Friday, 29 May 2009

Rowengate: Parliamentary Passes- BOGOFF offer?

How many people are paid by the £88,468 Parliamentary staffing allowances claimed by current Rochdale MP Paul Rowen?


"BOGOFF" seems to be the reply when constituents ask politely.

The Public Whip also suggests Paul is "ambiguous" on the whole issue of transparency of expenses. Very slow in his motions with multiple no-shows to vote the Bill through - but a canny jump on the bandwagon when the MP's expenses “sheet heet da fan” last month.

Paul Rowen appears confused about how many people work for him.

Curiously, an article that made references to staffing numbers on Rochdale Online, published on April Fool's Day, has now disappeared. Instead is a new article published this month.

And Paul Rowen's website (paid for by taxpayer's) now appears to have airbrushed out past descriptions of his staff and bulging casework mailsacks.

However, the Rochdale Observer doesn't seem to meddle as much with its internet content.
On 4th April Paul Rowen gave an account of his staffing levels:

"My expenses have risen because I have taken on two extra part-time workers to cope with demand. I employ a researcher in London and three full-time and two part-time staff at my office in Drake Street."

So there we have it. Clear as mud.

RAW asked about Paul Rowen's staffing levels late last year.

We now know that the new Mayoress, Sue Etchells, has been described by Paul as his "PA".

Dave Hennigan describes himself as Paul's "Agent" and that Rochdale Lib Dem councillors refused to pay him any longer out of their contributions of taxpayer funded council "allowances".

So those are two full-timers at Drake Steet that can be accounted for. Just how much more money Dave gets than Sue isn't certain. It is rumoured that the amount Paul [sic] pays (we pay) for Dave is "off the scale".

So who is, according to Paul Rowen, the third full-timer at Drake Street?

Surely not Adam Power? The International Lib Dem man of mystery? Paul catagorically denied that he employed Adam. He had to given that the Sergeant at Arms threatened to give him a right roasting because of Adam's cunning plan to tell the media that Tony Lloyd allegedly denied a quote attributed in the Mirror criticising Cyril Smith.

The cunning plan backfired. Former asbestos worker Tony Lloyd MP DID openly criticise Cyril Smith. The Mirror got a BOGOFF with not one, but two national articles exposing Cyril Smith's unrepentant and shameful attitude toward dying asbestos cancer victims.

Adam Power was given a special mention by Kevin Maguire. Like a true leader, Paul Rowen denied any involvement with "Adam Who"? Despite poor Adam telling his MySpace chums that he was an "intern for an MP".

Paul Rowen MP with Adam Power launching the survey

Adam's writing skills haven't improved much despite a chunky Parliamentary communications allowance (£10,324 this year) being claimed by "Million Pound Paul". The Rochdale LibDems website "published and promoted" by Adam Power still describes the office as being on "Drake Strett". A current political poll aimed at criticising the Labour PPC isn't going well for Paul -despite Adam's cute spelling mistakes:

[quote] "Do you agree with the Labour Parliamentary Candidate's view that we should holt our much needed town centre redevelopment plans?

("Halt" not "Holt" Adam- that's 6 'stingers' and a wet sponge for you young man!)


Paul Rowen also received £6000 of taxpayers cash for a £15,000 envelope stuffing machine for his Drake Strett office. Is that any way to describe poor Master Power?

So, who are the pair of Rochdale part-timers?

Former "conviction" politician John Hayworth?

John Swarbrick? The "scruffy old man" seen loitering with a cunningly disguised Adam Power taking photographs of mysterious grafitti at Rochdale Labour Party HQ?

The same photos that mysteriously appeared on Dave Ottewell's blog? Is this a good use of taxpayer's money from Parliamentary staffing allowances?

Similar shenanighans with "persons unknown" hacking into to Rochdale DLP's open door website and changing the photo of Gordon Browen with one of the Milliband's during the 2008 Labour Conference? Dave Hennighan then boasting of the triumph of a coloumn inch in the Daily Express about it? Is this yet another example of taxpayer's money being spent wisely on Mr Rowen's Rochdale constituency office?

So Paul Rowen's Rochdale staff remain named, even though we are paying for them.

However, something very curious is going on in Westminster.

Paul suggested to the Observer that he had ONE "researcher" at Westminster.

One, Uno, Une, Eine, 1.

