Three Times Articles on Bercow and Vaz 11 Feb 2017

Here are three articles from the Times which illustrate the dubious nature of the double act Bercow and Vaz or is it Vaz and Bercow?

It exposes amongst other things that the Bercow had much donated to him from chums of Dodgy Vaz. [but not so far any industrial washing machines :)]

This of course adds to my own post on their Right Dodgynesses and FOI Requests, Bercow and Vaz Personal / Private Conflicts of Interest  [4], where there is information on how to make a complaint.

2017 Feb 11 Times Bercow blocked Vaz revelations after accepting poll donations [1]

John Bercow stopped the Commons being warned about police inquiries into Keith Vaz after accepting tens of thousands of pounds from the MP’s associates.

The Speaker, who is required to be scrupulously fair as chairman of the lower house, took the gifts to help him to hold on to his parliamentary seat at the general elections in 2010 and 2015.

The Times used the Freedom of Information Act to request details of all Mr Vaz’s communications with the Speaker’s office but Mr Bercow forbade any material to be disclosed. He signed a formal certificate presented to Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s information commissioner, saying that to hand anything over would “prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs”.

However, he has recently made decisions that may be seen as helpful to the Leicester East MP, raising concerns of a potential conflict of interest.

When the Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen privately alerted the Speaker in September 2015 about allegations being made to police, Mr Bercow declined to ask Mr Vaz to quit as chairman of the influential home affairs select committee. The Speaker also stopped Mr Bridgen from telling the Commons details about the police looking into an alleged abuse of public office by Mr Vaz.

The Labour MP’s role as the select committee chairman enabled him to question police chiefs. He resigned only after an unrelated scandal last year involving a sex party with two rent boys. Less than two months later MPs appointed Mr Vaz as a member of the justice committee, which scrutinises the director of public prosecutions. He remains under investigation by the Commons sleaze watchdog for damaging the reputation of the House.

The contributors had every right to give Mr Bercow donations. The Speaker broke no rules but his judgment may be called into question.

The Speaker is traditionally returned unopposed at general elections but Nigel Farage and some independents stood against Mr Bercow in his Buckingham seat in 2010. Ukip did so again in 2015. The Times has now discovered that most of the gifts accepted by Mr Bercow to fund his re-election campaigns came from associates of Mr Vaz.

When Narinder Chadha, chairman of the management board of Mr Vaz’s Silver Star charity, was asked about a £2,501 gift he gave Mr Bercow, he responded: “Who is John Bercow?” Informed that he was the Speaker, Mr Chadha said that Mr Vaz asked for the donation. Mr Vaz was entitled to encourage a donation to the Speaker.

Other donations include:

• £5,000 from the London College of Accountancy, founded by Ravi Gill, which also donates to Mr Vaz;

• £2,500 from Arjan and Jaya Vekaria. The late Mr Vekaria, a leading Hindu, was once singled out for praise by Mr Vaz in the Commons. Vascroft Holdings, in which Mr Vekaria was a shareholder, gave £3,500;

• £2,500 from the late Lord Noon, a Labour donor whose memorial tribute in the Commons was hosted by Mr Vaz;

• £2,500 from Lord Levy, Tony Blair’s fundraiser who, along with Mr Vaz, was named in controversies over donations from the Hinduja brothers and the steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal;

• £2,500 from Dreamsland, a business owned by Neeraj Patil and his wife. Dr Patil was encouraged by Mr Vaz to place a bust of an Indian statesman opposite the Commons. At an event organised by Mr Vaz, Dr Patil gave a statue of the historic figure to Mr Bercow. The doctor later gave a bust of Mr Bercow to the Speaker;

• £5,000 from Madhu’s, a restaurant chain run by Sanjay and Sanjeev Anand, friends of Mr Vaz and Mr Bercow. The Speaker first met Sanjay Anand at a competition co-founded by Mr Vaz for MPs’ favourite Indian restaurants;

• £7,500 from Sun Mark, founded by Rami Ranger, a businessman whose Dr Rami Ranger CBE Enterprise Lecture at South Bank University last year was given by Mr Vaz. Mr Bercow wrote the preface to Dr Ranger’s autobiography;

• £5,000 from Kishorkant Bhattessa, part of a movement that runs Hindu temples where Mr Vaz has been a guest;

• £2,500 from APX Autopart Express, whose directors included Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, who was presented with a business award at an event attended by Mr Vaz.

Of £58,000 raised for Mr Bercow’s campaigns, £41,000 came from donors who would have been familiar with Mr Vaz. Three gifts worth £7,500 from Mr Vaz’s associates were registered by the Speaker on one day in 2010. In the space of 11 days in November 2014, Mr Bercow received £17,500 from five sources who would have been known to the MP.

Apart from Mr Chadha, the other donors who responded to The Times said that they knew Mr Bercow and denied that their gifts were influenced or solicited by Mr Vaz.

Mr Bercow’s friendship with Mr Vaz has been looking increasingly unwise. On the day after a Sunday newspaper revealed details of Mr Vaz’s sex party, Mr Bercow called on him in the Commons to speak. The Speaker squeezed Mr Vaz’s wrist and gave him a pat on the back. Police cleared Mr Vaz of criminality over the orgy.

