Saturday, June 07, 2008

Spelman Nanny DID do Constituency Work

This is the full text of a statement released to the Press Association by Tina Haynes, the former nanny to Conservative Party Chairman Caroline Spelman.

During the period of 1997 to 2002 Mrs Caroline Spelman employed me at her home address and during the period of 1997 to 1998, I had two roles, one helping Mrs Spelman with childcare and another providing secretarial help to her as a MP.

My roles and responsibilities were general administration which entailed tasks such as posting of letters, answering phone calls at the home address, faxing or posting documents to Mrs Spelman whilst she was in London, this was performed during the hours that her children were at school. On Fridays any help with directions to constituency events was given.

On the 6th June 2008 I received a phone call from Michael Crick from the BBC stating that he was doing a programme about Mrs Spelman and her family life with her being an MP.

I answered the questions asked of which a few are listed below.

Did I do secretarial work? to which I answered Yes,

Was it political? to which I answered No (my understanding of this was that he was asking was it party political work)

Did I do Nannying / Childcare for her? to which I answered Yes.

For a period of time the constituency phone number was Mrs Spelman's personal home landline number, so any calls made to this number whilst Mrs Spelman was not present was answered by myself, and all messages taken were then passed directly onto Mrs Spelman.

I believe my answers accurately reflect that for one year I had two roles in working for Mrs Spelman."

This statement certainly backs up Caroline Spelman's version of events. It also puts some questionmarks over Michael Cricks "reporting" of the facts on Newsnight last night. Peter Spencer, reporting on the statement just now on Sky, reckons the case against Caroline Spelman has collapsed. More on the BBC HERE.

72 comments:

wrinkled weasel said...

I think Spelman's strongest point is that she put a stop to the secretarial arrangement long ago.

I will accept that.

Now can we draw a line under this please, tighten up the rules, and make it impossible for MPs to make "mistakes" "technical errors" and "errors of judgement"

I think it is pretty obvious now that they are all, and I mean ALL at it. Time to cap this and try and salvage democracy before we all end up like Zimbabwe.

verity said...

Well,I'm sorry, Iain, but it sounds from this statement as if this lady was a nanny - or, more essentially, acted the role of "wife" in that she took care of the children and did a little secretarial work as needed while the MP was in the House.

It's hard to tell from what I've read, but did Ms Spellman pay the nanny's salary? In other words, was this helper's pay pro-rated?

All this begs the question of why this young mother with children at home thought she should take on a national role.

I'm sorry to sound so negative as I know you like her (from the three times you've met her) but something about this rings a bit flat.

Clive B said...

Iain, leaving aside the rights or wrongs of the actual case, what I find intriguing is why Newsnight / Crick decided both to go digging back 10 years to find this (were they tipped off or have they investigated all Cameron's frontline and this is all they found??) and, having done so and obtained some pretty marginal "incriminating evidence" from the nanny, why they and the BBC then chose to bring it to lead headline news. Yes it makes great news and helps keep a sleaze narrative going, but surely they could see this was scraping the barrel.

Amy said...

I feel sorry for Caroline Spelman, and I work for a female MP (not Conservative) so would normally have no desire to defend Tories. People cannot begin to imagine how hard it is when first elected. MPs are usually dumped in at the deep end (and I know that this was certainly the case in '97...it's probably improved now) and simply expected to 'deal' with having an incredibly responsible new job (which usually involves attempting to keep several thousand people happy at once), attempting to live in two different places at once - away from your family, and attempting to manage new staff and all with little support. Yes, I accept that MPs are paid well (and no, I am not referring to their allowances) and that they chose to go for this job. However, until we start to make it more workable for people with family/caring responsibilities (which, let's face it, is usually women), we will continue to have the totally unrepresentative Parliament that we currently have.
End of rant!

Jonathan M. Scott said...

Iain, a lot of bloggers (even centre-right ones) have been too hasty to attack Caroline Spelman over this matter - in the absence of the facts - and knowing how unbalanced the BBC is.

I have come to the conclusion that Crick is from the 'Gilligan School' of BBC Reporting.

verity said...

Amy writes: "until we start to make [Parliament] more workable for people with family/caring responsibilities (which, let's face it, is usually women), we will continue to have the totally unrepresentative Parliament that we currently have."

