Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Anthony Steen Steps Down

ConservativeHome has the exclusive that Anthony Steen is to step down from Parliament at the next election, following the news yesterday that another MP caught up in the expenses scandal, Douglas Hogg, had called it a day too. He told Jonathan Isaby...

"The real issue is who can fix the country, and I have become a distraction, so have decided that I won't stand again. I don't want to risk the party losing the seat, so it is in the best interests of the party that I go. There has been no pressure from my association; they have been marvellous: members have been very put out by the Daily Telegraph coverage. I've had a very good innings, there's no bitterness, no anger, but as the saying goes, all political careers end in tears."

54 comments:

Liam said...

All very welcome and honest of those who have stood-down. But what of Labour?

Lots of meetings, lots of action to be decided upon, but nobody wanting to follow the Conservative lead?

PhilC said...

James Gray MP is going to hold special 'expense' surgeries with each constituent getting 10 minutes to quiz him. He's even taking along all his receipts.
I don't think, though, he's offering advice on how you too can maximise your claims. As a constituent who is self-employed I'd welcome some decent tax advice.
http://jamesgray.org/jamesgray/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=129&Itemid=48

Anonymous said...

Before you leave, could we have a cheque for the money you owe us.

Don't slam the door on the way out.

archroy said...

That statement is a very good template for further use!

RW said...

Does "exclusive" mean any bit of news which has already been in the public domain for at least 24 hours?

steveshark said...

I assume those jumping ship will be scrutinised by the shiny new quango that Harman announced today.
I'd hate to think that just by declining to stand for the next election that they'd somehow evade the consequences of their troughing.
Not that I expect this quango to have teeth - they still haven't got it yet, have they?
The first thing anyone with half a brain cell would have done to restore public confidence in any sort of process would have been to get 'lay' people involved.
Instead, what we get is the usual hasty kneejerk reaction and politicians missing the point entirely.
WV was 'mongers' would you believe...

Anonymous said...

I watched him being interviewed on Sky News a few minutes ago. From what I saw there is an awful lot of bitterness and anger.

Ungrateful Serf said...

Clear blue water at last! Tory troughers jump, Labour troughers need to be pushed.

What price the Salford Swindler now, Iain?

Or should that have been the Cheating Chipmunk?

Old Holborn said...

Iain.

Interesting argument going on at my place regarding Irish homosexuals.Loathed to say your input would be welcomed...

lilith said...

35 years at the trough.

Tom said...

He's doing the honourable thing, so it seems a bit mean to point it out, but I'm pretty sure the famous phrase (of Enoch Powell's) is that "all political lives [...] end in [b][i]failure[/b][/i]".

cherami said...

Now then, when is Brown going to stop talking and act. When is he going to put the boot into Balls, Cooper, Darling, Hoon, Purnell and the rest of them? Blears and Smith are soft targets. Now he has to hit the hard ones.

If Balls and the other had an ounce of dignity or awareness of what would be good for Labour, Parliament and the country they would resign.

Ed said...

I wonder - is it the end of his political career? Could there be a life peerage (on top of his viscountcy) and then who knows what? His dad and grandpa were both Lord Chancellors.

jon dee said...

Anthony Steen says,

"Members have been very put out by the Daily Telegraph coverage."

If the statement is true, its certainly not a view I've heard by Tory friends.Quite the opposite in fact,with the Telegraph redeeming itself after McBride and Steen embarrassing himself,voters and the party.

Mr. Mxyzptlk said...

They will cry a river of tears before this is done.

Anonymous said...

OT: Polite request- a lot has happened in a short space of time; smeargate, expenses revelations, ministerial sackings, speaker resigning, MP deselections on cards, main parties battered in polls, possible early election etc etc. My head is reeling with it all. Can you provide some sort of 'taking stock' analysis of what has changed and the significance thereof? Thanks!

Sandy Jamieson said...

Two down. ? to go

Tick the next Tranche

Andrew Mackay
Francis Maude
James Grey
Alan Duncan
Julie Kirkbride

Mark, Disgusted of Broadbottom said...

Another one who should consider his position very carefully is James Purnell.

