Thursday, January 07, 2010

David Lammy Campaign Against His Own Government (With Your Money)



David Cameron has promised to abolish the Communcations Allowance. So has Sir Christopher Kelly. Here's a good reason why. This leaflet has been put out by David Lammy in his Tottenham constituency, campaigning against hospital closures in the local area. He's actually campaigning against a decision of the very government he is a Minister in. That's astonishing enough in itself, but when I tell you that he has used taxpayers' money in the form of the House of Commons Communications Allowance to fund it, you will see why my dander is well and truly up.

Every leaflet which is funded by the Communications Allowance has to be approved by the House authorities before it is printed. Question for David Lammy: Was this approved, and has he been refunded the cost?

The Telegraph's Ed West is a constituent of Mr Lammy. He's none too impressed, either...
It’s easy to forget there are some decent politicians left, some real unsung heroes whose only wish is to serve their country and make the world a slightly less horrible place. Up here in north London, Tottenham MP and “Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property”, David Lammy is busy campaigning against plans to abolish the A&E facilities at Whittington and North Middlesex hospitals in Islington and Tottenham. I’m with him on that one – #iwuvthenhs and all that.

Lammy, as he never stops mentioning, is a mate, acquaintance or possibly Facebook friend of Barry Obama, but is better known these days as the MP who claimed over £25,000 for home expenses, despite living in inner London. Still, I hear many people weekend in Tottenham these days – the shooting is great this time of year.

As Lammy says in this leaflet: “In a borough where male life expectancy falls by 7.2 years within two miles we simply cannot afford to make cuts to these vital services.” We? You mean, the government you’re a paid-up member of? If he cares so much, why doesn’t he resign, or stand as a Kidderminster-style independent, since this is a pretty serious issue to people in the area.

But not only he is campaigning against his own government in order to save his own skin come May, he’s also making you pay for it. For at the bottom of the leaflet you’ll notice the small print: “This publication is funded from the Communications Allowance”.

The taxpayer, in other words. He hasn’t, of course, broken any rules, which state that: “The Communications Allowance provides funds to allow you, as a Member of Parliament, to communicate proactively with your constituents and inform them about your Parliamentary duties. You may claim up to £10,000 per year from this allowance.” But it’s still taxpayer’s money.

God bless Labour – even when they’re attacking each other, they still make taxpayers foot the bill.



UPDATE: Paul Waugh emails to tell me he covered this on Tuesday. His story is HERE. He didn't mention the Communications Allowance, though!

42 comments:

Lester Holloway said...

It would be even more "astonishing" if an MP didn't campaign to save his local hospital.

I really don't get this story... can MPs not do or say anything against the party line, even if it helps their constituents???

Iain Dale said...

Lester, the answer is yes. But you have to resign your Ministerial position first if you are a member of the government. He's not just a constituency MP.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

this stinks of racism. You're only attacking David like this because he's a black man representing a predominantly black constituency. Get over yourself and focus on the Tory grandee troffers and Mr. Goldsmith's non-dom status. You may be seen as a racist in the eyes of some if you don't repent and withdraw your dirty, petulent and unfounded allegations against Mr. Lammy.

Think on.

Anonymous said...

Lester, you really don't get it, do you? No wonder you're a LibDem!

James said...

Any chance you could direct commentors to the IPSA consultation form on MPs Expenses.

They may not take any notice of the replies but it does make one feel a tad better telling them what you think of the *********

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous 4.17. I can only think that is a joke.

Tottenham Floating Voter said...

racist my arse! Lammy is a dope!

Obafemi Gwambana'feejah said...

I am a proud constituent of the reputable Mr. Lammy. How dare you, sir, besmirch his good name. For shame, sir, for shame. And, I might add, what a coincidence that Mr. Lammy happens to be of black descent. Shameful from the beginning; you ought to know so much better. I question your upbringing in light of this latest episode.

Anonymous said...

A joke? You're the only joke round here. Sympathise with the BNP much? How about you come up to Tottenham and see for yourself just how much hard work David has put into helping his constituents improve their life and living conditions. You're a little Englander, plain and simple. Get a life you narrow-minded racist windbag. When are you next on the TV or radio mouthing off about the latest inane and boring political storm in a teacup? You are the Westminster village idiot: shut up and stop grabbing my licence fee money

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

No, he didn't mention the communications allowance or get a quote from Tottenham Conservatives, who broke the story. Sadly, the article was tucked away in the middle of the ES and was rather weak

Nick said...

