Remember Margaret Moran, the Labour MP for Luton South who claimed a second home allowance in Southampton? It seems the strain of the last few months has begun to tell. Since the Labour Party Star Chamber summarily dumped her, and she announced she would not stand at the next election, she has gone on long term sick leave. So far, this has lasted for close on two months.
Naturally, one has every sympathy with anyone who is genuinely ill, but Ms Moran's constituents are starting to revolt. They are claiming they are not bein represented and that constituency casework is not being handled properly. Moran's staff say that her office is dealing with everything that comes their way but it is impossible for them to be getting proper service from an MP who is not present and is aparently too ill to pick up a phone to make representations on behalf of her constituents. Some of her constituents are now turning to Conservative candidate Nigel Huddleston, who is dealing with a whole series of issues which would normally be handled by the MP.
Often in these circumstances, a neighbouring MP will take over the casework, but Moran is known not to get on with Kelvin Hopkins, her neighbour from Luton North.
The local media is now starting to agitate for Ms Moran to vacate her seat now and cause a by-election. She is, however, unlikely to do that as it would involve losing the £30k resettlement allowance she would be entitled to if she waited until a general election is called.
Unfortunately for Ms Moran's constituents, there is little they can do to force her out. Even if Labour withdrew the party whip from her, she is perfectly entitled to stay until the next election, be paid in full, and do absolutely no work at all if she chooses to.
I tell you what Labour Whips could do.
They can get Gordon Brown to go to the palace and call a General Election.
Nigel Huddleston I believe most deserves to be Luton South's next MP.
Often, in a small business which relies heavily on the creative or practical input of a particular person, the business will take out a "key person insurance". This covers the necessary expenses involved in keeping the company going should the "key person" be taken ill or be somehow unable to perform their normal function within the business - thus temp staff/management staff/etc. of appropriate skill-levels can be brought in until such time as the "key person" is back in action.
It seems to me that constituencies should be enabled somehow to do the same. In the case that the MP be taken ill, it will then be possible to pay for a substitute, (in the case of Ms. Moran one could envisage the PPC for the next election doing the job, but otherwise look for someone of similar standing from elsewhere) to cover the casework. As far as the electorate is concerned, it is the case work which is the day to day work of the MP, so this should be made a priority. Voting in the House is a secondary issue, as it will carry on regardless of whether the sitting MP is there or not.
It's the same story with the Prime Minister.
I suspect that they (the voters) will take their revenge at the next election. The longer they have to wait - the greater the revenge.
I am getting a feeling in my waters that New Labour are capable of polling well below 20% at the forthcoming general election.
There are so many things going against them and their reaction to the situation is so utterly bizarre that I can see them imploding.
What do you think?
Amazing. We've got a system where as soon as your elected, in real terms, you become untouchable. Your party can't fire you right out of a job, your voters can't sack you for failing to represent them, and you pick up a bonus of more than most people earn in a year at the end of it. What kind of democracatic system is this?
Glad you're back Iain,but am sure the wifi was nobbled by your partner to keep you away from the keyboard!
This article is interesting, to say the least.
Are parasites exempt from gaining a doctor's cert for this "sick leave"? One rule for "them", yet again.
As far as I am concerned, she was sick the moment she supported Labour, but that is another thing.
It does sound as if the Tories will gain huge PR from this event, but it is sad that it will be just a case of "new flies".
While Margaret Moran is a particularly unsavoury piece of Parliamentary scum, she surely isn't the only one and possibly not even top of the list. How many Conservative MPs are holding on to their perks by not standing down until the next election? Balance, please!
Speaking as a Luton resident (both North and South at different times), and one with a history of voting for different parties (Labour in '97 in fact), I want to offer a different point of view.
It has been abundantly clear since at least 2000, possibly before then, that Margaret Moran is not fit to be an MP. Her exposure in the expenses scandal is only confirmation of that - indeed I know many people who, once it became clear many MPs were going to be shamed, fully expected Moran to be brought down because of her track record of self-service and an appalling dereliction of her parliamentary and constituency duties.
Voters in Luton South are getting what they deserve, she has always been a terrible MP and if we had bothered to take a look at her properly before scrawling an 'x' next to her name three times, we (and she) wouldn't be in this shameful mess.
Ballot papers should have an incantation similar to that read at weddings, that the decision 'ought not to be undertaken lightly.' We gave a tremendous honour to this women who was wholly undeserving of it because we couldn't be bothered to elect someone else.
The medicine is bitter, and makes us feel sick, but Luton South should think carefully before it complains, and take responsibility for shaming ourselves and indeed the country by sending Margaret Moran to Westminster in the first place.
This story just has to have been started by Esther Rantzen supporters, who have clearly worked out that her only chance of winning here is a silly season by-election.