No. No compromising Parliament to accommodate the weakest. Parliament should comprise the strongest.

Parliament is not unrepresentative. Everyone has the right to vote for someone they can hold to account to represent them.

Amy's notion is the further fractionalisation of our government in the absurd name of "inclusion". If you vote, you're already included. If you don't vote, that is your right and your choice.

The Raven said...

I don't think all this is quite over, and I'm sure the Tories will take a degree of a hit from it (and from the idiot MEPs). But ever since Betsygate, I have taken anything anti-Tory from Michael Crick with a wheelbarrow of salt. He was nearly in tears when Boris beat Ken.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to re-mention my point on another blog such as yours Iain, that I have posted on Guido's as well.

I can understand that the media have got their teeth between the bit, but, I'm afraid that there is not much of a story here no matter how much you try and stoke the boiler.

Yes, 11 years ago she may have spent my money under wrong pertences, but soon stopped a year hence after it was advised as being incorrect.

She should have paid the money back, granted, but how many MP's could that sort of situation apply to.

I am not trying to condone the actions in any way, but am merely trying to institute a sense of reality into the situation.

Carry on with the Spellman bashing and mob lyching if you like but I am not immensly proud of my conduct or actions 11 years ago, are you?

That said I couldn't agree more with your last statement about how the state would deal with Mrs Spellman if she was a single mother living on a council estate, she should be dealt with just the same as you or I would had we been fiddling the social.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Kite Article

Oh dear has Melissa Kite stepped in it again. She seems to be ignoring the Nanny's statement. Is being malicious by any chance?

verity said...

Anon 9:13 "I can understand that the media have got their teeth between the bit."

Sounds painful.

Mostly Ordinary said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but she got 'free' room, board and car for the nanny work? Then got paid taxpayers cash to do secretarial work?

That's okay then I thought something underhanded was going on.

Chris Paul said...

This arrangement was incorrect however you tart it up. Please try to imagine for one moment that this was a Labour or Lib Dem woman who used parliamentary allowances for childcare. What would you be saying 20 hours on in such a case?

Now, the question of whether MPs with young families should be able to get help with childcare - and indeed other workers of whichever sex - well that is different.

CS should use her time on the back benches to write up a Bill and introduce it.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

What a curious statement from Ms Haynes.

If I were still in the business of marking students' essays, I would be surprised by the juxtaposing of quite complex sentence structures alongside some spectacular solecisms, including that glaring lack of agreement. I would be suspecting two minds, two hands here.

Then again, in those days I was paid to be suspicious.

fairdealphil said...

I despair. When will people learn that ignorance is never a defence in a court of law? Nor can it be in the issue of parliamentary expenses. If you are an MP or an MEP surely to God it is up to you to establish what the rules are and that you are complying with them. Simply bleating that you never received a response to an inquiry is a ridiculous defence.

Not my words Iain. Yours. On Friday when yet another 'whoopsie' was uncovered.

The Lakelander said...

Chris Paul:

Believe it or not, I do enjoy reading your postings on various blogs - and on your own blog.

I also see that you have been named after two Saints.

May I courteously suggest that you consider the words of a third, St John, in what is sometimes referred to as John 8:7?

Ed said...

I think Caroline's account is entirely credible, the circumstances are very unfortunate.

I recall Ian Mills' death and the circumstances of Caroline stepping into the breach. Utilising her nanny in the way she did to field calls and to organise incoming correspondence seems to me a very sensible way of doing things. And then to her credit, upon advice, that such actions could be open to misinterpretation, she went ahead and employed someone that did not have such a dual role was again sensible. Although I don't know the details, I would hazard a guess that splitting such a role actually increased the overall cost to the taxpayer.

And it came to pass, these arrangements were misinterpreted, by no less than a figure than Michael Crick, someone, I note, I pay for via my BBC licence.

Oh well, I have long come to accept the new reality where black is white, truths are lies and common sense is most uncommon.

Daniel said...

I can smell Central Office from here.

Wrinkled Weasel's last paragraph sums it up - it's time now to end this ridiculous charade.

The current system is intolerable, we are being taken for fools - and not only that we are paying for the privilege.

Anonymous said...

