Monday, 27 September 2010
No Smoke Without Fire
Mohammad Sarwar (pictured) was MP for Glasgow Central until he stood down at the last election. In the spirit of true nepotism his son Anas replaced him.
Some time ago Gordon Brown personally recommended a seat in the House of Lords for the former Glasgow Central MP. However, after consulting with HM Revenue and Customs, the Lords appointments committee initially refused to give the go-ahead to the ennoblement for undisclosed reasons.
This is embarrassing for not only Mr Brown and Mr Sarwar but also for the Labour party.
Mr Sarwar admitted the taxman had highlighted some problems but stressed these had been satisfactorily dealt with. "Every issue has been resolved so (HMRC) doesn't have any objection to my nomination," he stated and further explained that the tax authority had subsequently written to the commission 'lifting their objections'.
The ex-MP is no stranger to controversy. Soon after his election in 1997 he was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party over allegations of bribing political opponents and stood trial for fraud. He was acquitted. He is reported to be worth around £16 million and lived like a millionaire when an MP. His London house was a £600,000 apartment in an exclusive block in Vauxhall, south London, just over the river from the Houses of Parliament. He claimed almost £2,000 every month for the interest on his mortgage and also claimed more than £3,000 for ground rent and service charges every year as well as around £1,500 for council tax and hundred of pounds for home phone bills that included calls to Pakistan. His mortgage was paid from a UK branch of the Swiss-based Habib Bank AG Zurich.
His total expenses claim for 2008 was £174,772 but he turned up for only 55% of votes, spoke in only nine debates and asked 55 parliamentary questions.
The 'issues' involving Mr Sarwar's tax must have been serious because the HMRC would not normally cause disruption within the Establishment. All seems hunky-dory now though and soon we'll be seeing Lord Sarwar of IWouldNeverFiddleMyTaxes - bedecked in ermine - adorning the front pages.