Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Tommy McAvoy Mystery

Veteran Labour whip Tommy McAvoy has suprised Westminster by today becoming the 142nd MP to announce he will stand down from Parliament at the next election. McAvoy, who has served in the Labour Whips Office since 1997, is considered to be a bit of a bruiser. He is 66 years old, so age could well be the reason, but some Scottish political observers are more suspicious.

The anouncement certainly came as a surprise to SNP activists in Rutherglen and Hamilton West since they've seen McAvoy out and about campaigning for what they assumed was his re-election.

It could of coyrse just be absolute coincidence that his announcement comes after Jim Devine claimed a male Labour whip advised him to claim his expsenses in the way he did. This claim was followed up by the Labour Party launching an internal inquiry to identify the whip whom Jim Devine fingered:

Conciidentally that was also the day (February 10th) that John Ward suggested Tommy McAvoy may be the whip;

"Giving a speech to the Oxford Union a few short years ago, Ken Livingstone told a somewhat different tale. He blithely informed the assembled students that the Labour Whips “encouraged MPs to claim for their second home allowance, and said ‘if you don’t want it – claim it anyway and give it to the Labour Party’”"

Intriguingly such comments echo with THIS article about Tommy McAvoy from 2009:

"McAvoy, a Labour whip since 1997, also claims the second home allowance while acting as a London landlord at the same time. The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP has billed the taxpayer for around £64,000 in ACA since 2004. His entry on the Commons register shows he has received "rental income" on a residential flat in London since November 2002."

Finally, and as an aside, I've noticed of late that suggestions for friends on Facebook have been throwing up a significant number of Labour MPs. It made me wonder if they were setting up pages as part of their re-election campaigns.

If it is for re-election why did Tommy McAvoy set one up if he was retiring anyway?


Plato said...

Good sleuthing - perhaps someone is about to confirm something rather embarrassing.

Ian said...

McAvoy is a typical West Central Scotland Labour MP. Trade Union background, local Councillor in that cesspit of local government politics around Glasgow

Sounds like a good Catholic Bhoy- probably goes to the Home Matches at Parkhead (where you could hold a quorate meeting of the Labour group on Glasgow Corporation)

Mind you the fact he is 66 may have also contributed to his decision.

And by the way, there's no doubt a queue a similar Glasgow Labour Party clones waiting to be selected. Sad

50 Calibre said...

Nice bit of digging. McAvoy is a nasty piece of work and will have plenty of faux friends happy to spread any dirt as thickly as they can.

Will the Glasgow Herald pick it up???

I Squiggle said...


Gordon Brown’s ‘election launch’ followed by..

Here in Streatham, SW London, I’ve just had the first door knocking by the Labour party for several years. Big team in the street as well. (The PPC is Chuka Umunna, replacing, he hopes, Keith Hill). Is this a coincidence? It’s a bit early for May isn’t it?

Tom said...

Dear Iain,
The comment from Ian shows that religiously based sectarianism continues to be alive and well in the West of Scotland.

On Thursday you spoke to a group of International students at Bradford in what all present concurred was a knock-out speech about your personal and political journey. Next tuesday, thse same students will meet the members of Nil By Mouth in Glasgow. It was set up to challenge the blight of sectarianism and is lucky still to exist due to the SNP government trying to axe its funding. You see Alex Salmond is unhappy with those who draw attention to the violence and everyday rancour that gnaws away at the vitals of Scottish urban life.

Even in the dark 1980s if somene like Ian had got up in a mixed social setting and alleged that, like Tommy McAvoy MP, Norman st John stevas and Chris Smith were part of a conspiracy (though sexual not religious) he would have been bombed out.

If you arr relying on the SNP for intelligence on Glasgow politics, whoever supplied this mess of pottage has not elevated the tone of your blog this weekend.


Neil Ward said...

Tommy McAvoy is my local MP and I must admit I always find him to be fairly useless.

Ciraric said...

As a person who grew up in Glasgow Rutherglen (now Rutherglen and Hamilton West) you guys have no idea how happy this makes me.

That horrible man. No backbone.

Ian said...

In reply by Tom

First of all my attack was on the Labour Party in the Glasgow area. it bemuses me that a party that can produce men of charachter and ability such as John Smith or Donald Dewar can also produce Tommy McAvoy or Cllr Terry Kelly of Paisley.

It is the same Scottish Labour Party that supports sectarianism. What was it Jimmy Reid said?-"Scotland is the only country in the world where a union between two white Christians is known as a mixed marriage" yet we re-inforce that sectarianism by permitting state funded sectarian schools in West central Scotland and no one in the Labour Party has ever questioned this. It has changed now in one respect in that the schools are far better but when I was young incoming English Catholic parents would send their children to non-denominational schools becuase they thought RC schools were too (Republican) Irish in their ethos. Indeed the few RC pupils we had at my senior secondary school were easily accepted as part of the community and no one thought any worse of them for their beliefs. Those who went to St. ********s were not

I have not had a chance to read Prof. Tom Devine's book on the Irish in Scotland yet (I shall soon) but I do feel as a community they have still failed to integrate often surrounding themselves with their own institutions in particular building up a significant niche in Labour Party politics around Glasgow.

As for your penultimate paragraph I cannot get round this. It seems to equate being Catholic with being gay

For myself I support neither Celtic nor Rangers- I actually suppport a Premier Division team halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh (and Liverpool FC of course)
Nor am I a SNP supporter. Indeed I now live in South Lancashire- a place where supporting the SNP is a slightly more waste of time than say than the once Conservative seat of Rutherglen

Tom said...

Thanks for your reasoned response to which i replied but it has been lost in the ether of cyberspace.
Tom Devine has written well on sectarianism; 23 years ago brought a book out on the subject. I still have copies and if you ever want one,just contact me at Bradford Unversity's peace Studies Dept. and I'll send it on.


argyle said...

good work here, we need to know this stuff ,keep it coming