When Labour nominated Mr Vaz for the justice committee, Mr Bridgen tried to alert the House about the Leicestershire police issue. Mr Bridgen launched into a speech about police examining claims that Mr Vaz may have “abused his position in public office” but Mr Bercow twice interrupted him. From the Speaker’s chair, Mr Bercow defended his own refusal to act on the previous tip-off. He said it was “not for the Speaker of this House to persuade someone to step down as the chair of a committee because of suspicions that some people might have”.

Mr Vaz has said he knew of no investigation.

When an MP asked Mr Bercow to publish his letters with Mr Bridgen, the Speaker declined, saying: “There is no uncertainty or dubiety whatsoever about the correspondence.”

Mr Bercow found himself in an unprecedented situation, being advised that police had heard a complaint about a committee chairman. There was no obligation on the Speaker to act.

Mr Bercow told The Times that all the donors were known to him and he had met them all in a variety of settings and on a number of occasions.

Mr Vaz said members of the Asian community contributed to the election campaigns of MPs including Mr Bercow who were admired because of their commitment to diversity.

Edited transcript

The Times “Did you donate money to John Bercow in 2010?”

Narinder Singh Chadha, former chairman of the management board of Keith Vaz’s diabetes charity “Who is John Bercow?”

The Times “The Speaker.”

Narinder Chadha “Yes. He, Keith Vaz, said you know we need to make some money or something so for the . . . who is he . . . is the House of what?”

The Times “And you paid that money because Keith Vaz asked you to? Why did he ask you to pay for it? Why did he ask you to donate to John Bercow?”

Narinder Chadha “He normally asks for Labour party things like that so just for the party sake or something. He asks me so I just gave him.”

The Times “I know it was a long time ago. Did he tell you any more about why he wanted you to do it?”

Narinder Chadha “No, he says it’s for the Labour party, for the Labour Party.”

The Times “Are you a member of Labour party?”

Narinder Chadha “No.”

2017 Feb 11 Times One more thing — I’m not Columbo, says Speaker [3]

The Speaker interrupted an MP trying to tell the House of Commons about police looking into Keith Vaz.

The confrontation happened after Mr Vaz resigned from the chairmanship of the home affairs committee because of a rent-boy scandal. Labour then nominated Mr Vaz to sit on the justice committee.

The Conservative Andrew Bridgen sought to warn the Commons why Mr Vaz might be unsuitable. He said he would try to limit his remarks to matters in the public domain and invited the Speaker to correct him.

“It has been stated that four witnesses have confirmed that they were recently interviewed by Leicestershire police and that their inquiries have been going on for at least a year,” Mr Bridgen said. “Those inquiries concern allegations that [Mr Vaz] abused his position in public office . . .”

The Speaker ordered Mr Bridgen to sit, complaining that he was trying to speak about events that were not in the public domain. “I have consulted on the matter,” Mr Bercow said.

Mr Bridgen stood again and said: “I have raised concerns with you about the conduct of [Mr Vaz] historically . . .”

Again the Speaker ordered Mr Bridgen to sit. “Let me say clearly to the honourable gentleman, and in terms that brook no contradiction, that he would be unwise to go into these matters.”

Mr Vaz has said he knows of no investigation into allegations about him.

Mr Bercow was asked by this newspaper why he declined to advise Mr Vaz to step down. He said he had received advice from the clerk of the House that this was the correct position.

A statement from the Speaker’s Office said: “The Speaker’s seven years’ experience in office and his professional adviser’s 40 years’ experience carry rather greater weight than your implication that the Speaker’s Office should operate in the manner of an episode of Diagnosis Murder — keeping order in the chamber by day and investigating alleged crimes by night.

“Although this is a pitch I may well make at some stage if I decide to go into the writing of daytime drama, the reality is that this is not how the role of the Speaker works.

“To be clear: the Speaker implements standing orders and chairs proceedings in the chamber; freestyling as Columbo at the request of a member on the basis of an unsubstantiated allegation is not part of the Speaker’s job description.”

The statement added, regarding donations: “Where precisely in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 does it say, ‘A candidate may not accept a donation from an otherwise eligible donor if that person has ever passed within half a mile of another member of parliament’?”

The Speaker’s Office said all the donors were “known to the Speaker who has met all of them in a variety of settings . . . Whatever relationships they have with other members of parliament are matters for them.”

Asked why he withheld the communications under freedom of information, the Speaker’s Office said: “It is important for the free exchange of views within the House, and the effective conduct of the House’s business, that [communications with MPs] should generally be kept confidential.”

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2017 Feb 11 Rich pickings from Asian VIP circuit  [2]

Keith Vaz has never been burdened by modesty about his role in British society. “I am a leading member, if not the leading member, of the Asian community in this country,” he has declared. Where there is an award ceremony, a charity function or a religious celebration, Mr Vaz is likely to be a guest of honour. There is little difficulty in persuading John Bercow to turn up at some of these gatherings too.

