SHOCKER! It appears ‘jumping on the gravy train’ whilst the world is burning behind you runs in the family…
If Hazel Blears’ behaviour last year over her parliamentary expenses was “totally unacceptable” (in the words of the Prime Minister) then this latest scandal will blow your hospital gown off. The Salford Star has today discovered a rather disturbing truth about her solicitor husband, Michael Halsall.
In 2007 he joined the board of the hospital trust which runs Salford Royal as a non-executive director, one of eight “voluntary positions”. The hospital re-recruits members of the public every three years and often places adverts in local newspapers for the role. Each member receives over £13,000 a year in so called “expenses” – amounting to nearly £80k during his time on the board.
Interestingly Mr Halsall has apparently “nothing to declare” as a possible conflict of interest in the board’s Register of Interests which indicates unlike his wife he is not a member of the Labour Party, less the key fact that at the time Blears was a senior government minister and was able to benefit from her parliamentary expenses. Halsall has also failed to declare he is an employee of another local authority – Stockport.
This is the same board of directors Hazel Blears claims is responsible for taking a “local decision” by closing Salford’s only maternity ward and which has just announced at least 750 job losses. The local NHS trust (in bed with central government – literally!) have enforced cuts, closures, redundancies, PFI schemes and the controversial foundation status.
Is it any wonder the hospital is in trouble when the people who run it have been dipping in the till?!
In depth report at:
On the day Gordon Brown officially declared the General Election will take place on May 6th, our candidate (David Henry) for the newly created constituency of Salford and Eccles launches his campaign blog.
David will be standing with electoral support from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (T.U.S.C) under the banner of “Hazel Must Go” – the socialist alternative to the Blairite, war-warmongering, bank-bailing New Labour candidate Hazel Blears.
Keep reading both this site as well as David’s blog for all the latest news and articles as we support him on the campaign trail…
This evening the people of Salford will be able to select an alternative parliamentary candidate to challenge Hazel Blears at the next General Election, backed by this campaign.
Since November we have called on ordinary, local people to come forward and put their names on the list. We’ve had quite a lot of interest, but as you can understand running for parliament in one of the most closely contended seats in the country is no easy task.
We are pleased to announce Alec McFadden, Rachel Cavendish and David Henry will be speaking at a public meeting this evening – putting the voices of the people of Salford & Eccles back on the agenda.
The meeting will start at 7pm, Thursday 4th Jan 2010 at the Old Pint Pot Pub, off Salford Crescent.
For more information see out Facebook Event page
Local residents in Salford have referred Hazel Blears recent Parliamentary expenses claims to the Metropolitan Police.
Following new information on MP’s expenses claims, community activists from the Hazel Must Go campaign have requested Hazel Blears MP be subject to a criminal investigation. The Metropolitan Police are expected to look into the allegations.
The Metropolitan Police Cheif Sir Paul Stephenson vowed to target more politicians involved in the scandal. Sir Paul reassured concerned members of the public that any information received would be passed directly to prosecutors “as soon as possible”. Blears is not the only member of parliament to be investigated, however John Bercow MP (speaker of House of Commons) told the BBC in November that Hazel Blears is certainly “one of those who still has many questions to answer”.
Viewers of a recent BBC Panorama programme will be aware of how Hazel Blears has refused to answer questions about her Parliamentary expense claims. Following the House of Commons revelation of the ACA expense claims of all MPs for the expenses year 2008-09 ‘Hazel Must Go!’ believes that those who have the authority to demand answers should now call in Mrs. Blears for questioning.
Hazel Must Go Spokesperson Steve North commented: “We’re at a loss to understand why Hazel hasn’t already been deselected as a Labour candidate. Our campaign has concentrated on identifying why we believe Hazel is unfit to be Salford’s MP … but we’re now very concerned about the possible implications of Hazel’s expense claims.”
On the detail of their letter to the Metropolitan Police Steve’s colleague David Henry remarked: “We’re worried that Hazel’s expense claims are not entirely correct and have offered observations and comments to the police which we anticipate will trigger a formal investigation. Just as child or housing benefit claimants do not receive taxpayer’s money without appropriate checks we do not believe MPs should be receiving taxpayer’s money without validation. All MPs sign their expense claim forms to the effect they have incurred their claimed expenses.”
Sir Thomas Legg in “ACA Review The Reviews Approach to the ACA Rules” wrote: “Tthe practice of the Fees Office before 2008-09 of not requiring receipts for a variety of expenditures less than £250 a month (£400 in the case of food) has been accepted for the purposes of the Review. However, where subsequent claims or other evidence suggest that such earlier payments may have been materially incorrect, the Review will request evidence to substantiate the earlier payments.”
Hazel Blears is merely one of a number of MPs who must now be required to substantiate their unreceipted expense claims.
In June 2009 members of the Hazel Must Go Campaign attempted to perform a Citizen Arrest on her under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 outside a during a vibrant and vocal protest outside a Labour Party de-selection meeting. Greater Manchester Police claimed they did not have enough evidence at the time to peruse the matter and the alleged fraudulent activity had taken place outside their jurisdiction in Westminster.
We have requested that Hazel Blears now be subject to a formal criminal investigation.
For more information contact Steven North (Secretary)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone: 07817 434 240
To see the full size article click here
Salford Advertiser: “Group to Run Against Hazel” (November 5th 2009)
By Pamela Welsh
CAMPAIGNERS hoping to oust Salford MP Hazel Blears from her seat say they will put another candidate up against her.
The Hazel Must Go campaign had issued the Salford MP with an ultimatum to resign her seat before Halloween or they would field another candidate against her. But at a public meeting on Monday, November 2nd they said she had not stood down and signalled their intention to put a local candidate against her. Campaign secretary Steve North said: “We are making an announcement that we are going to be looking for a candidate to stand against Hazel Blears at the next election. “We issued her with an ultimatum that if she did not stand down by the Halloween deadline, we would put someone up against her. “She emailed the campaign on Friday to tell us that she had no intention of standing down so the campaign begins now.” The group made the call at a meeting last month, which featured journalist-turned-politician Martin Bell.
The Hazel Must Go campaign, a coalition of left-wing activists and residents, was formed in response to the row over MPs expenses this summer. Ms Blears survived a vote of confidence from her local Labour party in June. Monday’s meeting took place outside the former Adelphi Post Office which closed last year. Steve said: “We chose to have the announcement here because we feel it is indicative of Hazel’s failures. “A lot of people thought our campaign was solely about expenses but it is more about Hazel’s voting record.” She voted for a programme of post office closures in Parliament despite saying she would fight against the Adelphi closure.” He continued: “The campaign begins now. “We are looking for a candidate who wants to stand up for the people of Salford. “We’ll be out everywhere campaigning, canvassing and doorknocking.
Find out for yourself how Hazel has voted to comdemn thousands of Post Offices to closure – including several in Salford – Check out her voting record on Post Office Closures (PublicWhip)
Back in September Martin Bell told Salford he hopes the city finds “local heroes” willing to run at the next general election. He confirmed he will stand aside and allow them to come for in a race which he predicted will see Hazel Blears “Challenged – like she has never been challenged before (Videos)”.