote at 10:07

    "Why will millions of illegal immigrants be voting in our general election?

    Do these illegals pay any tax at all?"

    It is not just illegal immigrants. All first generation immigrants will be non doms.

    Domicile is based on your Fathers domicile, unless you take steps to change it.

    How many immigrants are repatriated to their country of birth on their death?

    That is one of the prime tests of Domicile - where do you intend to be buried.

    So immigrants come here as non doms, and many remain non doms.


  • Comment number 27.

    I feel pretty uncomfortable with the idea that we can even have Lords who are non-doms. They pay little tax towards the government of the country; influence the legislation for all tax payers and can presumably claim allowances like any other on the Parliamentary gravy train. Ashcroft should never have become a Lord in the first instance and nor should anyone else who was or is a non-dom. Those who are stepping into public life are looking far too shady for my liking - and I include Mandelson amongst them with his many government titles and shadowy history.

  • Comment number 28.

    20

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Comment number 29.

    #25 I'm voting labour so that they get there cumupetance from the IMF etc, they created this mess and they can implode trying to sort it out

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    I've got news for you Nick most people would pay less tax given the chance, do you think they're going to be as hypocritical as your Labour pals and condemn him? Yesterday the markets underlined the danger of another win for Labour, why aren't you the slightest bit interested? The public pay you to provide a news service, not Labour party propaganda.

  • Comment number 32.

    "We don't want to see the election bought like the gerrymandering in Westminster not so long ago."

    Or the dodgy Labour postal votes in the constituency next door to the PM's or in Glasgow, or.....

    You're in no position to accuse anyone of buying votes, "balanced".

    ....About as "Balanced" as Robert Mugabe.

  • Comment number 33.

    This whole affair stinks of 'Tory bashing'!

    'The conservatives drop to a mere 2 point lead, so let's start a smear campaign to make us look good'

    Isn't the saying 'people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones'?

    When will politicians understand that people (their voters) are sick to death of playground telling tales tactics. The whole country is sick of the back stabbing. We want to hear how MP's are going to help us out of the unholy mess this country is in.

    Nick, the few comments on this page should show you how little people care about this whole issue with Lord Ashcroft. Please write a blog of more significance to the forthcoming general election!

    You are a great reporter-this 'story' is not worthy of your skill.

    (this comment will probably get bounced!)

  • Comment number 34.

    I heard Mandelson on the box this AM - suggesting that the Electoral Commission should investigate Ashcroft

    Too late! Ashcroft is completely in the clear.

    Personally, I think that the non.dom tax status should be scrapped and everone should pay full UK taxes - but like all other non.doms Ashcroft is completely in the clear because of Labour incompetence to change the law on non.dom taxes etc.

    Perhaps Mandelson can tell us why millions of illegals will be voting in our general election - millions of illegals

    Can you understand that BBC - millions of illegals voting and paying no taxes and stealing jobs, benefits, housing and health care?

    Millions of illegals probably don't pay any tax at all and the worst push drugs, plant bombs and traffic little children - Can you understand that BBC?

    Please can the BBC get its house in order - see the big picture and then prioritise its news worthy items

    Ashcroft is just one person and has committed no crime - what about the millions of illegals BBC?

    Will the electoral commission investigate illegal voting?

  • Comment number 35.

    26. At 10:55am on 02 Mar 2010, Eddie wrote:

    nautonier wrote at 10:07

    "Why will millions of illegal immigrants be voting in our general election?

    Do these illegals pay any tax at all?"

    It is not just illegal immigrants. All first generation immigrants will be non doms.

    Domicile is based on your Fathers domicile, unless you take steps to change it.

    How many immigrants are repatriated to their country of birth on their death?

    That is one of the prime tests of Domicile - where do you intend to be buried.

    So immigrants come here as non doms, and many remain non doms.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I am really shocked at these labour tax immigration loop-holes?

    I hope the BBC give this full coverage and full investigation by all relevant authorities - this needs a full enquiry!

  • Comment number 36.