The statement doesn't say what proportion of her paid time was spent on constituency work.

Friends of mine who have worked for MPs reckon that the tasks mentioned would take up no more than one hour a day.

Peter said...

What a bloody shambles, again!
Why oh why is MPs pay so complicated. Why do they have to have all these allowances. Simply pay them a salary and let them get on with the job they are elected to do and pay staff from public funds to support them.

strapworld said...

Iain,

Whilst I do admire your defence of Spelman. I do fear that she has a lot more answers to give.

I worry when people play the 'I was upstairs collecting fares' defence! The Peter Hain defence!

whiter than white? -on this subject she most certainly is not!

Iain, please do not lose sight of the fact that we are talking about PUBLIC MONEY. If you or I made a 'false' claim for any benefit we would face court action. It is a crime.

I am quite amazed that not one person as yet is facing any criminal trial. Because, I suspect, most of our MP's are up to their eyes in it!

We have got to get some respect back into politics. I thought Cameron was aiming for that. His silence on this particular issue is deafening and quite sad.

Mrs Spelman has to step down. However nice she is. However kind she is to everyone.That she is not a full tuime politician and some people have been beastly to her makes no difference. She has acted foolishly.

Sadly, I do not believe that the nanny was a secretary as well.

She has to go!

Daniel said...

@ Amy

MPs are usually dumped in at the deep end

Diddums to that.

I have not one iota of sympathy.
It's ok standing on the metaphorical hustings saying "vote for me" - you have to be able to do the job

Perhaps a reality check is in order and it's time to find out what MPs are really like at work. Oooh, Can I say "You're Fired!"

The idea that you start a job and it's so big and overwhelming that you're allowed to be incompetent at it, is ludicrous.

What the hell are you doing in the job in the first place? There comes a time (an hour after coffee in the real world) where your new employer leaves you and says off you go then.....

Don't these people have a plan?

What do I need, what will people need from me? IT Systems, Finance, Communications,HR?

Seriously, I find that the lamest excuse ever.

Diablo said...

Lakelander - your advice to Chris Paul:

"...May I courteously suggest that you consider the words of a third, St John, in what is sometimes referred to as John 8:7?"

Is that the bit where he says "Go forth and multiply"?

greg said...

This is 4 posts up from an 'ignorance is no defence tirade'.

Im sorry Iain but all you are seeing is exactly what the close friends of Peter Hain and Giles Chichester saw. A basically honest person who has been caught out abusing rules they didnt spend too much time thinking about.

Only difference in this case? She is a close friend on Cameron, Osboure and a tory moderniser.

Perhaps on the other side of this affair, once she has resigned, you will feel some more understanding for why Blair brought Mandelson and Blunkett back.

Diablo said...

All this happened 10 years ago, for God's sake!

Think of all the "dirty" water that has passed under the bridge since then - most of it tinted red, at that.

We still have to hear how the Abrahams story will unfold which could still be embarrassing for the Labour North-East "mafia".

If Labour aren't careful they are going to look even more desperate by trying to make the Caroline Spelman case into a major attack point on the Conservatives. Surely Gordon Brown - that brilliant political strategist - isn't that stupid.......?

The Raven said...

Greg,

Peter Hain paid his 88-year-old mother a full-time salary despite a total lack of evidence that she did anything, and he established a think tank to do nothing except pour money into his deputy leadership campaign fund. He has been an MP for 17 years; Spelman had been one for a matter of months.

The MEPs are a different matter; they seem as guilty as sin, but Cameron put the boot into them pretty sharpish.

Anonymous said...

AS a Labour supporter I actually like Spelman
I dont think shes a theif or a sleaze

but then I didnt think Blair was or Livingstone (or Cameron) for that matter

Our politics is generally clean all parties have a few people who will exploit their position as in any walk of life

so why do people like you Iain play so party political when mistakes like this happen in the Labour or Liberal Party

all politicos need to weed out the Stonehouses and the Archers

trevorsden said...

"Why oh why is MPs pay so complicated. Why do they have to have all these allowances. Simply pay them a salary "

And if they did you would still get toss pots like Guido and his foul mouthed fellow trolls complaining - under the guise of 'libertarianism'.

This is am embarrassment -- and old old old very small embarrassment -- but the likes of Guido run with it because nit picking dross like this is their lifeblood.

