Friday, May 15, 2009

Breaking News: Why On Earth Has Shahid Malik Resigned?

Having seen Mr Shahid Malik's interviews last night/early hours on Sky and this morning on BBC News 24 with Carrie 92k Gracie I must say I was surprised to hear that he is resigning as Justice Minister. His case appears to be seriously misrepresented. As Malik says he is tied or near tied with almost 500 MPs who are in the same ballpark, including as he points out repeatedly would-be Heir-to-Blair Dave Cameron.

An explanation is not long in coming.

It transpires that this is over the supposed "preferential" or "peppercorn" rent for his main home. If that accusation from the Telegraph were true, and if Malik's claim that he paid "market" rent were therefore incorrect, he would be in breach of a requirement to declare the tenancy and have it signed off by Sir Patrick Mower or some such. Update 13:12: The Permanant Secretary in the Justice Department would be the one.

If the rent is £400 a month then this sounds about right for a three-bedroom house in Dewsbury. The family Love rented such a house for £500 a month when between permanant addresses. Dare I say in a better M21 postcode. That was and is within the range of market rents.

BBC News 24 are now replaying parts of the Gracie interview. She asked him whether he had the same sort of TV as the one claimed for for his Second Home in his First Home. Malik said he thought he had an identical TV there, not bought with parliamentary expenses.

An unworthy thought did cross my mind at that point I must confess. "Could there have been something of a BOGOF going on there?" I wondered in the spur of the moment. Thank goodness it's not that.

LEGAL POINT: Seems to this non-lawyer that if Mr Malik is right and that claims of a concessionary or peppercorn rent are not true, that £400 or so is an in range market rent, then he of all those fingered so far will have by far and away the best case for action.

Unless we count Margaret Moron MP of course. Where's her dry rot litigation up to?

She's not suing and she's paid the money back you say? Well, fancy that.

UPDATE 12:15: There are a lot of details in the Telegraph piece that have not been repeated by the broadcast media. Crikey! Thank goodness for that! What they have said is bad enough.

UPDATE 12:20: In California apparently one can do a BOGOF on a town house/ranch combination. See flyer. Why is no-one doing that in the UK?


Anonymous said...

Its one thing claiming the costs for clearing your moat. It is another thing for claiming the costs for clearing a moat which does not exist. Malik falls into that second camp. Cameron owns a £1.5 million house so he can rightly claim that £20k+ cover interest on his mortgage. Malik bought a house in Peckham for £85k. How is it possible that it costs him the full £20k+ to live there?

benchilltory said...

given all the things that can be claimed on expenses makes you wonder whats left for them to spend their wages on!

Chris Paul said...

Cameron owns loads of property as does his wifey. Not quite sure why he needs a second home that's quite so luxurious actually. Isn't that one of the ground rules?

The basis of the Telegraph story as reported by the broadcast media seems to be the suggestion that Malik's main house is the one in London. And that doesn't really sound right.

That he should be in Dewsbury more seems reasonable to me. They'll have to show that that is not the case if they want to stand that part of the story up.

I think the suggestion that he's got a cheap house rent in Dewsbury because of having his office from the same landlord is potentially far more of a problem. As I've blogged. But the landlord's solicitor is insisting Malik's house rent is at the market rate.

85k doesn't buy a lot of house in Peckham in living memory. Perhaps a wreck needing 150k or 250k spending on it? Would that be it perhaps?