    Give it a rest Nick.

    You seem to want to make great mileage out of Ashcroft being resident but non-domiciled and that somehow this means there was skullduggery over promises made when Ashcroft became a Lord.

    This is because you seem to know nothing about the tax rules surrounding residency and domicile. You are a blind man pontificating about a painting.

    Have you any idea how DIFFICULT it is to change Domicile of origin? Do you think it is just a question of signing a form? If so, why doesn't everyone in the UK just sign a form to became Cayman Island Domiciled? Hey-presto an entire nation of Non-Doms.

    Changing Domicile involves breaking ALL ties with your previous Domicile and in effect saying you'll never go back. Such a claim would be scuppered by a bank account, a property, the intention to retire back there, even a burial plot. Given Ashcroft's huge business and property interests in Belize, such an idea is idiotic.

    Before you carry on giving more and more the impression that you don't care about the actual facts but have a fixed opinion you just want to keep banging on and on about (3 blogs so far) why not talk to a tax expert on changing Domicile of origin?

  • Comment number 37.

    The government at the time approve the nominations.

    So why is the Mendacious one shouting...as always to obfuscate, spin and confuse.

    He has now created a noise and will slither back into his crevice hopefully never to return.

    How is it that he has been raised to the Peerage may be a more appropriate question.

  • Comment number 38.

    Interesting, all these Labour supporters banging on and on about the awful influence of non-doms and how they shouldn't be allowed a voice in politics.

    The vast majority of non-doms in this country will be first and second generation Indians, Pakistanis and Afro-Carribeans.

    Seems a bit, well, racist of you Labour lot.

  • Comment number 39.

    20. At 10:28am on 02 Mar 2010, balancedthought wrote:

    the gerrymandering in Westminster not so long ago.

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Balanced

    Do you mean the inbuilt 100 seat majority on equal Labour Tory votes?
    You know the one setup by the boundary commission that was chaired by Micheal Martin the former speaker of the HP that had to resign after the government sent in the Anti Terrorist squad to arrest a opposition MP for reveling incompetence of Jackie Smith in the Home office?

    Or

    The corrupt use of postal voting Mainly by Labour but with some from the Lib Dems?

    Or

    Opening the borders to allow in millions of Labour leaning immigrants?

    Or

    The Labour Peers who could be heard on tape saying

    "You will have to make it worth my while if I'm to come on board" about tabling amendments to laws in the House of Lords.

    I can go on and on with such examples because the corruption runs deep in ZaNuLabour.

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    33. At 11:10am on 02 Mar 2010, Tigerjayj wrote:

    This whole affair stinks of 'Tory bashing'!

    'The conservatives drop to a mere 2 point lead, so let's start a smear campaign to make us look good'

    Isn't the saying 'people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones'?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    If only! Unfortunately, its thier biggest party piece and the lobby helps them to do it.

  • Comment number 42.

    35#

    Indeed they should.

    Unfortunately, all they care about is lining their own pockets, what is in it for them and dissing the tories.

    The tories are too wet to grab the issue by the ears for fear of being called the racist nasty party.

    Thats how we're in the situation we're in.

  • Comment number 43.

    Robin @ 7

    Call an election? Be careful what you wish for. The CON poll lead is evaporating like a puddle in the hot desert sun. Looks like the electorate might be waking up, doesn't it?

  • Comment number 44.

    Speculation continues to grow over Nick Robinson's tax affairs as he refuses to answer questions about his savings.

    It is rumoured that Mr Robinson has one or more pension plans and perhaps ISAs or PEPs.

    These savings plans are tax exempt meaning he would be paying LESS tax on interest, dividends and capital gains than he would be if he held the savings personally.

    Of course, if he has done so he has done nothing illegal but questions have to be asked of a person who is paid out of public money and who has arranged his tax affairs in order to minimise the amount of tax due.

  • Comment number 45.

    ha ha silly old Mandy. HE has no right to be there himself, he and the Lords Kinnock and that rough diamond SUGAR - all parachuted in to side with an ailing failing PM.

