A little kerfuffle with the justice minister in the UK Hat tip Jdamn and Infidel Bloggers
Please do scroll down to the video at the bottom and have a look at this fellows political ambitions.
UK: “Minister Of Justice” Shahid Malik Forced To Resign
Shahid Malik has stepped down as Justice Minister following the Telegraph’s disclosures over his expense claims.
By Robert Winnett and Gordon Rayner
Last Updated: 3:32PM BST 15 May 2009
The Labour MP for Dewsbury resigned from his post amid suspicions that his rental arrangements over his main home may have breached the Ministerial Code of Conduct.
The Telegraph revealed today that Mr Malik was paying well below the market rate for his constituency home in West Yorkshire, which he rents from a landlord who has a conviction for letting an uninhabitable property.
The Ministerial Code of Conduct states that members of the Government must not use their position to gain any financial advantage.
Gordon Brown has asked Sir Philip Mawer, the independent adviser on the ministerial code, to investigate whether Mr Malik’s arrangement with his landlord, Tahir Zaman, constitutes a breach of the code.
Mr Zaman told the Telegraph that Mr Malik paid him less than £100 per week in rent, saying that he charged more for another nearby property which was half the size.
Mr Malik is the first Government minister to resign in the wake of the Telegraph’s week-long investigation into MPs’ expenses.
Speaking earlier in the day from his home in Dewsbury, West Yorks, he insisted he was “as straight as they come” and blamed the controversy on the system of allowances being “in complete tatters”.
Since being elected in 2005, Mr Malik has claimed the maximum amount allowable for a second home, amounting to £66,827 over three years. Last year, he claimed £23,083 from the taxpayer for his London town house, equivalent to £443 per week. The Telegraph disclosed that the “main home” for which Mr Malik pays out of his own pocket – a three-bedroom house in his constituency of Dewsbury – has been secured at a discounted rent from Mr Zaman.
Mr Malik also rents a constituency office from Mr Zaman, who was fined for letting an “uninhabitable” house.
In an interview on Sky News Mr Malik pledged to donate £1,050 he claimed for a television to worthy local causes in his constituency.
“I will not be giving it to the authorities in Parliament because it is legitimately mine,” he said. “But as a gesture I am giving that to good causes in my constituency, and I think it will be appreciated by those who receive it.”
Asked why he needed to spend £730 on a massage chair, Mr Malik said it was a “legitimate expenditure” that he was allowed to make.
He said he went “one million per cent by the book” when he designated the house he rents in Dewsbury as his main home.
But he added: “The one thing I am clear about is that the rules are in complete tatters. I was a new MP. Everything I did, I asked before I did it because I didn’t want to be doing anything that was against the rules.”
But Mr Malik admitted that the stories about MPs’ expenses have had a negative impact on the UK’s democracy and politics.
“With hindsight, I think every MP in this country would have done things differently,” he said. “And for that collectively, on behalf of all MPs, of course I apologise.”
Mr Malik’s arrangement with his landlord means he pays below market rent for his main home while billing taxpayers thousands for his second home in London. His second home claims have included £2,600 for a home cinema system — which was cut in half by officials — and £65 for a court summons for not paying council tax.
Neither Mr Malik nor Mr Zaman would say last night whether they had signed a formal agreement for the lease of the constituency house, although Mr Zaman said the rent was below the market rate. The landlord’s wife said the house appeared to be occupied by a constituency worker during the week.
The case of Mr Malik’s expenses illustrates the potential problems of an MP being able to nominate what appears to be the family home as his second home, enabling him to claim tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money.
Gordon Brown’s spokesman stressed the expectation would be that Mr Malik would return to office if he was cleared and said no replacement was being appointed in the meantime. Sir Philip could report back within days.
Mr Brown’s spokesman said: “There have been accusations made in the past 24 hours against Shahid Malik, in particular that he received preferential rent on his main residence.
“Because that allegation would represent a potential financial benefit and that potential and alleged financial benefit was not declared as part of his ministerial declaration, this could represent a breach of the ministerial code.
“In the light of these accusations that have been made against Shahid Malik and the need for them to be properly investigated, the Prime Minister has asked the independent adviser, Sir Philip Mawer, to establish the facts of the matter as a matter of urgency and advise accordingly.”
Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, faced similar allegations after she was shown to have claimed her family home in Redditch as her second house.
However, the Home Secretary said she had always paid rent to her sister at a commercial rate.
As a minister, she also said she spent the majority of her time in London.
Mr Malik’s arrangements relating to his constituency home will also raise questions as to whether a minister could be beholden to a businessman who offers him discounted rent. Mr Zaman lives next door to Mr Malik’s home in Dewsbury. Mr Zaman and Mr Malik also have a rental agreement relating to the constituency office in a nearby shopping parade. Mr Malik claims for the cost of renting his office from parliamentary office allowances.
Yesterday, following a week of disclosures about MPs’ expenses by The Daily Telegraph, Elliot Morley, the former minister, was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party and Andrew Mackay lost his job as David Cameron’s aide.
Today, details of claims made by married MPs are disclosed. A former Cabinet minister is also exposed for over-claiming more than £8,000 on her mortgage.
Mr Malik bought a home in Peckham in 2001 for £85,000 — four years before he became an MP. After being elected to Parliament in 2005, he nominated the property as his “second home” and began claiming the maximum amount available in parliamentary expenses.
During the first year as an MP, he made 13 separate claims for different items of furniture or electrical appliances totalling more than £7,000. The fees office blocked several items and he eventually received £6,147. He also regularly claimed the maximum allowable £400 a month for food.
The most contentious item was a £2,600 home cinema system including a 40in flat-screen television. The fees office paid half, after initially rejecting the claim.
It blocked claims for a portable DVD player and an iPod during the same year.
The spending on the Peckham house continued during 2007-08, with 24 separate claims for furniture, decorating and electrical goods. These included a £671 fireplace, a leather daybed sofa and a £510 fitted wardrobe.
Mr Malik was also reimbursed for a £730 “massage chair”. Last night, the MP said he had a “back problem”.
The Justice Minister said he would repay the £65 he claimed for his non-payment of council tax courts summons.
In total, in three years, Mr Malik claimed £66,827 for the property – £18,173 less than the original cost of the house.
However, the spending on his “second” London home stands in stark contrast to the cut-price arrangements for his constituency property.
Mr Malik’s landlord last night told The Daily Telegraph: “He is definitely paying well under the market value rent.”
When asked if Mr Malik paid £100 a week, Mr Zaman said: “I’m renting [out] the next door [property], [it’s] half the size
of his property, they pay me more rent than what he’s paying me.”
In 2005 Mr Zaman pleaded guilty to letting a house to a family of five despite a council enforcement order classing building as “uninhabitable”.
He was fined £450 and ordered to pay £200 costs.
Mr Zaman receives more than £4,000 annually from Mr Malik in office rent. The money is funded from a separate system of parliamentary expenses.
The landlord’s wife who lives in a neighbouring property said that Mr Malik only used the property at weekends and a member of his staff stayed there during the week.
“He [Mr Malik] is a good friend and neighbour,” she said. “He comes here just at the weekends… Usually he comes here alone.”
Mrs Zaman said a constituency worker she knew only as Paul occupied the house during the week.
Yesterday, when asked whether someone stayed in the property during the week, Mr Malik would only say: “I am happy to confirm that I do not rent it out or derive any income from it.” Last night, in a statement issued by Mr Malik he strongly denied wrongdoing.
He said: “Dewsbury has been my home since 2004 when I moved there a year prior to becoming the MP. Overall I spend the majority of my time in Dewsbury because, although I spent half the week in London when Parliament is in session I spend most of recess at my main home in Dewsbury.
“The vast majority of my costs [on the London house] have gone on food, insurance, council tax, gas, electricity, security and mortgage interest.
“All these costs are regarded as basic essentials in terms of the ACA [expenses system].”
He also said his rejected claims had been a misunderstanding.
He said: “With hindsight of course I would have acted differently on these items but as a new MP, with a Green Book that was full of subjective rules and a guidance team that knew the limits for items, but chose not to share them with MPs, it was inevitable that almost every MP would have items questioned at some point.”
Job: junior minister at the Ministry of Justice
Here is another little video of the same MP explaining how he wants a Muslim UK