A few days ago Dizzy Thinks spotted an oddity in the expense claims of Hull North Labour MP Diana Johnson:
At the end of the detailed, albeit censored claims, provided on the Parliamentary website, is an invoice to the tune of £1,654 for “delivery of a leaflet in Hull North Constituency during September and October 2007″.
Looks legit doesn’t it? However there’s is an oddity about it. You see, there appears to be no such company as J W Shipley Distribution, either solvent or dissolved, listed on Companies House. An advanced search for all companies with “Shipley” also throws up nothing. Curious!
There is, however, an “independent” member of Humberside Police Authority called John Shipley who happens to be a local Labour Party activist in Hull, who also stood for the Labour Party in Hull during the 2002 elections.
I tried to contact Mr Shipley yesterday for confirmation that the invoice was from him but as yet have had no response.
So is a Labour MP claiming Parliamentary expenses to pay a Labour member to deliver leaflets? Well, although he may not have responded, I’ve been speaking to Liberal Democrats in Hull who confirm they personally saw Labour activist (and frequent election agent) John Shipley out delivering the leaflets in question.
Rum indeed. Investigations are, as they say, continuing…
Denis Healy is the Liberal Democrat candidate in Hull North.