  • Comment number 46.

    Nick

    How about a blog on expense claims in the House of Lords, especially the non dom billionaires. That would make an interesting read.

    Lord Ashcroft 285 appearances no claims submitted, cost to taxpayer ZERO.

    Lord Paul 1047 appearances claimed over 280,000 Pounds Sterling.

    Perhaps Lord Ashcroft's "crime" in Mandelson's eyes was not to join the HoL members at the golden trough!

  • Comment number 47.

    There are millions of wealthy immigrants living here. We have them all around us (along with the illegals camping down in their properties). They have houses here, renting some out to more illegals, and all - ALL of them have at least another house or apartment back in India.

    Silly Stupid Labour - thanks for ruining our country.

  • Comment number 48.

    Whilst Mandelson is rooting around in the Cabinet Office files, he might also want to check on the how the People's Peers (a product of his best mate, Tony B) have fared in playing their part in the UK's governance.....
    Some have hardly appeared or said a word in the House since their elevation to the peerage (another of Mandelson's best mates, Lord Browne of Madingley, is but one of them).
    If Mandelson is going to get cross about what peers of the realm have done/haven't done, let him cast the net wide..... He'll find it full of slippery eels.......

  • Comment number 49.

    I feel that the Labour and Liberal political parties should not get involved in this kind of politics, as they are most certinly not whiter than white in the area of funding. The Prime Minister should call an election now, and that in future a fixed term parliment should be brought into being, as is in the USA.

  • Comment number 50.

    I think the public are a bit more interested in what all of this means. How about asking Mendelson to explain the following:-

    Between 2001 -2008 Lord Ashcroft attended parliament 285 times at a total cost to the taxpayer of £0.00 in expenses, with an average cost of £0.00.
    During the same period Lord Swarj Paul attended parliament 1047 times at a cost to the taxpayer of £281,263 in expenses. The average cost per visit was £268.64 and in 2008/9 this jumped to £405.58 per visit.

    While Lord Ashcroft was setting up the extremely successful Crimestoppers organisation, Lord Paul was raiding the pension funds of british steelworkers.

  • Comment number 51.

    Reading the comments here is a triumph of hope over experience, winnowing through mountains of dross in the hope of finding a small nugget of reasoned argument.

    Memo to Mark Thompson: One way to lighten the site and save a few pence on bandwidth and storage would be dropping commenting on the blogs. I'm quite happy to lose my sign-on.

  • Comment number 52.

    #37 was it for breaking the rules more than once when in the cabinet ,something to do with a mortage and having a partner that did not have a passport or issue like that , I know I ask a friend,
    NR can you tell me the answer,

    for all of that he was rewarded with Europe and then a Lord ship so that he could help out GB in his 3 years of need

  • Comment number 53.

    I am sure Mr Mandleson used the word "UNDEMOCRATIC" in his rant outside No 10 earlier,I have a couple of questions;

    Who elected him ?
    Indeed who elected Mr Brown PM ?
    And How many labour peers are in the cabinet while unelected ???

  • Comment number 54.

    #43. sagamix
    'Robin @ 7

    Call an election? Be careful what you wish for. The CON poll lead is evaporating like a puddle in the hot desert sun. Looks like the electorate might be waking up, doesn't it?'
    Note: Conservative lead evaporating NOT Labour support increasing.
    Looks like the electorate have got the measure of the main parties and have given up on them!

  • Comment number 55.

    43. At 11:45am on 02 Mar 2010, sagamix wrote:
    Robin @ 7

    Call an election? Be careful what you wish for. The CON poll lead is evaporating like a puddle in the hot desert sun. Looks like the electorate might be waking up, doesn't it?

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    And they say pride comes before a fall.

    SAGA

    The Bond and Currency Markets are also waking up.

    The guilt's and the pound are on the slide on the chance of Labour return to power.

    Steph Flanders thinks so.

    That smugness will be wiped from your face if the polls do show a labour return because you have a full blown financial crisis on your hands.