I had a letter published today in the Tameside Advertiser, Purnell's local paper, details as follows:

‘Last week’s Advertiser contained an article on James Purnell, in which he vigorously defended the expenses he had personally claimed.

Mr Purnell expressed regret the current expenses system had brought MP’s integrity into question. However, it’s not the system (which MP’s devised) at fault – it’s the way individual MP’s have abused the rules, sometimes spectacularly, and it is this that has sparked feelings of anger towards MP’s from the law-abiding majority, in a way not seen in living memory.

In Mr Purnell’s case, he has claimed in excess of £100,000 tax free in housing allowances over the past 5 years against property in London. This is on the basis that his constituency home in Broadbottom is his main residence. However, is this claim really justified?

House of Commons guidelines state an MP’s main home is generally the place where he spends the majority of his time, that is, 183 days/nights or more each year. Has Mr Purnell spent anything like 183 nights at his constituency house in the last 12 months, in the sense he actually slept on the premises overnight? If not, the claim the constituency house is his main residence fails, and his claim for the £20,000+ a year allowance becomes invalid.

I suspect only Mr Purnell and his neighbours know the answer to that particular conundrum'.

The online version is as per the link below; except that they have edited the final sentence of the online version out, so it appears in the paper as above. My online moniker is 'Disgusted of Broadbottom'. My name and address appear in the paper itself.

http://www.tamesideadvertiser.co.uk/news/c/1115030_mp_urgent_need_to_reform_expenses

Following this, I have tonight knocked on the door of his next door and next door but one neighbour. They both confirm he is hardly ever there, one night a month being the absolute maximum.

I will attempt to speak to his other next door neighbour tomorrow and will update this site as soon as I have something further to add on this point.

But prima, facie, there is a case for Mr Purnell to answer, as it seems he is claiming his constituency home is his main residence for ACA purposes when quite clearly it is not.

Thoughts anyone?

msj said...

Here we go ... the dam is crumbling. I expect we will lose many good MPs who were seduced by a bad system. They shouldn't have let it seduce them and it doesn't excuse them, but I'm beginning to have a feeling of "Let you who is without sin ..."

strapworld said...

Members put out by the Daily Telegraph!!

What utter nonsense, or it says something pretty awful about that constituency!

verity's lovechild said...

Hogg may have troughed, but he has shown himself a gentleman in the manner of his departure. When the dust has settled, the Party should treat him with respect.

copydude said...

Anthony Steen said:

"The real issue is who can fix the country, and I have become a distraction, so have decided that I won't stand againWell, at least he gets it. Good luck to him. If a few hundred other distractions followed suit, the electorate would be more than happy.

cabalamat said...

I'm saddened that Steen has stepped down, saddened because the worthless greedy shit will not suffer the humiliation of losing what would normally be a safe Tory seat at the general election.

Is he going to pay back the 88 grand he owes us for work in the grounds of hisd mansion?

Cranmer said...

The saying is that 'all political careers end in failure' (Enoch Powell).

But it amounts to the same thing.

It is good to hear that these parliamentarians ae prepared to put party and democracy before selfish pursuit. Let us hope that this continues...

Thatsnews said...

94% of people think 'fiddling' MPs should face criminal charges. Other 6%? Must have been asleep...

Just A Punter said...

John Swinburne to stand in Speaker's constituency under Jury Team banner on anti-sleaze ticket.

javelin said...

Labour MP Natascha Engel for NE Derbyshire just disclosed she has spent tax payers hard earned cash refurbishing her home on her website.

Fortunately the Telegraph was on hand to remind her constituents she had also spent hard earned tax payers cash on champagne flutes, to quaff from - presumably celebrating that she now had her nose deep in the trough.

Ex Tory, now UKIP said...

Glad to see the back of him. Greed overcame judgement. I will bet that he will not repay any of the £80,000 he milked from the system.Cameron should lean on him.

Bird said...

I like the statement. Well done sir!
But I'm glad that some of the wealthy rural types are on their way. Hogg and the guy from Gosport with the duck island know they won't get any sympathy or votes. More on the way, I hope.
My own MP, James Arbuthnot, also deserves to bite the dust, if only because he is an insufferably dreary bugger.
The Tory party needs young,hungry, ambitious candidates with something to prove.

