Saturday, 4 February 2017

Big Money Politics

The Times reports on an extraordinary arrangement involving the Labour MP Barry Gardiner, a member of Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet.

Apparently, MR Gardiner has received more that £180,000 in staff costs from a law firm with close links to the Chinese state which is baffling since all MPs receive generous support from public funds to employ staff with many choosing to recruit members of their own families.

Not just that, but Mr Gardiner has also been employing the son of the law' firm's founder, Christine Lee which doesn't look too clever and drew the following response from Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the committee on standards in public life who said:

“It is very bizarre and there are clearly questions to be answered. You lay yourself open to the charge that you have got too familiar with one of the key players in an area where you are supposed to be representing the wider public interest.”

Exactly so and just like the donations from the big Labour affiliated trade unions such as Unite, union bosses expect a 'return' for their money.

China cash link to Labour MP

£180,000 fund for pro-Beijing shadow minister

By Oliver Wright, Hannah McGrath - The Times

Barry Gardiner with Christine Lee in 2014. Her law firm has funded staff costs for the shadow international trade secretary since 2015 and her son works in his parliamentary office

A shadow minister is being funded by a law firm with links to the Chinese state, an investigation by The Times has established.

Barry Gardiner, shadow international trade secretary, has received more than £180,000 in staff costs from the firm that acts as chief legal adviser to the Chinese embassy.

At the same time Mr Gardiner, 59, has been employing the son of the firm’s founder in his Westminster office. Parliamentary records show that the donations partly fund the son’s salary.

Mr Gardiner has generally taken a pro-Beijing stance in his shadow portfolios. In his previous role as shadow energy secretary, he supported Chinese involvement in Britain’s nuclear power industry. He has spoken out strongly in favour of the Hinkley Point power station, which is being built in financial partnership with a Chinese state energy giant.