Fear of blogs may be why Crick and Newsnight ran with it (plus usual lefty bias to give some 'balance'). Not long ago Guido was pleading for more leaks of snouts in the trough - maybe there has been a vast Guido/BBC conspiracy??

Whats wrong here is a sense of proportion re the 'offence' - Abrahams is massively massively more serious than Spellman's nanny/secretary but its occupying as much shelf space.

Politically its not the embarrassment that's bad but how its dealt with. Spellman has explained and if that's truthful then she deserves a telling off but (in my book) a commendation for ending it when she did (YEARS AGO) .
The MEP business has been dealt with promptly - my only concern here is that Tory MEPs are clearly in hock to the EU gravy train p- I would deselect the lot on principle.

verity said...

Chris Paul: "Now, the question of whether MPs with young families should be able to get help with childcare - and indeed other workers of whichever sex - well that is different."

No,it's not.

It is not the business of the British taxpayer to be paying for childcare for their representatives in Parliament. If they don't have a mate or a mother who will provide childcare and they don't way to pay for a full-time nanny, then they don't qualify to work the hours demanded of an MP.

Being able to organise your life around being an MP is one of the qualifications.

This is nothing against Ms Spellman who, in Iain's photo, has a nice, honest face. But she, like so many MPs under this stupid system, appears to have thought Parliament should accommodate itself to her needs instead of the other way round.

auntie Flo' said...

was in a similar situation to Caroline Spelman when my daughter was young, so I sympathise with her.

A mother of young children who has a demanding job has a mammoth task to contend with. As has been well documented, she is in a 'dual career' position, and that would have been as true of Caroline Spelman as it was of me - caring for my child and running a company in an industry which required me to work irregular and unsocial hours and which transformed my home into my second office.

I didn't have any family nearby who could help, my mother had died. I simply could not have coped without the excellent nanny/assistant I had at that time.

My daughter's nanny was thankfully happy to work on a flexible basis and did anything and everything which relieved the pressure I was under.

Because I had endless telephone calls at work and at home (I could hear a little better in those days), and because I could rarely be sure from one day to the next where I would be at any one time or when I would be home, it was absolutely crucial that I had someone who would both care for my daughter when I wasn't at home and take and filter my home telephone calls.

My daughter's nanny would decide which messages were urgent and should be immediately forwarded to me or my staff and which were less urgent or trivial and could wait.

Was my daughter's nanny an office assistant as well as a mother's help? I would argue very strongly that she was as her time was split between both roles.

Even when she did not take many calls in a day she was on standby to deal with calls. That standby assistance was vital. And that's the key thing, the office assistance role was essential whether it was used or not.

Johnny Norfolk said...

The BBC are trying to help Labour by ensuring Brown is not in the headlines. Will Crick be saying sorry and will the Tory party rebuke the BBC for its misleading reports. I think not.

John Styles said...

Yeahright. The Nanny has been nobbled and the Beeb is being spineless in not pointing this out.

Little Black Sambo said...

I start from the position that Michael Crick is utterly odious and Caroline Spelman is transparently a normal decent person, and work back from there.

Anonymous said...

You're fast losing my respect!

Publishing a press release on your blog from one of the (obviously biased) sides in this argument, in a "speaks for itself" kind of way...

Stop spewing the party line and recover your backbone...

The Surly Beaver said...

Mrs. Spelman isn't out of the woods yet. What we need to see is whether Ms. Haynes was received two paycheques during this period - one from Mrs. Spelman for her duties as a nanny, and one from the expenses account for her secretarial work. If that is the case than Spelman is exonerated. However if Haynes was only receiving one paycheque from the expenses account then even if she was doing secretarial work it constitutes a "fiddle".

We all await with bated breath.

emma2000 said...

I would rather a young mum spent some of her allowance getting help with her children than on a mortgage worth three times the price of the house, Blair, on new kitchen, sky subscription and even light bulbs, Brown and heaven help us even food, Prescott. This is a non-story, ten years old and long put right, they must be desperate.

The Lakelander said...

Diablo:

This must have been a different version of the St James' that I had shoved down my throat from an early age.

My edition had John 8:7 talking about sin and stones. Much more racy!

