Not known for its interest in politics, international super-club ‘Ministry of Sound’ has become embroiled in a ‘cash for votes’ scandal, according to the BBC.
The Elephant and Castle-based nightclub allegedly gave an MP and its local Lib Dem councillors cash donations totalling almost £80,000. These donations then went undeclared in planning meetings, where the same councillors backed a bid by Ministry of Sound to block a residential property being built nearby.
The size of the donations went undeclared because councillors need only declare cash given to them personally, rather than to their political party. While technically within the rules, not declaring the cash makes the whole affair smell a bit fishy.
Ministry of Sound feels that if residential properties were built, the club could be forced to close because of noise complaints. Lib Dem MP and Deputy Leader of the party, Simon Hughes, who was also given £1,000 by the nightclub, has backed their position.
Speaking to the BBC following their investigation, Tony Travers, a local government expert at the London School of Economics, said "It's a significant donation for a local party. They would very rarely get donations of that size – donations would typically be between £50 and £500."
One wonders how far the councillors could extend Ministry of Sound’s hospitality; perhaps guest list +10 each and a free bar tab? All to be declared, obviously…
Sticking on the topic of alleged wrong-doing, the City of London’s Lord Mayor is facing Guardian scrutiny over property deals made by the Corporation of London.
The Lord Mayor, or Michael Bear to his friends, also works for a company called Hammerson which has been developing areas next to sites the Corporation of London has purchased. These sites, including land in the Tabernacle Street area, are earmarked for large-scale offices "for City type occupiers". As they are on the periphery of the City, opponents have cited this as evidence that the Corporation are looking to expand the square mile beyond its current boundaries.
The Corporation deny this, and the suggestion of any wrong-doing.