This is exactly what Labour MP for Enfield North Joan Ryan did, 'CAMPAIGN' to save Chase Farm Hospital from being downgraded and therefore losing 24hr A&E and consultant led maternity services. At the time she was a minister, she never resigned. Now, two years later she is claiming to have 'saved' the hospital from a closure that was never going to happenand asks us to celebrate the fact we have lost 24hr A&E etc. There is no end to deceit it seems.

Tuscan Tony said...

Someone please advise the simple fellow that in this context turn over is two words.

Tuscan Tony said...

Iain, the 4.17pm comment is surely David Lammy himself using an imaginative nom de plume he thought up on the spur of the moment.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, at 4.17 are you for real? The criticism of David Lammy bears no relation to his ethnic origin. Good Lord is any criticism of anyone from another racial background so easily characterised as racism? Don't think so. People who cry racism where none exists detract from and trivialise real racism. Grow up anonymous.

Obafemi Gwambana'feejah said...

Sir, why were my previous comments disregarded? What have you got to hide? Are you afraid of dissent as well as being a closet bigot?

Anonymous said...

Is that the same David Lammy who was on Mastermind? The Education Minister? The one who reckons that Henry VII succeeded Henry VIII to the throne?

Oh, that David Lammy. Must take him more seriously next time - obviously.

Sam Semple said...

David Lamebrain

John said...

At January 07, 2010 4:17 PM , Anonymous said...
Iain,

this stinks of racism. You're only attacking David like this because he's a black man representing a predominantly black constituency. Get over yourself and focus on the Tory grandee troffers and Mr. Goldsmith's non-dom status. You may be seen as a racist in the eyes of some if you don't repent and withdraw your dirty, petulent and unfounded allegations against Mr. Lammy.

Think on.

What a load of Rubbish, why is Iain attacking David like this because he's a black man representing a predominantly black constituency.

WHAT DOES COLOUR HAVE TO DO WITH IT.

I support Spurs and cheer Defoe, Lennon and King on every week, so do not say I have a colour problem.

I think you should say sorry to Iain for such a posting.

Anonymous said...

John,

I think you protest a little bit too much...

The mask is slipping. The racial overtones of this matter should disgust all right-thinking Britons.

Anonymous said...

Iain.
Make sure it is in the paper when you do your next newspaper review.

I Squiggle said...

Breathtaking. On oh so many levels. Why is this not attracting more attention at a national level in the MSM? What we need is someone who regularly appears on things like Sky News, 5Live, R4 etc to shout about this. Know anyone?

I Squiggle said...

How on earth is questioning this questionable behaviour, racist? It seems to me, ‘anonymous’ (catchy, like it), that the first person to bring up the subject of race, when the subject under debate has nothing whatsoever to do with race, is rather more the racist. If you think that David Lammy’s behaviour is acceptable, then justify it, without resorting to absurd accusations.

D Hughes said...

anon throwing accustations of racism is making a complete arse of himself. He/she only posts such crap to wind up people, so dont take the moron seriously at all. This is about hypocrisy and deceit, and once again shows how two faced Labour politicans are. Typical of this wretched government.

Mr Angry said...

Ahhh, false accusations of racism, the traditional refuge of the left when defeated or when they have no real argument against what has been said.

"When In Doubt, Play The Race Card" - The Labour Party

David T said...

I understand the precedent of collective ministerial responsibility Iain, however I do think you are trying to create a storm in a tea cup. What about when Ruth Kelly, Des Browne and Paul Murphy effectively ‘campaigned against the government’ (note inverted commas) surrounding abortion because of their faith?
The sort of ‘bad’ play that you are reporting here about Labour MP’s will go on in all constituencies around the country and will be the same dilemma for Conservative MP’s should they form the next government later this year.

As an earlier commenter said, you cannot for one minute believe that David Lammy should be campaigning FOR a closure, nor can you expect him to resign from government over this issue.

And to relate this ‘story’ to abuse of expenses... again, the phrases ‘storm in tea cup’, ‘Daily-Mail-style-of-reporting’ and scaremongering come straight to the front of my mind!

Iain Dale said...

Are you seriously saying you think it is OK for the taxpayer to pay for this????

Imagine if it was a Tory MP. You'd be foaming at the mouth and you know it.

David T said...

Reply to ID 7.00:

Most (if not all) propaganda we receive that is paid for by the Communications Allowance have party political messages and attacks on other parties.

What make the two examples you use any different? Your Lammy example uses the fact that he is a Minister as an attack, but that is unfair (see my earlier example as to why).

If MP's are not allowed to use the CA for local campaign issues (for or against the party line regardless) what can they use it for?

OldSlaughter said...