    The Market are as alarmed as I am at the prospect of another Liebour government.

  • Comment number 56.

    No42 Perry,
    Do you agree that we have a national and international economic system that is fundamentally corrupt and rotten to the core, and a parliament that is the most un-democratic amongst the OECD countries?( majority of British parliamentarians un-elected).
    If so do you think a change in personnel riding around in ministerial cars will make any significant difference to the wellbeing of the people either in the short or long term?

  • Comment number 57.

    sagamix 43

    "The CON poll lead is evaporating like a puddle in the hot desert sun."

    As noted previously on an earlier thread, and acknowledged by you at the time (it's an interesting commentary on your blogging integrity that now you choose to forget it, by the way), the movement in the polls is all to do with shifts in the way the polling companies weight their data, and nothing to do with changes in the way the public are answering the polling questions. In short, the movement in the polls is all about the polling companies yielding to their paymasters (the newspapers) to provide spice to the news narrative.

    Most sensible people would be happy to see an election called right now. The real question is, if Brown thinks things are going his way, why doesn't he go for it?

  • Comment number 58.

    47. At 11:54am on 02 Mar 2010, Flamethrower wrote:

    There are millions of wealthy immigrants living here. We have them all around us (along with the illegals camping down in their properties). They have houses here, renting some out to more illegals, and all - ALL of them have at least another house or apartment back in India.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Try buying any property in India if you have a British passport and you're.... never mind!

  • Comment number 59.

    Try hard Nick, you may be able to keep this on the front page to please your Labour chums. But not really a story is it? Unless you add in the number of Labour Non Dom donors and the amount they have donated.

    Silly me, that would not do would it, far too balanced!

  • Comment number 60.

    sagamix...

    you really do take the buscuit. The very idea that the electorate will 'wake up' to anything is preposterous.

    Only when it explodes all over them will they take any notice. So we may have to wait until the we are downgraded, the pound collapses further, the minority govenrment you are hoping to form falls apart again and again under pressure from striking public sector workers and several of your administration's marvellous PFI schemes succeed in bankrupting the hospitals and schools you purport to have saved.

    Or will we be taken over by the borough of Tower Hamlets - infiltrated by muslims according to the Dispatches program last night.

    And perhaps by then you will on these posts bleating for the return of those nice well mannered tories.

    But then again, perhaps not.

    When did newlabour ever care about opinion polls anyway? Were they thinking about what anyone thought when they placed cameras on evry street corner? Or gave us the highest natioanl debt ever, or the highest taxation in the developed world, or the worst cancer treatment record in the developed world, or their illegal wars?

    Of course not. But suddenly there's an election and it's time for 'I'm an open book' Let's see Gorodn Brown last the four weeks of an election campaign. No more boom and bust; just boom and great depression.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 61.

    portcullis,

    "Opening the borders to allow in millions of Labour leaning immigrants"

    UK voting intentions play no part in our entry process. It's not on any form and it's never asked in interviews. Each immigrant makes a personal choice as to who to vote for, based on their personal political principles and what they perceive to be best for the country and for themselves. Just like you. Just like me. Their vote should be respected equally to anybody else's. No more, no less. Your sweeping statement is both ignorant and prejudicial.

  • Comment number 62.

    50. At 11:57am on 02 Mar 2010, RTJ199 wrote:
    I think the public are a bit more interested in what all of this means. How about asking Mandelson to explain the following:-

    Between 2001 -2008 Lord Ashcroft attended parliament 285 times at a total cost to the taxpayer of £0.00 in expenses, with an average cost of £0.00.
    During the same period Lord Swarj Paul attended parliament 1047 times at a cost to the taxpayer of £281,263 in expenses. The average cost per visit was £268.64 and in 2008/9 this jumped to £405.58 per visit.

    While Lord Ashcroft was setting up the extremely successful Crimestoppers organisation, Lord Paul was raiding the pension funds of british steelworkers.


    Interesting indeed - I'll wager that if Lord Paul had been a Tory we'd have had an inquiry announced by now...

