Monday, November 19, 2007

Plaid MPs Found Guilty of Allowances Misuse

Plaid Cymru has today been found guilty of using public money for electioneering purposes. The House of Commons Committee on Standards and Privileges published its report into the misuse of the Parliamentary Communications Allowances of Plaid MPs Elfyn Llwyd, Adam Price and Hywel Williams. They had used it to pay for adverts prior to the Welsh Assembly Elections in May. The Report concluded that the advertisements constituted "campaigning, therefore breaches paragraph 6.1.1. of the Green Book" (the Parliamentary rule book). The three MPs have been told to repay to Parliament the sums claimed, which amount to thousands each. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Sir Philip Mawer, concluded that Parliamentary rules had been broken and the Report indicates this was also the view of Parliament's Director of Operations. Earlier this autumn, the Electoral Commission stated that the Plaid MPs'
advertisements should be listed in Plaid's Assembly Elections campaign returns.

I suspect this is going to be an ongoing issue for all parties, not just Plaid. It's quite clear to me that the rules governing this allowance are rather opaque. The trouble is, each time MPs are found guilty - no matter from which party - the reputation of politics in general suffers even further.

21 comments:

Nostalgic said...

But merely making them repay the amounts misused is not good enough. They have benefited electorally from these adverts and should be barred from the House for a time.

Juan Kerr said...

It's only poor Plaid, one of the 'little people'. ZaNuLiebour MP's spend their 'communication allowance' on the borders of illegality and beyond, all the time, and nothing is said about that.
Oh, sorry, I forget, they are the government aren't they?
One rule ........

Madasafish said...

Any suggestion that the reputation of politics will suffer because of this is risible.
After outright lies over WMD and broken promises (from all parties) for years anyone who trusts politicians to tell the truth requires medical help and our sympathy.
Politicians make estate agents look honourable... and you can sue estate agents for lying.

Mike Wood said...

Labour MPs were certainly doing the same thing in some Welsh constituencies.

machiavelli said...

Anyone else think there's something wrong in separatists using British taxpayer's money to campaign for their own election?

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

Northern Rock: the bank that won't die.

The government and the government alone must put it into receivership.

They will then hand back the "economically competent party" tag back to the conservatives who lost it all those years ago.

Meantime the shares have a valuation based on the "blackmail" value of all the above.

And all because Bank of England independence was bodged by new labour.



Gloaters - you wouldn't believe the number of gloaters we get here.

ASwaS said...

It probably is disingenuous of them to say that the adverts weren't for electoral purposes, but then it is definitely disingenuous for anyone to say that the entire Communications Allowance wasn't introduced with an eye on electoral purposes. I can't help but think that if these were Labour MPs they would be getting away with this. Although the ruling was probably right, it is a far more borderline case than Ruth Kelly's earlier breach of acceptable use.

Westmin Worm said...

Actually I have heard in the Lobbies that Plaid had it checked out with the Fees Office and they said "okay fine"

Now the bosses have overturned the advice of the office operatives which leaves Plaid in the lurch ..and put a shiver up many MPs who ask for advice from the office

Joined up thinking ???

Votedave said...

Plaid Cymru!

How long has it been since they were last in the news?

Anonymous said...

@westmin worm
"Actually I have heard in the Lobbies that Plaid had it checked out with the Fees Office and they said "okay fine""

"Now the bosses have overturned the advice of the office operatives which leaves Plaid in the lurch ..and put a shiver up many MPs who ask for advice from the office"

Which suggests to me that the members asking for advice in the first place may not have put the full facts, or the relevant facts, in front of the Fees Office. The Standards and Privileges Committee report suggests as much.

Your knowledge of spoken Welsh must be pretty good if this is the sort of gossip you pick up in the division lobby.

Philipa said...

Hmn, why am I not surprised.

William Gruff said...

The reputation of politics in Br*tain cannot possibly be dragged any lower.

Brownbadger said...

Off topic. The BBC Trust is reviewing the impartiality of the BBC's news coverage across the UK.

Researchers from the Cardiff University's School of Journalism will look at network coverage during the English local elections,and polls in Scotland, N.Ireland and Wales in the spring.They will also analyse four weeks of coverage this autumn and question viewers.

So, anybody who believes that the BBC acts in an impartial manner when reporting political stories, or who believes that Andrew Marr is the official government spokesman should write to Professor Anthony King, a professor of government at the University of Essex citing chapter and verse.

Whether of course we can trust the BBC Trust to be imparial is another matter.

Anonymous said...

Yep, as I understand the position, this was actually okayed beforehand by the Fees Office. The 3 knew they were sailing close to the wind and so wanted to make sure that they were within the letter of regulations. Despite this the Westminster machine is now hanging them out to dry...

Iain you are right about the damage this does to the reputation of the political process as a whole. But in this case I have every sympathy for the MPs in question...

Atlas shrugged said...

This is not good enough.

I want to have jail sentences not apologies, at long ones at that.

Is the only time a politician gos to jail because they have lied to a Judge?

This is OUR money they are deliberately STEELING. If Aitken can get a pathetically light 18 month sentence for simply bullshitting in court.

Crooked government employees of any type who steel directly from public funds should get 10-life at least.

In fact dishonest elected officials are the single best reason to bring back corporal and capital punishment I have ever had presented.

They do more damage to this country then a whole ship load of Arab terrorists could ever manage. Also at least Arab terrorists pay with their own lives.

Thus saving us the time and money finding, convicting, and punishing them.

SCUM all of them, no matter which colour parties flag of convenience they sail under.

Ordovicius said...

But merely making them repay the amounts misused is not good enough. They have benefited electorally from these adverts and should be barred from the House for a time.

What, with all of the Lib Dems and half of Labour too?

brown on the nothern rocks said...

For God's sake Iain, this lousy government's getting lambasted from every direction and seems in grave danger of meltdown and all you're blogging about is nonentities like Plaid Cymru.

Get a sense of perspective, quick!

Mike Wood said...

We were seriously pi**ed of when those adverts appeared at the end of April but I was told that Plaid had had it cleared first (not sure whether it was by the Fees Office or by the local Acting Returning Officer).
In all honesty, it probably wasn't entirely responsible for the 8,000 votes that I lost by but people like Glyn Davies only lost by a small margin. The spending was obviously pushing the boundaries of the regulations (not to mention well outside of what most people would presume to be fair) but surely it is a measure of what a mess the regulations are that there was any doubt whether this kind of thing was legal.

Lord Jerk-Higham said...

Iain, why are you persisting with this small time stuff when Julia Middleton's group is white-anting the regions and Brown removes all reference to them from his speech and Millibsnd refers to the EU army whilst his leader shortchanges our army and now pensions?

Me said...

sdhijkThat would be the same Adam Price who tried to impeach Blair? And tried to seek publicity by introducing the Misrepresentation of the People Bill? Hypocrites always get found out.

Anonymous said...

Votedave said...
Plaid Cymru!

"How long has it been since they were last in the news?"

If you come to Wales you'll find they're in the Government ... guess the BBC really is falling down on that duty to inform thing.