Sunday, June 21, 2009
Denis Macshane and the 'European Policy Institute'- 'scooping' British taxpayers' money
I’ve written before on how keen Parliamentary supporters of the neocon Henry ’Scoop’ Jackson Society seem to be on ‘scooping’ British taxpayers’ cash.
Today’s Mail on Sunday has more. It’s not often a story in a leading British Sunday newspaper originates as a comment posted on this blog.
Bravo to regular reader and commenter ‘Coventrian’ for his brilliant detective work regarding the Brothers Matyjaszek and the ‘European Policy Institute’. And remember, if you are a British taxpayer- its YOUR money that is being 'scooped' here. No wonder Macshane has such a broad grin in the photograph above.
Labour MP Denis MacShane charged taxpayers more than £8,000 for ‘translation services’ carried out by a mysterious think-tank run by his poet brother.
The former Europe Minister submitted more than a dozen invoices to the Commons bearing the heading of the European Policy Institute (EPI), with each bill justified by just one line – ‘research and translation’ – followed by a demand for fees ranging between £550 and £950.
The names and signatures on the bills, sent between August 2005 and January 2008 and totalling £8,050, have been blacked out by the Commons censors, but The Mail on Sunday has established the EPI is controlled by his brother Edmund Matyjaszek.
Mr Matyjaszek, a 59-year-old poet and playwright, kept the surname of their father, Jan Matyjaszek, while his brother adopted the maiden name of their Irish mother, Isobel MacShane, when he joined the BBC in 1969.
The link between the siblings is not apparent from the documents submitted by Mr MacShane.
The EPI appears to have a ghost presence on the internet, with the only identifying information appearing to be the London phone number of a direct-mailing company called European Marketing Services.
The company, which has its website registered in the name of an ‘Edmund Matthew’, is listed by the Poetry Society as the contact point for its Isle of Wight branch – which is run by Edmund Matyjaszek.
Last night, when he was initially contacted, Mr MacShane said: ‘It is no secret that I do more work for Europe than any other MP, and people connected with the institute help me with that. That is all I can really help you with.’ The line then went dead.
A couple of hours later, Mr MacShane, who served as Europe Minister between 2002 and 2005, sent a text message saying: ‘The EPI was set up 20 years ago by a network of people on the Left working in Europe and the US. It has organised conferences and published books and reports.
‘Ed is my brother, but simply administrates it. The claims refer to work in connection with my well-known Parliamentary activity on European and global politics. When I stopped being Europe Minister, I used the EPI to claim for research and translation relating to my work as an MP on European politics.’
Mr MacShane was first dragged into the expenses controversy when The Mail on Sunday disclosed last month that he claimed nearly £20,000 a year in expenses for an office based in the garage of his South Yorkshire home.
The claim, totalling £125,000 over the past seven years, covered the costs of running his official constituency base from the shabby-looking garage at his semi-detached home in Rotherham.
According to literature distributed by ‘Tongues & Grooves’, a poetry club, Mr Matyjaszek ‘has had more than 80 poems published, many of them prizewinners in various competitions.
His prize-winning play The Consultation on the Israel/Palestine issue was performed at Sevenoaks Arts Festival.
‘Poetry-reading is a particular interest, and he has written and performed scripts on subjects as various as the War Poets, John Donne and Ted Hughes.’
The telephone number given to book him for readings is that shared between the EPI and European Marketing Services.
Mr Matyjaszek’s wife answered the door last night at his £500,000, stone-built home in an exclusive area of Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, and said he was not available for comment.