Thursday, 4 February 2010

Paul Rowen - the MP with an office that doesn't exist?

The Rowengate expenses scandal won't go away.
Public money should always be accountable.

There are strict rules about the distinction between an MP's constituency office (paid for out of parliamentary expenses) and a local office of a political party. If there wasn't then public money could be used to fund party shenanigans, staff and outgoings. That would be against the strict parliamentary rules.

That is why there is now a clear distinction the postal addresses displayed on:

1. Paul Rowen MP's website (currently paid for by the Communications Allowance - supposedly for strictly non-political information)

2. The website of Rochdale Lib Dems.

The websites even go further - to make absolutely sure there is no mistaking the exclusive roles and seperate addresses of the current MP and this Rochdale Lib Dem party offices. Check the wording that clearly states "all at"...

Rochdale Lib Dems' website - "Published and Promoted by Adam Power on behalf of Rochdale Liberal Democrats, all at 144, Drake Street, Rochdale, OL16 1PS"

Paul Rowen MP's website - "Published by Adam Power on behalf of Paul Rowen, all at 142a, Drake Street, Rochdale, OL16 1PS"

So Adam Power is
"all at" 142a Drake Street

and "all at" 144 Drake Street.

At this building, there is a front door and a side door. If there was a back door would that be 142b Drake Street? We could never condone such back door shenanigans if public money is involved.

Paul Rowen is extremely sensitive on questions and comments about party funding and the use of his (our) Parliamentary expenses. He threatened the Rochdale Observer with libel last year.

We said back then his threats were "bollocks".

As a matter of public impotance, Paul Rowen must explain why his office doesn't seem to exist.

Land Registry property searches can be done online. All you need is a postcode- eg "OL16 1PS".

The Registered Land Title list is clear. There is a 144 Drake Street but no 142 or 142a.

How does that work?
Why is 142a Drake Street not listed?
Isn't there a seperate lease for the MP constituency office? Seperate council tax? Seperate accounts?

Or is there an internal back door of the Lib Dem office 144 Drake Street that Adam uses to enter Paul's office - known as "142a" ?

How very odd.

Accounts for the Rochdale Lib Dem accounting unit are patchy. Only 2 years of accounts have been lodged with the Electoral Commission for the last 5 years.

The Rochdale Lib Dem accounts ending the period 31/12/2005 give details of office rental and funding arrangements.

The accounts show the Treasurer as Cllr Dale Mulgrew and the Chair as Cllr Peter Clegg.
The wording is clear:


Income in the year increased as a result of part of our headquarters now being rented as an office suite to the new MP.


Expenditure in the year increased due to the new leasing circumstances introduced as an outcome of the general election victory. The party now pays rent that previously had been donated as a gift in kind from the company that owns the building.

As Rochdale's MP, Paul Rowen has claimed his office expenses from his Staffing Allowance/Incidental Expenses Allowance. The claim forms clearly document regular paid invoices of almost £2000 every 3 months for "Rochdale Reform Buildings".

Rochdale Reform Buildings Ltd - Is this the "landlord" that Dale Mulgrew's 2005 accounts state that "the party" now pays rent to? A rent that was previously a "gift in kind"? A reason Dale Mulgrew confirmed why party income had increased as a result of the party's HQ now renting a suite of offices to the MP?

"142a Drake Street" - an address that isn't listed with the Land Registry?

Is public cash paying for Paul Rowen's MP office that pays rent to a company that then donates the money back to the Rochdale Lib Dems?


As Dale's dad, Jimmidy Cricket might say... "there's more"...
The 2005 that Dale prepared as Treasurer mention Rochdale Lib Dem staffing costs, income and expenditure...


There were no salaries to be included because the local MP through his parliamentary allowance now covers all such overheads.

Staff for both 142a AND 144 Drake Street?



Anonymous said...

If this is true then Rowen is screwed.

Any bets on Paul stepping down for health/personal reasons?

But who could take over at short notice?

Dale Mulgrew looks to come out clean on this expenses sleeze - it was his full, frank and honest report of accounts lodged with the Electoral Commission that brought this to light.

Dale Mulgrew - Rochdale's next Lib Dem parliamentary candidate?

too many cooks? said...

Where are the accounts for 2006,2007,2008 and 2009?

Obviously "finance boss" and local successful businessman Cllr Greg Couzens mustn't have anything to do with this huge black hole in Rochdale Lib Dem party finance accounting.

Rather than a hairdresser, perhaps their books have had the services of a cook?

where has our money gone? said...

Have just taken a look at Pau Rowen's Parliamentary IEP claims for 2006/07

Pages 11 and 12 give details of a successful claim for January 2007.

At page 11, the Fees Office paid £1893.71 regarding "Rochdale Reform" [Buildings Limited?]

At page 12 is a redacted invoice - not from "Rochdale Reform" but from "Rochdale Liberal Democrat" [Party?]

It is for the same £1893.71.

There is a breakdown:

1st Aug - 31st October (3 calendar months) £1625.

That totals £6500 a year in claimed rent.

The Jan 07 claim also includes an additional £268.71 for "additional utility charges"...

gas, electric, telephone, council tax...

hang on? COUNCIL TAX?

...was this an official dwelling (more than Mr Hennigan sleeping on the office floor after a hard day/evening)?

or is this an incorrect reference to BUSINESS RATES?

x-files said...

142 Drake Street exists - it is the premises of A E Taylor Insurance Services.

It is unregistered land.

Freehold? or leased by Rochdale Refrom Buildings Ltd?

But just what/who is Rochdale Reform Buildings Ltd?

Who benefits from any profits?

Keep digging - the truth is out there.

R.P. McvMurphy said...

I see that Heineken is on Rochdale On-Whine banging on about the Observer and in an obvious and shallow attempt to wedge his tonge as high as he can between Porno's bum-cheeks, he predicts 'the death of newsprint' as the Mirror Group threaten to take over the Ob.

Looks like the LibDems have fallen out big-style with the Ob which was once a LibDem wank-mag.