Who doesn’t love a listicle? We certainly do and we know you lot do, too. It’s been a while, we thought it was time we dropped another.
So here’s a little wander from High Peak to Hammersmith and back again. With just a smidge of Liverpool thrown in. Enjoy!
- During 2020, Conservative MP for High Peak, Robert Largan, claimed twenty thousand pounds (and three pence) in business costs for ‘professional and consultancy’ fees. £16,666.69 of that twenty grand went to a firm called ByAndLarge Ltd. The recipients of the remaining £3333.34 were not specified.
- These claims are – and we cannot stress this enough – fully compliant with IPSA regulations.
- ByAndLarge is one man: Daniel Large. The company website is a blank white page and its Twitter account is locked and seemingly empty. We do know that he is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
- Largan and Large have known each other for years. They both stood (unsuccessfully) as Conservative candidates for Hammersmith Broadway in the 2010 local elections.
- They also share an interest in transport infrastructure. Robert Largan sits on the transport select committee. Daniel Large was the campaign director for the Campaign for High Speed Rail.
- The term ‘professional and consultancy’ is vague. Largan’s constituents have asked him to break down the services that cost £17-20K. As far as we have been able to find out, they have received no answer.
- We approached him for comment and also received no answer.
- The MPs’ code of conduct stresses the need for openness and accountability, including matters concerning the disposal of public money.
- We again approached Mr Largan for comment and this time, we got two extremely noisy letters from a law firm in Liverpool. The letters told us that Largan employed Large as his parliamentary advisor. Amidst all the sound and fury, they also confirmed that one of the unspecified payments from 2020 went to ByAndLarge, bringing the known total to £18,333.36.
- According to its filing history, ByAndLarge’s credits for 2020 were £23,927.
- We repeat, these business costs paid to Daniel Large are fully compliant with IPSA regulations.
- In summary, then, Robert Largan paid £18-20,000 of public money to Daniel Large, a public relations professional and an old colleague of his from Hammersmith. When we asked Mr Largan to clarify this issue, he set his lawyers on us.
That’s the bit we don’t understand. Why didn’t Robert Largan simply answer the questions? He could have killed this whole thing in one email. But instead, he went straight to his solicitor.
If you’ve got any ideas, please do tell us.