First, a little background to this post, started by a posting on FT dot com with the title 'Are MPs value for money', which prompted curiousity, on my part, in respect of certain other MPs.
Having accessed the latest Registration of Member's Financial Interests, purely as a 'trial'I picked Rt. Hon. Hilary Armstrong - memory having been 'jogged' by her involvement with SITA - and noticed she received between £5,000 & £10,000 from something called GovNet Communications.
It will be noted that another MP, Eleanor Laing, is listed on the Advisory Board, who also admits to receiving upto £5,000 from the same organisation.
Now, this is where it starts to get extremely interesting!
The last Director's Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2007, filed with Companies House, signed by Joanne Walsh and dated 31st October 2008, state that GovNet Communications has been 'dormant' for the previous two years, not having traded.
This begs the question that if the 'company' has not traded, and therefore been 'dormant' for two years, how did it pay Hilary Armstrong and Eleanor Laing and for what work? Yet the website of GovNet Communications 'boasts' of '10 years track record'! How, in 2009, can it have a '10 year track record' if it has not traded for the past three years? It shows 'images' of 'Awards' being presented to Pauline Prescott; of Keith Vaz speaking; of having six magazines 'covering the public sector' - all this from a company which has been 'dormant'?
It is quite possible that the organisation who pays her is not the registered company. The organisation "GovNet" might be an unincorporated body, which as a separate exercise, registered "GovNet Communications" to 'protect the name' - if so, why? If you look closely, nowhere on the website does it actually say "GovNet Communications Limited", which it would have to do by law if the organisation behind the website is in fact limited - at least I can't find any information.
Purely as a matter of courtesy, prior to submitting a Freedom of Information request to GovNet Communications, I have e-mailed both Hilary Armstrong and Eleanor Laing asking for their comments on this post.
Needless to say, I await their comments with the utmost interest!
Afterthought & Postscript: If Ms Armstrong & Laing care to 'spread the word', I shall now 'plough through' every MP's declared 'Financial Interests' - this having 'wetted my appetite'!