Peter Thomas said...

"...members have been very put out by the Daily Telegraph coverage."

And the public have been very put out by the activities of Mr. Steen and his ilk. I think the Conservatives will lose Totnes at the next General Election whether he stands or not.

Mostly Ordinary said...

I see the new rules still allow MPs to buy a house with our money. I honestly don't give a toss if a MP claims for a KitKat it is the ability to build a property portfolio with my cash that cheeses me off.

Why not just say after the next election you can claim rent and that's that?

They are just giving up the small ticket items.

trevorsden said...

Tory Bill Wiggin allegedly claimed 11k in phantom mortgage costs - if so he should go.

Another Tory (Viggers?) claimed 20k for gardening. He should go too.

Meantime Ruth Kelly has been at the trough.

Torys need to keep their house clean.

If so the likes of toadies like Nick Brown - £18k for food - should be forced out too. But as confidantes of Brown will they??

Anonymous said...

Ed said...

'I wonder - is it the end of his political career? Could there be a life peerage (on top of his viscountcy) and then who knows what? His dad and grandpa were both Lord Chancellors.'

Ed, please get your facts straight. Anthony Steen is not a Viscount. It is Douglas Hogg whose father was Lord Hailsham. Anthony Steen is regularly cited 'sir' by our oh so worthy and fact-checking newspapers - but they are all wrong. He has never been Knighted.

James said...

Liam, I agree Labour is doing this too slow but I think we'll see more deselections from Labour than the Tories in the end. The big question is why did the millionaires in the shadow cabinet (including DC), as well as Barbara Follett etc, claim anything at all? If you look at Emily Thornberry's 'week in the life' article in the Guardian recently, it says she's paying half her salary so she can have more staff to help her constituents: it appals me that MPs like her are being tarred by MPs of all parties - let's start highlighting exceptions.

PS. As an aside, Iain, you don't happen to have any pictures of Ed Vaizey topless, do you? Just askin'...Maybe you could arrange something with GQ - or a Total Politics naked calendar??

Andy JS said...

What do a floating duck island, 28 tonnes of manure and the installation of Christmas tree lights have in common? Clue: something to do with Gosport.

Anonymous said...

Sea Shanty Irish here

You hit it on the head, your Worship, with the classic Enoch Powell quote AND very apt statement of one benefit of the current scandal: clearing out considerable amount of deadwood from the ranks of Tory MPs.

Of course the next general election will do that for Labour.

Pre-scandal, Conservative Party suffered from fact that some of the safest Tory seats were in hands of long-term squatters long past their shelf life (or would "sell-by date" be more appropriate?)

Now thanks to the moat dredging, etc. there will be a new crop of open seats - and some juicy ones at that - open to careers of talent.

Perhaps even our own gracious host may be a direct beneficiary?

That is, if Cranmar & others believe the Age of Miracles is not yet past!

Anonymous said...

Anthony Steen was in hot water a while back, because he was in the habit of parking his car in a space reserved for the handicapped at his local train station.

When confronted about this behavior, Steen was extremely self-righteous. Rightly described then and now as displaying "bitterness and anger".

This guy is a classic schmuck, in purest sense and with full power of the orginal Yiddish (see Leo Rosten's "Joy of Yiddish").

Or to use another word short if not sweet, and stealing a great line from Alice Roosevelt Longworth (whose husband Nick was a very successful Speaker of the US House; she said this about Warren Harding):

Steen is not a bad man, he's just a slob.

Andrew Efiong said...

What a berk. He has to repay these funds.

Why did it take the DT revelations, he should have falled on his sword last week. Or did the man think he might not be discovered? Shameless...

Anonymous said...

Iain

You are too generous.

a) Steen was fired. ie told to resign by Call Me Dave

b) His expenses are a total disgrace.

Why pussy foot about the issue. He was fired for grotesque expense abuse. The public wants blood. If CMD wants credibility a hell of a lot of other heads must roll. Viters simply will not tolerate someone who makes claims like - say - alan duncan being an MP let alone in the shadow cabinet. All those who have played the system must be deselected at once.

Then we see if Clegg & Brown have the guts to follow

simon said...

