Regular visitors to Zelo Street may recall an item from March last year on the continuing troubles of Rochdale’s now former MP - and no longer Labour Party member - Simon Danczuk, this time over his taxpayer-funded London flat. Spanker had been claiming for his two youngest children to “routinely” stay with him at his London flat, and that flat does indeed have a second bedroom. But here a problem entered.
In October the previous year, Danczuk had posted a photo of Labour councillor John Blundell, who was apparently staying at his London flat, out for a meal with the then MP. There was also a photo from Blundell of food preparation in progress; the kitchen looked identical to the one in the estate agent blurb for Danczuk’s flat. Blundell then referred to Spanker as “Dear Landlord” in a note he had left for him.
Was Danczuk subletting part of his flat? If he was, Parliamentary expenses watchdog Ipsa would have had something to say about that. They might have a lot more to say after a most revealing Twitter exchange, some of which has now been deleted, but was screen shotted and made available to Zelo Street. The exchange features Labour councillor Danny Meredith, who represents Rochdale’s Balderstone and Kirkholt ward.
We can still see a taste of that discussion from Dave Hennigan’s claim “Of course @johnblundell993 knows that his sub letting of @SimonDanczuk flat was illegal”, to which Meredith replied dismissively “Keep dragging the old stories up lol”.
Meredith was more forthcoming on the now-deleted stuff. “Why attack @johnblundell993 and not @SimonDanczuk surely Simon must have known? He is the fraudulent one!” he asserted. And to the suggestion that both Blundell and Danczuk were in the wrong and should be investigated, he added “John was paying his way … Therefore Simon is the fraudulent one”. Paying his way? Could he be more specific?
He certainly could. Check out the relevant Tweet: “I know but that is Simon’s bidding as John was paying the rent”. That appears to be a bang to rights claim that something highly improper - indeed, doubly improper - has taken place involving Danczuk’s taxpayer-funded London flat. If Blundell was indeed subletting the flat’s second bedroom, that is bad enough, but if Danczuk was at the same time claiming for his two youngest children to “routinely” stay with him, that just puts the lid on it.
So neither Danczuk, nor Meredith, nor Blundell can have any objection to this matter being referred to Ipsa. Nor can any of them object to any subsequent inquiry. Simon Danczuk has already been caught claiming a five figure sum to which he was not entitled, so it is in the interests of both him and the public to see this matter resolved.
If he’s done nothing wrong, that’s fine. But if he has, then this time Ipsa would have no alternative but to throw the proverbial book at him. Danczuk may be about to be humiliated at the ballot box, but the aftermath of his Commons tenure looks set to rumble on.