Tories would be well advised to avoid pouring parafin on this one.
Dr's certificate please.
She may be entitled to do that but her constituents may take a dim view of it as they have with the chipmunk.
I don't know how these Labour MPs live with themselves. They represent the worst places in Britain but after 12 years in power these places are no better than the day they first walked into Parliament. The only people obviously richer are criminals, including the MPs themselves - and their banking friends. No wonder people are angry.
If there's thirty large in it for her, they won't see the back of her till the general election. Like so many NuLabor parasites, she's in it for the dibs.
I wouldn't want her to go now, a by-election would give the dreadful Esther Rantzen far more publicity than she will get at a General Election and make it more likely that the people of Luton would make a dreadful mistake by electing this awful woman.
Join the Stop Rantzen campaign
"Unfortunately for Ms Moran's constituents, there is little they can do to force her out. Even if Labour withdrew the party whip from her, she is perfectly entitled to stay until the next election, be paid in full, and do absolutely no work at all if she chooses to."
If true, she is acting badly. Of course she might actually be sick.
But, would recall elections really be a good idea? I think not. What they would permit would not be the current system, where there is some aspect of a personal vote, but most of the vote is directed towards electing the party of government. Instead it would become possible to constantly harass MPs over particular votes. Imagine constant petition campaigns against Nadine Dorries for example, because she wants to limit access to abortion.
I feel for the electorate in Luton South. I bet they wished they had Kelvin Hopkins as their MP. By what I can gather, Moran and him are like chalk and cheese. One constantly on the make and the other not claiming a second home allowance, commuting to London instead. The irony being they both live on Alexandra Avenue in Luton.
It looks like the Labour vote will disintegrate at the next election. I'm sure Esther will say 'That's Life!' when she loses and there should be a hard working Tory MP in Nigel Huddleston in her place.
I see that on her website Margaret Moran has listed "eating curries" as one of her interests. Perhaps that might explain why she is "ill".
An excellent argument for the people to get the power to recall their MP.
I dont have much doubt she is sick
extereme stress I would think
one minute completley anon backbencher (come on who had actually heard of her) next minute argubably number 1 troffer
But we are either a civilised socieity or we are not. Regardless of the cause of her illness we should have sympathy.
My Grandmother died of lungcancer last year after smoking 40 fags a day for 50 years. Im glad to say that regardless of the self inflicted nature of her illness everyone still was able to sympathasise.
Its called being a human being
My Little Chipmunk's car vandalised:
Police wish to talk to 60 million suspects.
A visit to the doctor's would quickly discern whether she is capable of continuing in her role
"While Margaret Moran is a particularly unsavoury piece of Parliamentary scum, she surely isn't the only one and possibly not even top of the list. How many Conservative MPs are holding on to their perks by not standing down until the next election? Balance, please!"
Precisely how many Conservative MPs have gone on extended sick leave?
Why the surprise? Ive been an employment lawyer for a long time. I have seen hundreds of cases in recent years that show that as soon as anyone says "boo" to someone at work, or someone performs badly and can't be arsed to put the effort in, that employee is off sick with "stress". You could put money on it in almost every public sector environment every time. Because public sector organisations are so abject at dealing with issues and procedures take an age, sickness can last over a year. Its prevalent now in the private sector, too. People just sit on their arse instead of facing up to whatever challenge is in their way, either by dealing with it or leaving that job and getting back to work asap. Seems MPs are the same. Its all a bit pathetic, nowadays.
It wasn't like this at all 15-20 years ago.
Huddleston is doing the right thing and should keep it up until the next GE.
The problem is that, by and large, the public have the memory of a retarded goldfish....They might not like Moran but they would be just as likely to vote in Esther Rancid thinking she wasnt on the make!!!!!!!!....leave things as they are until next year and keep crossing each day off the calender...
I think there should be a recall process - but requiring a very large number of signatures, so that frivolous attempts to get rid of MPs wouldn't be able to make any headway. Only MPs who really deserved to be recalled - perhaps as in Luton South at the moment - would find themselves in such a dire position.
The payoff situation also obviously needs to be looked at since it's pretty close to being a corrupt practice.
As Moran's whole existence is a scandalous, money-grabbing, tax-payer funded farce, the good people in her constituents can get rid of her - no laws in the land will be tolerated in this country if they are unjust - and this one is!
Looking at what happened to Hazel Blears today - Ms Moran would do well to jump ship before she's on the receiving end of it.
Any sightings of "3-homes Moran" gallivanting about the Spanish countryside?
Please can we have recall petitions!
I suggest a threshold of 5% of the electorate to sign a petition within one month, which, if secured would be followed by a ballot of the entire electorate and the incumbent dumped on a 50/50 basis (50% agree on a 50% turnout)
Mark Thomas (comedian and political activist) kidnapped her bay tree and threatened its life if she didn't resign by his deadline.