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

F*** Crick
This is the "independent journo" who saw the "grinning photo" of Blair at Oxford and published the top half.

AFTER Blair left office the "independent journo" Crick revealed the bottom half - showing the "grinning Blair" was in fact a juvenile Blair making the "wanker" sign at the camera.

This blatent air brushing of history was THE most corrupt bit of BBC journalism that occurred during the Blair years.

See you next Tuesday, Crick.

The Raven said...

JN, quite right. The BBC seems to be the only news organisation in the country which doesn't have to print/announce retractions when they spew bollocks. This isn't quite done yet, but it looks to me as though Spelmann will be in the clear. Then Crick will just have a sulk for six months and try it again. No accountability.

Osama the Nazarene said...

Iain, I think you're wrong. Guido makes the point that this statement appears to be "coached". Fact is that for a period a long time ago Ms Spellperson used tax payer's money to provide care for her offspring. She found out it was wrong and stopped.

Why does she not admit it and move on. Doubt if she should need to repay it after all it was a long time ago.

Trying to whitewash herself does not smell nice.

verity said...

Auntie Flo' writes: "Was my daughter's nanny an office assistant as well as a mother's help? I would argue very strongly that she was as her time was split between both roles."

Well done you, lady, for coming through it! But she wasn't being paid by the taxpayer (I assume). We can understand your sympathy for Ms Spellman, but she is being paid expenses out of the public purse - much of it paid in taxes by single mothers supporting their children. I think the taxpayers don't have the same relaxed attitude to the public purse as MPs do, given that they produce no wealth.

Adrian said...

Although I admire Crick's doggedness, his journalistic methods have become increasingly slapdash. Maybe his past successes have made him arrogant. Let's hope the BBC hauls him over the coals on this one.

Angela said...

I watched Crick's slavering expose with a fair amount of disgust. Convincing, it wasn't. I certainly am not dewy-eyed about politicians, but Caroline Spelman never struck me as likely gravy train material. Good to see this is looking more and more like a mountain magicked out of a miniscule molehill.

dozzy said...

Sounds like a pretty clear case of abuse to me. Haynes worked as a nanny without pay, but was paid a salary from the public purse for taking telephone messages once or twice a week when Spelman was out, and occasionally putting the post into the post box. On the evidence we have, Spelman seems no different from Conway, whose boys also posted the odd letter in return for their salaries. Spelman should now be asked to prove that Haynes did sufficient secretarial work to justify the salary she was paid. If she cannot prove this, she should be sacked.

MPs must be made to understand that public money is not a perk of the job, and taking it under false pretences is stealing. The same standards should apply to them as apply to everyone outside parliament.

tapestry said...

Like Betsygate. Crick is not a reliable source and should be downgraded. His 'investigations' are politically motivated and he shoots from the hip. Isn't time he was removed?

Spelman was targeted to take the heat off the MEPs. It worked. The MEPs do have a case to answer however.

tapestry said...

Guido's had his neck Cricked.

Troughing MEPs are far better fare for consumption by the baying mob. Spelman should be saved from the guillotine with case not proven, but MEPs? Who needs 'em?

Drag the lot of them down to the Grand Place, and chew up their reputations slice by slice.

Casual Observer said...

My daughter works and has to use child minders at huge expense because she can't get the taxpayer to pay for a nanny who can also do a bit of household admin for her.

I see no reason why Spelman should have been funded in this regard by the taxpayer and nor did she when she got the advice of somebody who did understand the basic difference between right and wrong.

So it was wrong and I would think more of her if she accepted that and stops using the 'rules', the discredited rules, as a defence.

It won't wash. What she did was classic wrong...

Mark said...

Iain, you've backed the wrong horse here.

This isn't even a partisan issue anymore - voters are fed-up of MPs form all parties mis-using their allowances.

Spelman may be a very efficient party chairperson and a nice woman but her arrangement here was clearly wrong.

getting your nanny to opo couple of letters in the post, or answer the phone when it rings when you are out (as every other nany in the country does without an additional fee) is not grounds for a secretary's salary.

It stinks. Your close contact with CCHQ is no dount useful at times for stealing a march on your rivals, but please think carefully before regurgitating their press releases on here. Your posts on this matter have hit your credibility.