    I won't hold my breath for an explanation from Mandleson any time soon though, some of us are still waiting to hear about how he let Russian oligarchs buy influence at the EU parliament in relation to aluminium tariffs (another thing ignored by the BBC)

  • Comment number 63.

    Nick...Do you have any comment on Mandlesons' outburst outside No 10 when he accused the Tories of "stealing" the election?

    Is this what we should be hearing from members of the Upper House..or is it just fair game to smear your opposition?

  • Comment number 64.

    #43 Saga "Call an election? Be careful what you wish for. The CON poll lead is evaporating like a puddle in the hot desert sun. Looks like the electorate might be waking up, doesn't it?"

    It does indeed, Saga! Perhaps they've realised that the best thing to do is force Labour to face the complete shambles they have created, and prove conclusively (after the collapse of sterling, withdrawal of AAA status, etc) that they are totally incompetent. Then we can have another election in 6 months and the electorate can ditch Labour into the dustbin of history, once and for all!

    At which point, no doubt GB will be joining Lord Ashcroft in the upper chamber. Or perhaps going to Brussels to 'save the Euro'?

  • Comment number 65.

    nautonier,

    "Ashcroft is just one person and has committed no crime - what about the millions of illegals, BBC?"

    Only one Non Dom (name of Ashcroft) holds a massively influential position in British politics. Let's explore this issue - the one at hand - before going off on a tangent about illegal immigrants, shall we?

  • Comment number 66.

    Portcullis@55

    But still, don't you find it astonishing that the Tory lead in the polls is evaporating? It must be driving them to distraction. They couldn't ask for a more unpopular government, a less charismatic PM or a worse set of economic indicators against which to campaign. If they can't romp home this time, they never will.

    If they fail to win a majority, I wonder what the inevitable post mortem will blame? I reckon it's their dithering over the economy. They've changed their emphasis, if not their policy, several times. A lack of sure-footedness on the economy can cost a lot of votes. Will cost a lot of votes.

  • Comment number 67.

    #43 I refer you to my post 29 , you'll like it but not a lot

  • Comment number 68.

    So moderators - please explain what's what happened to my comments, posted some 40 minutes ago? Not even acknowledged on teh website at 12.39 hrs as 'awaiting moderation'..... Why the delay, please?
    PopChop

  • Comment number 69.

    Nick says ... Guess what? If the first secretary had done a quick Google search for the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee he would have found a written answer from a colleague who reported that it is the government - or more specifically the Cabinet Office - which has the relevant paperwork.

    Putting aside for one moment the fact that the HoL, as currently composed, is a gross affront to democracy and total disgrace for a developed world country I have also discovered some of the limits of Government use of IT.

    For example, when compiling the matrix of the 533 England Parliamentary Constituencies for the forthcoming Democracy England website, I could not find a simple linear list of these defined in any Government websites that I searched.

    I did find them on the Guardian website and somewhere else but they were both incomplete, and contained errors.

    In the end, I returned to the horses mouth so to speak, the Office of Public Sector Information, and downloaded and printed out the statutory document (https://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/uksi_20071681_en_1%29 and went through it by hand to identify these English constituencies.

    It does seem slightly amazing that this vital information on the composition of the Parliamentary Constituencies of England is not available from the Government in an easily read form - which it will be very shortly via the Democracy England website and possibly also via Google docs.

  • Comment number 70.

    port @ 55

    "The Bond and Currency Markets are also waking up."

    Recent events have taught us that the "markets" are clueless when it comes to pricing risk. I knew this already, of course, but by now we all should. That the markets prefer the Tories over Labour is very bad news for said Tories ... confirms their political reputation for economic incompetence. Like if you tell a joke and not only Cannon falls about laughing, but also Ball ... then you KNOW you're not funny, right? Well so it is with the Conservative Party and the bond markets.

  • Comment number 71.

    51. At 11:58am on 02 Mar 2010, scagiola wrote:

    Reading the comments here is a triumph of hope over experience, winnowing through mountains of dross in the hope of finding a small nugget of reasoned argument.

