I came in for a bit of flack on Sunday for not laying in to Tony McNulty with all gun blazing. I well remembered the howls from Labour and LibDem supporters when Caroline Spelman first encountered her problems. I took the same stance then, again receiving a lot of criticism for doing so. But I have no regrets.
There is a key difference between the Spelman and McNulty cases. Spelman voluntarily submitted herself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, but McNulty has not.
I think Tony McNulty's biggest problem is that although he may be within the letter of the law, he has admitted he used the "second home" predominantly as an office. That's not what it is there for.
Whatever the outcome of this, one things has become crystal clear. The second home allowance in its current form is dead. Whatever new rules come into being should be ready for implementaton in May 2010. New MPs need to know the situation before the election.
To all those non Conservatives who took such great delight in Caroline Spelman's troubles, are you going to show the same degree of delight in McNulty's troubles? No, thought not. Hypocrites.
No London LD MP claims a second homes allowance. So yes, we are just as cross with McN as we would be with anyone else, including members of our own party who did this.
Leave him alone and just watch
Private citizen defrauds the Taxpayer for £40 000- Jail
MP defrauds the taxpayer for £100 000, told to apologise to the House.
This is going to be another big 'so what' story.
We know they are corrupt, they know they are corrupt, these dying days of Labour, are the same as the Conservatives dying days in 1996- plas ca change
Sorry, iain, but didn't Mrs Spellman only offer herself to the Commissioner AFTER the story broke?
That makes her case as bad as all the rest.
Iain, this whole mess of expenses has got to be cleaned up, once and for all.
If you or I attempted anything like this we would be before the Central Criminal Court on fraud charges.
Yes, she might be a lovely person. But I can tell you that many of the criminals I locked up were really nice people!
Most Conservatives are much more unhappy with Spelman than Dale is. (Dale is too much of an insider to be that angry.)
MP's came up with the expenses wheeze because raising their salaries was politically unacceptable. Successive generations have merely added new layers of corruption.
And to all those who think that well paid MPs = good MPs: we have the most highly paid MPs in Europe apart from Italy. Is Italy an example we want to emulate?
Solutions: (1) MPs salaries should be linked to the average in the UK. (2) Evening sitting should be re-introduced and the job returned to being part time. This would allow MPs to top up their salary elsewhere, with the added bonus of reconnecting them with the real world. (3) MP's expenses should be on exactly the same basis as the taxpayers who fund them. There must be an end to one rule for them and another for the rest of us.
So many lamp posts, so little time
Spelman is a disgrace and just as culpable as McNasty.
I cannot understand why she was not cut loose. Dave's misguided loyalty allied to the fact that Spelman is a female saved her bacon.
Remove the ACA and allow MP's to stay in hotels if they must two mights a week which is about as much as they would need. It may not save a vast amount of money, but at least it is transparent! Bills could be settled directly by Parliamentary authorities or on proof of purchase.
Thats what a lot of ordinary working people do - would do them good to mix with the hoi polloi!
What Scary Biscuits said! One Law for all and everyone equal under it.
Don't get excited, as with all Labour sleaze merchants the decision will be made that further action would not be in the public interest or that there is "insufficient evidence to proceed".
Don't be fooled into thinking that the UKis in any way a democracy any more.
I'm still wondering when a journalist is actually going to ask an MP whether they agree that Fred Goodwin's pension is ok because it's within the letter of the law if not the spirit of the law. The same defense most MP's caught exploiting expenses seem to use.
I'm punch drunk with all the sleazey crap.
It's hardly entertaining anymore. No resignations, 'it was in the rules', oops 'it fell below the conduct expected of the House', blah blah blah.
Oh yes - 'it wasn't me'.
Hope Guido gets his man on Daily Polly
'flak', not 'flack' please
" ..same degree of delight"? No. We were not delighted at Caroline Spelman's troubles.
Same degree of disgust? Yes.
No,no, Iain, you really don't get it, despite the efforts of some of your commenters to spell it out. Spelman's crimes are far, far worse (despite the sums involved) because she is not "one of the chaps". It is essential that women are stomped on regularly, or what will the world come to?
I hope the coming reform of MPs expenses will include efforts to make them not only more relevant to the lives of this century, but also more family-friendly for both men and women MPs. We do not need to perpetuate the bias towards the chauffeur-driven late-night drinkers.
Long grass stuff again.
@ Strapworld - you may be right about chronology, but I cannot recall a single NuLab MP submitting their case to the Commissioner voluntarily - even after their misdeeds have been plastered all over the media. Most have waited for formal complaints to be made.
Spelman did not report herself voluntarily, but only after she'd been grassed up. It was a blatant fraud compounded by what appears to have been an attempt to bully the hapless nanny into lying for her. McNulty's case is hardly comparable as the second home rules are clearly a mess. If he's broken them then he should pay the money back. Spelman should have been referred to the police.
What you don't seem to grasp, Iain, is that many people on the non-revolutionary Left are quite as disgusted with this government as any Tory.
And yet, while we form a significant part of the political spectrum in the UK, we simply cannot get our views heard in the Media.
That's why Vince Cable, the Lib Dem politician, is so popular. His views are often far to the left of the government's.
On QuestionTime, etc., we only evr get out views heard if someone like Will Self or Peter Tatchell gets on.
Above that's why people like me, who will vote Labour for emotional reasons, above all hope for a hung parliament, a weak Tory administration, and time to re-create a real Labour Party.
But weap for Tony McNulty? You Jest.
"Spelman did not report herself voluntarily, but only after she'd been grassed up."
WTF does that actually mean? Do you want to try saying that in English?
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