Any person accusing somebody of racism over this issue, particular somebody like Iain, clearly cares far more about party politics than race politics.

People have worked hard to make racism unacceptable. To misuse the accusation thus is to set back that work, it is worse therefore than the actual charge under consideration.

Such a petty use of such a serious issue is utterly contemptible and you should be ashamed of yourself. You do more harm to the cause of integration than the most virulent racist.

Iain Dale said...

David T. I am afraid your response demonstrates just how warped political values have become. If David Lammy or any other politician wants to campaign on an issue, of course they should. But they or their local party should raise the money themselves. This sort of thing gives imcumbents such a huge advantage that it is totally unfair on candidates from other parties who don't have that facility.

David T said...

I agree with you Iain, I am not in support of the Com Allowance, just felt it a bit unfair to pick on these two MP's.

Mike Law said...

I wouldn't worry too much about the comments branding you a racist Iain. As a former Labour Party member (of 29 years) I can assure you that there a few in the Labour Party who think this type of tactic is perfectly acceptable.

My wife is black and I asked her to read your post. She wasn't offended in the slightest and she thought you raised an important issue - she also thinks Lammy is typical of a NuLabour drone, regardless of his ethnic origin.

Mike Law said...

@ David T.

The Comm allowance is to let constituents know what an MP has been doing with regard to representing them.

In Newham we have 3 MPs (all Labour) and not one uses their Comm allowance for campaigning.

Jimmy said...

The accusation of racism is bizarre and the point about the communications allowance is a fair one (although perhaps easier to make when your party is rolling in money). It does rather look though like you're duffing him up for opposing the government. An odd line for a tory to take.

Unsworth said...

Ah yes, the old racism card. Of course these anonymous clowns seem to regard playing the racist card is a sure-fire substitute for open debate. When in doubt, try to stifle all discussion by personal attack, eh?

Now would the anons care to explain why it is acceptable, moral and principled for Lammy to carry on as he has? I don't care what colour he is, he's still a thick little pilferer of my money.

Ed Wesr said...

David T - what if Ruth Kelly had used taxpayer's money to campaign against abortion while being part of a Government that supported it?

Lester said...

How sad that discussions about David Lammy on this site degenerate into arguments over racism and skin colour.

Doesn't seem to happen elsewhere...

Iain Dale said...

Lester, I wondered how long before you'd join in.

Look who brought race into it. Ah yes, anonymous trolls.

You say it doesnt happen on any other site. Clearly you lead a very sheltered life.

Your left wing friends revel in trying to accuse people on the right at every opportunity. It's what they do. They really are the fascist left.

Lester said...

I can see you're off again with more hysterics, Iain. But I'm glad you were eagerly ancicipating my contribution!

Your anonymous trolls don't seem to affect many of the blogs I look at.

Of course there are plenty of vexed debates about race across the blogosphere, but here on your site any mention of David Lammy instantly turns into a debate about race, which is just plain nuts.

I have friends across the political spectrum (so don't try and paint me as being locked entirely in a left wing world), but if you think the left are spending each waking moment trying to paint the right as racists you're clearly living in a parallel universe.

Where is this happening? How many recent stories have their been like this? Exactly, none.

So ease off from fulminating against the "fascist left", wipe the spittle from your mouth, and take a long lie down.

Iain Dale said...

Lester, dearest, let me say it words that even you will be able to comprehend easily. It was your friends on left who brought up the issue of race on this thread, not commenters on the right. There. That wasn't so difficult, was it?

Lester said...

My friends? Who are they? You're making a lot of assumptions, Iain.

Someone makes an accusation of racism, so they must be my friend?

Well, you've made me laugh.

law27 said...

was told by the London Regional Director, Ken Clark, that he was disappointed in me and asked me if I was aware that "The Tories are racist".

As I had met with a good number of Newham Conservatives members at that time, I did try to explain to him that he was talking nonsense - he didn't want to hear that.

I was a Labour member for a good while, and it IS the usual quickly run off accusation that is thrown at Conservatives by a good number of Labour activists.

Mike Law said...

For some reason, my full comment never appeared here (@ 02:pm).

What I had written was:

"@ Lester

When I crossed the floor to the Conservatives from Labour (while I was a Councillor in Newham) I
was told by the London Regional Director, Ken Clark, that he was disappointed in me and asked me if I was aware that "The Tories are racist".

As I had met with a good number of Newham Conservatives members at that time, I did try to explain to him that he was talking nonsense - he didn't want to hear that.

I was a Labour member for a good while, and it IS the usual quickly run off accusation that is thrown at Conservatives by a good number of Labour activists.
"