    Memo to Mark Thompson: One way to lighten the site and save a few pence on bandwidth and storage would be dropping commenting on the blogs. I'm quite happy to lose my sign-on.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Come off it - this is the first time that the real electorate have ever had some kind of say - and more people read this stuff now than watch some of the BBC's best documentaries

  • Comment number 72.

    jrp @ 57 wrote:
    Most sensible people would be happy to see an election called right now. The real question is, if Brown thinks things are going his way, why doesn't he go for it?


    >>

    That's like saying, if you think the boat is getting nearer the shore, why don't you jump on board now? You only jump if it's moving away.

  • Comment number 73.

    When will politicians realise that it is this sort of childishness fuelled by the media that puts people off politics in general.

    The economy is on the brink of bankruptcy, our public services are stretched at best with further cuts to come and we are fighting a war which many question our ability to win and our reasons for being there.

    What is the 2nd most senior minister doing - playing political games rather than talking policy and the political editor of the BBC is playing right into his hands - Don't get me wrong the tories are no better but Mandelson is the master.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    nee,

    "The tories are too wet to grab the issue by the ears for fear of being called the racist nasty party"

    In this, the Tories are right to be wet - because I think I can guess what you mean by "grab the issue by the ears" and decent minded people do not wish to see it.

    I don't have much against the Tories generally, come to think of it. If they were to stop prevaricating and were to come together around a set of clear thinking, progressive policies - placing the promotion of a more equal society at the very heart of their politics - then I'd consider voting for them. If they did a name change too, to something more suitable (the "New Socialist Radical Front", let's say) with a mandate for the Complete Levelling Of Wealth (in a) New Society - ugly phrase but you need to avoid any unfortunate acronyms - then I would vote for them. Too late for THIS election (sadly) but maybe in time, encouraged by a further spell or three or five in opposition, they will do the necessary. If they do, you may well find me doing a bit more than just voting for them, you may well find me out on the stump actively campaigning on their behalf ... vigorously campaigning, even ... you know, really giving it some.

  • Comment number 77.

    So Peter Mandelson is asking questions about the legitimacy of someone else to sit in the House of Lords?

    You really couldn't make it up, could you?

  • Comment number 78.

    Saga what planet are YOU on? Planet Cricklewood - sad.

    Practially ALL immigrants vote Labour. Wake up.

  • Comment number 79.

    58. Nautioner I am surrounded by (mostly) Asian immigrants here. I can tell you that I have NEVER met one (apart from the squatting illegal camping down nobody knows they are even here types) who has not got another property in this country which they let out AND a property in India.

    All right for some.

    And the do gooding, pc, liberal, Labour voting, naive types here come down on anybody like a ton of bricks for saying the truth. Now there's a case of discrimination - against the truth tellers, n'est pas?

  • Comment number 80.

    61. At 12:28pm on 02 Mar 2010, sagamix wrote:

    Nice backhanded way of calling me prejudiced but it say more about you than me.

    Jessy Jackson said as much on sky news on Sunday.

    That the immigrant vote is mostly Labour supporting but it it would be a mistake for Labour to see them as a block vote without attending to their needs.

    He is touring Britain trying to get that vote out.

    Can you guess why.

    You will be calling me a BNP supporter next in YOUR odious desperation.

    Imprisonment without trial anyone.

    Who did that ZaNULabour I seem to remember.

  • Comment number 81.

    "70. At 12:46pm on 02 Mar 2010, sagamix wrote:
    port @ 55

    "The Bond and Currency Markets are also waking up."

    Recent events have taught us that the "markets" are clueless when it comes to pricing risk. I knew this already, of course, but by now we all should."

    Unfortunately for you Sagamix, the markets will determine the rate at which the clueless buffoon Brown can borrow yet more money to fund his spending. Do you understand why this fact is important?

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    "That the markets prefer the Tories over Labour is very bad news for said Tories ... confirms their political reputation for economic incompetence."

