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A probe investigating MP Keith Vaz has been re-opened. There are still no plans to investigate him for leaking sex abuse victim identities to the public which resulted in them receiving death threats. The probe is more interested in what Vaz has been allegedly been doing with rent boys. It was previously suspended for medical reasons.
People need to be aware that “threats to kill” is a criminal offence and will be taken seriously by the police. A threat to kill is not a harmless prank and it’s not funny. The police will trace the perpetrators of such threats and arrest them – rightly so.
The tweet in question
As you will have seen here MP Lindsay Hoyle wrote an article which would be of potential concern to political bloggers, admins of political groups and your right to voice your opinion of any MP. It was Lindsay’s word ‘fanatics’ which we found ambiguous and on one extreme could be interpreted as an intention to muzzle anyone who voiced opposition to any MP. Lindsay would like to clarify his position in the statement below:
“My aim is to ensure that Members of Parliament, our staff and other public figures who attract public attention and criticism are safe and sound, of course dialogue and vocal criticism is part and parcel of political discourse but last week’s events were a terrible reminder of what happens when this line is crossed.”
We asked Lindsay if he could be more specific on where the line is between ‘typical political discourse’ and ‘fanatical’. If someone states something which could be considered a threat to life on social media then a line has been crossed in our view. However if there is no threat to life then we could consider any attempt by the Government to interfere with comments constitutes muzzling the public.
“This is a very important issue and I appreciate your interest it is still a very sad time for all involved, however, I have addressed your comments quite specifically and honestly – I will not be making a further comment.”
Are you satisfied by Lindsay’s response on this matter?
Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle has expressed a wish for Facebook and Twitter to be monitored for ‘fanatics’ in response to the murder of MP Jo Cox. We obviously don’t want anyone to come to any harm but his ambiguous wording could be implied that this is a plan to crack down on anyone mentioning any MP in future – which is wrong. As Lindsay Hoyle is the local MP for one of our team they contacted him for clarification which * update * we have now received and you can see his response here.
Gov IT contract spirals out of financial control
A £10.4 billion government IT contract has spiralled “out of control,” with private contractors reaping more than £1 billion in profits at the behest of British taxpayers.
In a highly critical report, the National Audit Office (NAO) said that the Aspire contract, designed to streamline government IT services, went drastically over budget after civil servants commissioned more work than expected.
The contract – led by services conglomerate Capgemini, along with IT firms such as Fujitsu – has now cost the government double the amount it originally expected, jumping from £4.1 billion (US$6.9 billion) to £10.4 billion ($17.7 billion) since it began in 2004.
According to the latest figures produced by NAO, the Aspire program accounts for 84 percent of HMRC’s spending on IT.
Due to the structure of the deal, where HMRC relinquished its right to the program’s profits, Fujitsu has reaped at least £1.2 billion ($2 billion) since the initiative began.
“HMRC faces a considerable challenge to reform the Aspire contract while evolving a new approach to its technology suitable for its planned move to digital services. HMRC now has minimal time contingency to do this before the Aspire contract ends in June 2017” the NAO warned.
Aspire, the latest in a series of troubled Whitehall technology projects, provides around 650 IT systems in order to collect income tax and national insurance, costing taxpayers £813 million ($1.3 billion) every year.
The program will expire in 2017, following new government rules stating that departments should not be dependent on a small number of IT companies when outsourcing work.
At an inquiry held on Tuesday, Margaret Hodge, chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee, said that HMRC’s management of the contract was “unacceptably poor,” claiming that £5 billion ($8.5 billion) had been spent recklessly.
“It is deeply depressing that once again a government contract has proved better value for the private companies involved than for the taxpayer,” she said.
She added that the department’s “lack of skills” meant it was too heavily dependent on contractors to conduct its work.
“All this gives me little confidence that HMRC’s senior team has the capability to manage large and complex contracts,” Hodge stated.
However, HMRC has hit back at Hodge’s claims, stating that the extra costs were incurred because of the government’s reforms to welfare and child benefits, which require the use of real time information.
An HMRC spokesman said the department will “continue to improve the performance of the contract over the next three years.”