Picture the scene at the Sheraton Skyline hotel at Heathrow in 2014, where the pair were VIPs at the opening of a jet-set branch of the Indian restaurant Madhu’s. The Bite fashion magazine said: “From their speeches, the two guests revealed a long-term friendship with Sanjay Anand and his younger brother Sanjeev, chairman and managing director of the Madhu’s business.” Three months later, Madhu’s donated £5,000 to Mr Bercow’s campaign.

In the Commons Mr Vaz, the Leicester East MP, has described Madhu’s, which has donated £18,000 to Labour in hospitality and cash, as a “terrifically great restaurant”.

When Neeraj Patil, a doctor, proposed erecting a bust of the 12th-century Indian democrat Basaveshwara in view of the Palace of Westminster Mr Vaz voiced enthusiastic support. The two men have been allies. Mr Vaz campaigned for Dr Patil’s re-election as a councillor in the London borough of Lambeth, according to Indian media.

When the bust was unveiled by Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, in 2015, Dr Patil also presented Mr Bercow, 54, with a bust of the Speaker. A year earlier, the doctor’s business had donated £2,500 to Mr Bercow’s campaign. Dr Patil said: “Mr Keith Vaz has nothing to do with our donation to the Speaker.”

Many of the donors to the Speaker are part of Mr Vaz’s social whirl. The late Arjan Vekaria, who donated £2,500 in 2010 and whose business Vascroft Contractors gave £3,500 in 2015, was chairman of the Hindu Forum of Britain whose Diwali celebrations in parliament have been co-hosted by Mr Vaz and attended by Mr Bercow.

Mr Vekaria presented the Indian cricketer Kapil Dev with a prize for diversity awarded by Mr Vaz’s Next Step Foundation. Vascroft has also donated £20,000 to Labour.

The list continues. Narinder Singh Chadha, a Salford businessman who donated £2,501 to Mr Bercow’s campaign at Mr Vaz’s suggestion, was chairman of the management board of the Asian MP’s diabetes fund. Sukhpal Ahluwalia, a director of APX Autopart Express which donated £2,500 to Mr Bercow, won an Asian Achiever Award at a ceremony attended by Mr Vaz.

Mr Vaz hosted the Commons tribute to the late “curry king” Lord Noon, who gave £2,500 to Mr Bercow. Lord Noon, who gave hundreds of thousands of pounds to Labour, became enmeshed in a cash-for-honours scandal. Lord Noon said he had taken advice from Lord Levy, then Labour’s fundraiser. Mr Bercow received £2,500 from Lord Levy, who told The Times: “Keith Vaz had no role in encouraging this donation, nor did he provide any opportunity whatsoever to meet Mr Bercow.”

The London College of Accountancy (LCA) which donated £5,000 to Mr Bercow, was founded by Ravi Gill, who also created Anglia Ruskin University. Mr Vaz has been a guest lecturer at the university and received £10,000 as a gift from the college. LCA denied that Mr Vaz encouraged the donation, adding that Mr Gill had known Mr Bercow “personally for a number of years”.

Kishorkant Bhattessa, who donated £5,000 to Mr Bercow’s campaign, has been a trustee of a charity which runs Hindu temples including mandirs at Neasden and Leicester, both of which have honoured Mr Vaz at events.

Index of Newspaper and Journal articles on this blog [11]

Index of Court Appeals on this blog [12]

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.

  • The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.
  • National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups.
  • One in Four [C]
  • Havoca [D].
  • Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.
  • Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.
  • Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma  [J]
  • Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
  • Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area
  • A Prescription for me blog Various emotional support links [M]
  • ShatterBoys -“Male Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse Inspiring change, Through Shared Experience Whilst Building Connections…Together We Can Heal” [N]

Links

[1] 2017 Feb 11 Paywall Times Bercow blocked Vaz revelations after accepting poll donations http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bercow-blocked-vaz-revelations-after-accepting-poll-donations-gbs8ndr65

[2] 2017 Feb 11 Paywall Times Rich pickings from Asian VIP circuit http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rich-pickings-from-asian-vip-circuit-gtrw0b30q

[3] 2017 Feb 11 Paywall Times One more thing — I’m not Columbo, says Speaker http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/one-more-thing-i-m-not-columbo-says-speaker-kwxvgg29k

[4] 2017 Feb 2 Cathy Fox Blog Bercow and Vaz Personal / Private Conflicts of Interest https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/bercow-and-vaz-personal-private-conflicts-of-interest/

[11] Index of Newspaper and Journal articles on this blog https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/newspaper-stories-index-timeline/

[12] Index of Court Appeals EWCA on this blog https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/a-timeline-of-court-and-ewca-documentation-on-cathy-fox-blog/

[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html

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About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
This entry was posted in #OpDeathEaters, cathy fox blog, Child Abuse, Child sexual abuse, Leicestershire, Politicians, VIPs MPs Lords etc, Westminster and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Three Times Articles on Bercow and Vaz 11 Feb 2017

  1. Pingback: Keith Vaz, Charities, Friends etc (Updated) | goodnessandharmony

  2. Pingback: Bercow, Vaz and Farter Cuck | cathy fox blog on child abuse

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