    How in the blithering bejayzus do you work that out??

  • Comment number 84.

    "Only one Non Dom (name of Ashcroft) holds a massively influential position in British politics. Let's explore this issue - the one at hand - before going off on a tangent about illegal immigrants, shall we?"

    Only one Saga?

    You absolutely sure about that???

    Totally sure?

    Wouldnt like time to phone a friend?

    Or Ask The Audience?

  • Comment number 85.

    Nick

    Well done, you and the BBC have kept this the top news for two days now. With your help we'll keep those nasty Tories out. Keep up the good work!

    W

  • Comment number 86.

    pd65 72

    In your panic to get in what passes for a satirical comment, you missed (as you did also at 66) the main point that I was making. The relative slide in Tory fortunes in the opinion polls is made up, a fiction designed to appease the newspapers who, after all, pay for (most of) the polls. The reason why an election has not been called is that Brown knows this too.

    Bleating on about the polls, in the way that both you and sagamix have done today, merely exposes your ignorance. It has to be said, your effort to form sophisticated conclusions, based on near-arbitrary numbers from your favourite tabloid, as if those numbers were Great Truths, without you having even the slightest clue as to where they came from and how they were calculated, represents the pinnacle of naivity.

  • Comment number 87.

    56. At 12:18pm on 02 Mar 2010, IPGABP1 wrote:

    No42 Perry,
    Do you agree that we have a national and international economic system that is fundamentally corrupt and rotten to the core, and a parliament that is the most un-democratic amongst the OECD countries?( majority of British parliamentarians un-elected).
    If so do you think a change in personnel riding around in ministerial cars will make any significant difference to the wellbeing of the people either in the short or long term?

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Good Afternoon, Souter

    Do I agree? Well, I'm not 100% sure that I would put it quite so stridently... but, fundamentally, yes, I do think I agree.

    Do I think that a change of occupants of said ministerial vehicles... well, therein lies the rub.

    Under this current administration, I do find it very difficult to believe sometimes that anyone else could possibly make it worse.

    I suppose some of it depends on how you measure that wellbeing index for the wider populace. What tangible, measurable things do you have in mind as yardsticks, mate?

  • Comment number 88.

    sagamix 70

    You are too late, Britain is already in a double dip recession the figures this morning prove this. Not that we were ever truely out of recession anyway. There is no more stimulus or fiscal tools to be used unless Brown prints more money, a very dangerous thing to do at this point. It looks as though Britain will have a sterling crisis. The markets have already decided what they think about another Labour Government.

    The games up I am afraid. Even you need to start hoping Brown and Labour go soon, for all our sakes.

  • Comment number 89.

    sagamix 70

    Blimey, that is the shakiest account of international finance that I have heard yet! Congratulations to you, though, sagamix, you have, mostly unintentionally, provided quite a few laughs over the last year or so, but your Cannon and Ball theory of the relationship between politics and the markets is a new comedic high point for you.

  • Comment number 90.

    Is anyone surprised that there is no enquiry

    Labour are afterall just as unscrupulous about where their money comes from. Unsurprisingly they have their own Non Dom a certain lord Paul

    this fits a pattern where in the last 5years every scandal eg cash for honours, the expenses scandal now this NoN Dom thing and wealthy donors generally have seen both major parties implicated.

    As they have all lost their Mass memberships they have turned to a few wealthy donors who naturally want something in return and this corrupts politics in general


  • Comment number 91.

    Re #61 sagamix.
    You don't honestly believe that the majority of immigrants to the country are not or have not become Labour leaning, do you. Why else do you believe the Government let them in, if not to shore up their vote come 'squeaky bum' election time.
    Re # sagamix said ..."That the markets prefer the Tories over Labour is very bad news for said Tories ... confirms their political reputation for economic incompetence".

    Really not sure how you make that connection but I imagine you will enlighten us during this posting rally

  • Comment number 92.