But, according to the Parliament Publications, Paul Rowen has TWO employed by him in Westminster.


How can Paul Rowen be that forgetful? Is that why recent statements about his staffing levels have curiously BOGOFFed from parts of the internet?

To remind forgetful Paul - his TWO Westminster "research" staff are named:

Alex Webster and... "Edward Lord"

Is that Charles Edward Lord?

Paul Rowen's "good friend" ?

Yet Paul Rowen told the Obby he had only ONE Westminster researcher?

But have TWO staff Parliamentary passes been issued? Double bouble!

If we delve further, will we be told to "BOGOFF"?


Chris Paul said...

Four or five staff, full and part time in Rochdale, plus two in Westminster? All for £88,000? Rowen must drive some very hard bargains, particularly if Henn is "off the scale" at around £40k (according to him). That leaves 48k for SIX others.

Is PR Paul, or should that be HR Paul?, even paying the minimum wage to some of these poor people. And didn't Swarbrick leave the employ of Sheiky bagman and Oldham and Saddleworth PPC Elwyn Watkins over being paid too little?

Mysterious really that since 2005 there have been no donations whatsoever recorded by the party, or additional members interests owned up to, and no accounts submitted from the local party either.

Can they really have fallen below the £25,000 annual turnover if they have wages to pay; and £9,000 to pay on a stuffer; and prodigious amounts of print to do their bit for the forestry business; and morning after deodorant for party animal Henn and his flea pit bedding?

Though the last accounts did reveal quite a lot about PR Paul's dodgy tenancy arrangements.

This envelope stuffer? Did it really cost £15,000?

And how many Focus leaflets has Rowen subsidised at £700 a pop?

And has Chris Davies MEP made any political donations in Paul's direction, using up his ill-gotten travel allowances?

And about that Spotland hoarding ... why did PR Paul claim to be paying it out of his own pocket if the taxpayer picked up the tab?

Clearly PR Paul is building a property portfolio with his pricey Battersea flat - John Leech got one for less than half the price, is this yet another PR BOGOF?

But is it going to turn out that the bigger Lib Dem disease will be covert fundraising for political parties and political workers and political leaflets and political hoardings and political stuffers and so on and so forth?

Is that better than personal greed? Is it even different from personal greed? "No" and "No" for my money. Basically it's using taxpayers' money to try to ensure Rowen and his creepy cohorts can "go round again" and take another £1 million plus from the public.

Lib Dems are essentially apolitical if you ask me. No politics, just opportunism. And insofar as we can believe their claims of prodigious hours worked - much of this in hostelries and bars we fear - the larger part of this time is about self preservation and repeating the sinecure for another four years.

PR Paul is musing about recall elections. Let him be the first to call himself out./ he's been a bloody useless MP. Let down on property developers, let down on the Town Centre, let down on asbestos, let down on Gaza, let down on expenses transparency.

Let down all round. Let's have this troughing Hogg recalled, now. Bog Off PR Paul your time is up.

Get Real said...

with Paul Rowen bragging he 'works' 80 - 100 hour weeks, what other unhealthy work practices does he condone?

With the biggest piece of the Parliamentary staff expenses being hoovered up by Speckled Henn then are Paul's other little helpers on close to Minimum wage? (or well under if they are "encouraged" to work a little overtime for the love of it?)

Do any of Paul Rowen's staff claim any income support or benefits to top up their wages?

Have there been any "cash in hand" payments?

Work hours far beyond the Working Time Directive? Low pay? Bullying, substance abuse, stress and tantrums? Very unequal pay scales between staff? Could any of the above ever happen in the office of an MP with minor responsibilities to shadow the deputy DWP Minister?

As for financial shenanighans with political expenses to bolster party political powerbases- those fluffy Fib Dems lead the field. It id very sinister. The tactics would be replicated by the BNP -God forbid- if those twats ever got Euro Parliament seats.

Anonymous said...

Edward Lord? Isn't he an ex Tory bruiser who was caught up in an emails smear campaign scandal a few years back?

Why would Rowen want to employ such a nasty piece of work?

Anonymous said...

from this month Dave Hennigan will have to be paid on the books from Westminster.

Could he afford to be so accountable - in all sorts of ways?

Some local Lib Dems see Dave as a liability others see him as a saviour that is keeping a damaged Paul Rowen afloat.

So thanks to "Marmite Dave" Paul Rowen remains a floater!