I wonder if a certain Neil Hamilton is wetting himself laughing at the recent 'House of Thieves' malarkey regarding 'legitimised theft' known to the MP's as 'expenses'. Makes his 'misdemeanours' look like relatively small beer doesn't it.

Flemingcrag said...

The thing that surprises me about "EXPENSEGATE" is that no Minister has employed the usual excuse and blamed the Civil Servants. The Commons Fees Office has been given a free ride on this whole issue..WHY???
I mean what part of this justification for a legitimate expense did they not understand; "the claim was wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties". Was this paragraph from the Green Book blacked out under the Official Secrets Act in their office copy.

The Mainstream Media also bemuse, they regurgitate repeatedly the "moat claim" that will now be accompanied by the "duck island claim" which were both stupid and preposterous but, they were receipted and yet the £18,800 "food claim" which contained not one receipt is swept under the carpet.

Follow the story right into the Commons Fees Office to find out whose instructions they were working to over and above the Speakers, thats where the really big story lies.

Anonymous said...

Why no?

Immediate removal of all MP's under investigation?

All that’s on offer is,

Iffy resignations at the next election.

An irrelevant "Bun Fight" Speaker contest to decide which expensive dusty be cobwebbed old trusty will replace the last one.

A “so called” Independent parliamentary standards regulator to be responsible for pay and allowances) which will be tightly controlled and hamstrung by Westminster.

The promise of a hue and cry by MP’s to hunt down other naughty MP’s that have broken the rules MP’s made up for themselves to allow them to fleece anything that moved, but please please pretty please vote for MP’s so they can continue the hunt.

Dream On!

Old Holborn said...

Moran back in trouble Hubby's firm was a scam for public money. She also claimed £6K expenses from it and can't find the receipts.

VotR said...

When you've been caught with your hand in the till at the workplace, it's time to go.

Preferably to the police station.

Still, it's nice to know you are above the police when the till is at your disposal and you can just walk out scot free when you want if you are an MP, eh? ;)

Thats News said...

Martin to quit as MP, Brown blind-sided by Lumley and more news of Brown’s doom

Philipa said...

I wonder how many MP's have already theived enough to retire on and how many will stay through sheer greed?

I've heard that a quango is being set up to sort out expenses. How many ex-MP's will be on that I wonder? Given that Quangos are not accountable.

Don't mention it to anyone in parliament, Iain - they might set up a Quango to regulate the quangos.

Anonymous said...

Steen will be 70 in July. Do we really want the HoC to be full of old gits?
As someone said above, we need young, hungry and ambitious candidates.

Anonymous said...

Until one of Dave's mates who has been on the fiddle (on a larger scale in each case) get the chop (Spelman, Gove, Duncan etc) I don't beleive Dave has any credibility on this. He is just targetting Davis supporters.

The fact that his did not act on Spelman remains a disgrace

trevorsden said...

Hoon and Purnell are refusing to pay back CGT. Will Brown sack them - ? He should sack them now!
But - oh dear, its 'within the rules'. If the chipmunk goes and they stay then it will be interesting to see if the biking diddywoman goes quietly.

Guido also has a pretty damning piece about Moran. Will Brown sack her - right now? Somehow I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

John Bright coined the phrase ‘England is the mother of all parliaments’ on 18 January 1865 … it has nothing to do with Westminster, house of commons etc. I do wish people would get this quotation correct.

thomasrichard said...

www.libertas.eu/ukip

It's not just UK parliamentarians though! This is a very frustrating debate...this should be a debate happening in Europe AS WELL AS Britain!

www.libertas.eu/ukip

Unsworth said...

Just listened to Steen being interviewed on WATO. Appalling self-serving garbage. He's annoyed that FOI 'caught' him 'on the wrong foot'. He thinks his claims are perfectly OK and that Camron was actually surprised that he is to go.

Frankly I don't know why this clown is hanging around until the General Election, he should go right now. His behaviour is utterly shameful and shameless.

Andy JS said...

Steen gave the most extraordinary interview on the BBC's World At One programme today. It sounded like Lord Muck whingeing about the awfulness of his life.

UKIP Campaigns said...

Libertas is keeping quiet about its Czech candidate's conviction for tax evasion last week.