    Peter Mandelson's call on the House of Lord Appointments Commission to hold an inquiry into the Ashcroft affair looks set to be turned down.
    I gasp. Are you kidding me?
    So, the Committee didn't exist when Ashcroft made the assurances. For what purpose do they think they exist NOW – because there is no problem? Is that how the UK Government operates
    1. establish a Committee
    2. make a problem to keep that Committee busy?
    You know what?
    I can “Google” & have no problem finding, which I did yesterday, the original letter from Lord Ashcroft on what he intended to do and when.
    So what does the Cabinet Office mean when it says it does not have the paperwork?
    a) There are no printers in the Cabinet Office or
    b) the evidence is no longer on hard-copy
    c) paper work has been buried so deep it would take too much time to find and very long shovels that the Cabinet Office is not prepared to requisition?

  • Comment number 93.

    Dear Nick, I apologise for my earlier post (#30) and as suggested am happy to clarify and re-submit:

    Peter Mandelson is a model of integrity with no interest whatsoever in pecuniary gain for himself and is driven only by an unswerving moral purpose. His pursuit of Lord Ashcroft is perfectly reasonable (although no law seems to have been broken) and is clearly driven by a desire to ensure the British people are not misled and are left with a clear and balanced choice at the next election. His unimpeachable moral standing should inspire us all and is matched only by that of your own and your noble employer: the BBC. With this perfect moral trinity working on our behalf we need fear no incursion from the terrible forces of conservatism. Thank you once again for bringing all this to our attention with your customarily matchless prose and wit.

  • Comment number 94.

    #61 but its true

  • Comment number 95.

    "If they can't romp home this time, they never will."

    A little harsh PD. They just need a leader rather than a used car salesman.

  • Comment number 96.

    #78, Flamethrower:

    "Practially ALL immigrants vote Labour."

    You do know that foreign nationals aren't allowed to vote in general elections, don't you?

  • Comment number 97.

    Aye, you're determined not to let this go are you Robinson?

    On the Politics page, we've got load of council jobs at risk, we've got Brown skipping PMQ's for a visit by Jacob Zuma, you've got support increasing for an English parliament.... and yet, you just cant get your teeth out of this particular bone, can you?

    Gahh. The rate you're going mate, you couldnt be trusted to be even handed enough to edit a sink estate school newsletter, let alone the charades around Westminster.

    FEEBLE.


    ========================================================================

    Perry

    I suggest people just google your name. It pops up on every tory blog in existence, regularly.

    Lord Ashcroft funds tory blogs. And activism.

    Your role on here is little more than why a lot of tory blog readers invade the BBC, Guardian, and any paper that dares to attack the tories when they do something wrong.

    Activists trying to dampen down "bad news" on their party

  • Comment number 98.

    Between 2001 -2008 Lord Ashcroft attended parliament 285 times at a total cost to the taxpayer of £0.00 in expenses, with an average cost of £0.00.
    During the same period Lord Swarj Paul attended parliament 1047 times at a cost to the taxpayer of £281,263 in expenses. The average cost per visit was £268.64 and in 2008/9 this jumped to £405.58 per visit

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Of course Lord Paul attended 5X as many sessions! He doesn't need to duck as much tax as Ashcroft!

    All of this "crimestoppers" rubbish is ripped straight off of the tory blogs that Ashcroft funs.

    A lot of this strange "impassioned" defence of Ashcroft on here is sadly tory bloggers, activists, and blog readers, defending their boss

  • Comment number 99.

    Let's have an enquiry into Mandleson first. How did he afford his London villa for a start. How this excuse for a human being was allowed back into politics is a disgrace. Sums up labour, take money from non doms then call anyone else that does.

  • Comment number 100.

    sagamix...

    returning to type, I see. A 'complete levelling of wealth' ...aka 'a complete return to the politics of envy'

    Same old loony left, then.

    And as for Mandleson 'butter wouldn't melt' it's a disgrace that soemone is giving money to the tories and they are planning to steal the election.

    I seriously look forward to all of this lot jumping on the airwaves before and election to remind us what a bunch of creeps they are.

    Call an eleciton.

 

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