Windsor Tripehound said...

Chris Paul said...
What would you be saying 20 hours on in such a case?


I'm more interested in what the BBC is saying 20 hours on - nothing!

Yesterday they were leading their news bulletins with this story. Today, now that it has been shown to be in effect a fabrication by Crick based on a few highly selective questions, they should at least have the good grace to broadcast a clarification.

I was going to say "apology", but as we all know, the BBC never admits to making a mistake, ever.

Rohan said...

Funny how this story suddenly emerges now isn't? Been in someone's bottom draw has it? Classic diversion tactic. Spelman as you say Iain is a decent person, and this is frankly a storm in a tea cup. A non-scandal scandal. There is no way she is going to either be reprimanded or loose her job. But of course having this story pop up and steal the domestic headlines takes the heat off the Brussels schnanagins which looks quite possibly like Conway type scandal that could be much more damaging. That of course has been forgotten now. CCO news management in action.

Anonymous said...

Auntie flo said ...

"Even when she did not take many calls in a day she was on standby to deal with calls. That standby assistance was vital. And that's the key thing, the office assistance role was essential whether it was used or not."

Yes, but you didn't claim the expense off the taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

The Raven said...
"The BBC seems to be the only news organisation in the country which doesn't have to print/announce retractions when they spew bollocks."

Why should they retract when what they have said is true.

Anonymous said...

"Caroline Spelman never struck me as likely gravy train material."

John Major never struck me as an adulterer.

Adam McNestrie said...

This pedant's hunt for the errant politician, driven by the media's love of expose, is destroying what little faith in our political class remains and, in doing so, poisoning the political realm. The disjuncture that now exists between the public perception of politicians as peculators, crooks, Soviet apparatchiks almost, and the banal reality of the cross-section of men and women in Parliament undermines very seriously the smooth functioning of the political system.

Undiscriminating cynicism and mistrust will be the result, and that can only hurt our political culture and do real harm to any ideology which relies on a positive conception of the state.

To read my ideas at greater length, link to my blog at:
http://adammcnestrie.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

I quite agree with Emma at 12.18am. I cannot believe that people are getting flustered about this story. Surely the real question is why has the BBC brought up an 11 year old story on Caroline Spelman , when so many Labour MP's including Blair, Brown and Beckett, have had their fingers in the till?

There is a lot to be answered on MP and MEP expenses as well' the real crooks have been found out in Europe. Any more discussion of Caroline without all of this context means the 'Nazi' propaganda unit at the BBC have duped you - and shame on you.

Anonymous said...

So how can MPs wish to be exempt from the freedom of information act because of the confidentiality of their work, when they employ nannies to process that highly confidential material?

Anonymous said...

tapestry said...
"Like Betsygate."

There was some substance behind the Betsygate claim. Don't forget that it was initiated at Conservative HQ by staff who knew what was going on.

Betsy was let off the hook only because she did actually do a small amount of constituency work which required a degree of knowledge and responsibility (diary entries, typing and signing letters, dealing with telephone enquiries). In the opinion of the HQ staff, not enough to justify what was paid, but there we are.

Spelman's nanny did nothing that the the cleaner (or anyone off the street) couldn't have done.

Harriet Hamster said...

She should have consulted Paxo and got herself some decent Romanain hired help !

Does Crick wear long trousers yet ?

Anonymous said...

tapestry said...
"Spelman should be saved from the guillotine with case not proven .."

What do you mean "case not proven"? She has admitted it.

Anonymous said...

Well, that explains everything. Taxpayers only paid for the secretarial work, everything is above board and her password is '1234'.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

I pay out £2000 pcm of taxed income to my lazy ex wife. If I were to put her on the payroll of my company and trim my salary I would save money personally - a decent sum (perhaps 600 pcm). But I would be stealing from the taxpayer. It would simply be a net transfer by using the existing system & lying of £600 pcm from the taxpayer to me.

So I do not do it.

Mrs Spelman and her consultant husband earn far more than me. They chose to use taxpayers cash to pay for a woman who was either a full or part time nanny. Please do not tell me that you can get someone to work as a nanny merely in return for free lodgings and the use of a car (even Eastern European au pairs need £100 a week in cash as well).

The sums involved may be trivial, it may have been 10 years ago but that does not matter. The effect of what Spelman did was to deprive the taxpayer of cash for her personal benefit. I cant and won't engage in such practices as a mere businessperson - why on earth should anyone who says they want to be involved in Governing this country be able to work on a lower standard?

Anonymous said...

Once again Iain Dale leads the way and shows us what it means to be fair and balanced. We all look forward to Issue 1 of Total Politics.

Anonymous said...

"Spelman Nanny DID do Constituency Work"

A statement from the nanny justifies this headline, does it?

How about "Spelman Nanny claims she did Constituency Work" and a little analysis of that claim? Or is that too much to ask for?

auntie Flo' said...

Verity said:

she [your nanny] wasn't being paid by the taxpayer (I assume). We can understand your sympathy for Ms Spellman, but she is being paid expenses out of the public purse - much of it paid in taxes by single mothers supporting their children.



Though I didn't claim for my nanny as a tax expense, had I been an MP at that time with a nanny with the split duties that Spelman's nanny had, I would certainly have considered getting a clearance for claiming for the proportion of time the nanny spent on office support for me.

I think the key fact here is that Spelman did not have a constituency office or office staff, so her home and nanny filled that role at that time.

My view is that Spelman should have dug her heels in when challenged on this. She should have brought it out into the open and made it clear that her nanny was acting, on a part-time basis, as the office assistant she was entitled to.

If Spelman had asked her nanny to log her time spent on call for office duties then she would have been beyond reproach. My guess is that she did not dig her heels in or get the nanny's office time logged because she was pulling her hair out under the pressure of the work backlog and her dual career.

Anonymous said...

This is clearly a case of the commie Al-beeb throwing mud at the tories and hoping some of it would stick.

If the tories are worth their salt they will now be committed to abolishing the bbc. But the tories are useless.

Anonymous said...

Caroline Spelman's youngest son is now 13. That means he was 2 in 1997.

Surely the nanny would have still been looking after him during the day. So the claim that the nanny was free to do secretarial duties for 30 hours a week during term time is not true because she would have been still been performing her nanny duties in that time.

verity said...

It baffles me that this lady thought the taxpayer should finance an area of her personal life - her children's care. That is the nub. That she saw care of her children as the responsibility of the taxpayer.

BTW, Margaret Beckett has her 88 year old husband on a full salary as her personal assistant. Why is this OK? Beckett is claiming two salaries from the taxpayer. Even if she were brilliant and effective, this would be outrageous. Employing family over the age of, say, 60 (if that's the retirement age in Britain) should be illegal. Anyway, Beckett should be required to pay back around 20 years of her elderly husband's "salary". And all the plane tickets she has provided for him to accompany her on official business overseas.

Anonymous said...

"So the claim that the nanny was free to do secretarial duties for 30 hours a week during term time is not true because she would have been still been performing her nanny duties in that time."

Maybe. And maybe they just left the tot in a box.

45govt said...

trevorsden said...
"And if they did you would still get toss pots like Guido and his foul mouthed fellow trolls complaining - under the guise of 'libertarianism'."

I take it you will have been one of the sanctimonius prats who took advantage of Guido's money back guarantee and invitation to sex and travel?

Even Iain used a foul word on Guido yesterday, with very good cause IMO. I do hope you weren't offended, it may not be your sort of place.

45govt said...

verity said:-

"BTW, Margaret Beckett has her 88 year old husband on a full salary as her personal assistant."

Well Beckett is an immoral ZaNuLab insider, so you may be sure they will all be up to similar thievery. Having said that, I should want a very large annual sum to have to look across the breakfast table at that gargoyle.

Anonymous said...

"Spelman Nanny DID do Constituency Work"... according to her statement. That's what you meant to say, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1 - "she would have been still been performing her nanny duties in that time."

Anon 2 - "Maybe. And maybe they just left the tot in a box."


Anon 2 has obviously not been a parent if he/she thinks you can leave a 2-year-old unattended for 6 hours during daytime (especially in a house which doubles as a constituency office).

Benjamin Gray said...

There's a good article by Libby Purves on the matter today in the Times.

Fundamentally though, why shouldn't an MP be allowed to claim for a nanny on expenses?

http://snurl.com/2enkw