She didn't, and the tree "got it". Watch the video!
It appears the Hazel Blears was given a similar message this afternoon. Locals shouted abuse and then smashed her windscreen and slashed all four tyres. Seems to be a message Hazel that you are not wanted. Hazel, in true ZaNULab style denied this was the case. Things don't change with liebour.
Hazel Blears back in the news again. Bored teenagers with nothing to do? I suggest Labour go back and re-examining their crime and anti-social behaviour policies, don't you?
It's quite possible to put in safeguards to prevent abuse of a recall system (sufficient threshold of signatures, judicial review etc). But it is clear from this that we need some method of removing unwanted MPs from their posts other than general elections. This and the shameful politicising of the Glasgow North East by-election (delaying it so as to prevent two embarrassing Labour defeats in quick succssion) shows that politicians need to be answerable to their electorate.
That odious little woman is only staying in order to get her 30k severance. She is spitting in the face of the people of Luton.
On the upside with her behaviour it looks likely to be a conservative gain with any luck.
Funny that she dislieks Kelvin Hopkins, who just happens to be one of the few decent Labour MPs on the backbenches.
She's been odious and useless since she crawled out from under a stone in Lewisham many years ago.
As a local Councillor she was shite, as an MP she is shite, as a land-owner is Spain she's shite ... notice how consistent she is?
Since when was "shame" and "embarrassment" an illness warranting two months off work?
Isn't there some bloke in Northern Ireland who was elected MP and has never turned up for a single day but is still paid?
These people need a job description and a contract of employment. Yet they defy gravity itself, confirming the old adage that sh*t floats.
Paul, I think yours is more of a theoretical objection than a practical one. Do you honestly think there are enough troublemakers around to make frivolous recall proceedings normal? At first there may be one or two, but once the novelty wore off I'm sure people would realise they have better things to do, particularly if the major parties had a gentleman's agreement not to go after one another unless something was clearly wrong, as in this case. You object that recall proceedings would necessitate a change to the status quo: that's rather the point; those of us who believe in localism think there should be a much greater personal connection between MPs and their constituents involving accountability to them rather than to party whips, which is why we also support open primaries. There shouldn't be any such thing as a safe seat for a person.
A very good post, Iain - I'd ben wondering about the latest on this saga. Hopefully Nigel Huddlestone will be able to serve his would-be constituents creditably enough to be the default choice for many voters who mightn't have otherwise considered him, and will realise they have the option to elect a someone who'll work hard for them even when the cameras aren't around.
As for Margaret Moran, I hope those on the left will reflect that her abuse of hard-won employment rights represents nothing short of treachery to the cause, not that this should be surprising given her behaviour in other areas. I hope she'll be brought to account for what she's done.
Hmmm funny Iain you seem to have missed this.
Well, should Helmer GO!
I am sure that the electors of Bromsgrove, Totnes, Macclesfied, Bracknell and Sleaford are all equally keen for their MPs to go now...
whateve mark thomas is, 'comedian' isn't one of them.
lefty, lying, rancid hoon with chip on shoulder size of isle of wight would be more accurate.
i fart in his general direction and call his 'gags' pathetic marxist bs.
I used to work with Nigel Huddleston at Arthur Andersen 10 years ago. Nice chap.
I agree with Paul about the ridiculous delay involving the Glasgow NE by-election. There should be a limit of 3 months between an someone ceasing to be an MP and the date for the by-election.
Some of the poorest people in the country are not being represented at the moment because of Brown's cynicism.
i want all labour mps gone , but hey , i aint looking forward to dave , o/t ian your blog rocks well not rocks, has a mellow freddie mecurey ballad to it , keep up the good work
According to Hansard, she was often very concerned about housing in Luton, so perhaps that's why she went to Southampton to claim her £168,569 for housing allowances.
I do question though if either of the two big parties want seriously to change the cosy system of the House, with it's ridiculous flummery, gentleman's agreements to mutually con the public, charades of pointless debates, fine old lathers over fox hunting and craven acquiescent indifference over wars, extraordinary rendition taxes, etc, etc. And until recently at any rate, honied with lavish expenses that any ordinary person would probably have ended up in prison for claiming.
Never was a finer bunch of self-serving hypocrites gathered in one place.
The local Luton media act in their own interests, just as you do.
Another by-election means more mazoomah for the local as well as the traveling circus.
If Moran is ill, as per Nadine Dorries' list of "potential suicides" a while back I hope she takes a temporary break until able to resume her duties before she leaves just before the next General Election.
Every prospective parliamentary candidate in the country, from my experience as an agent, claims to be taking up cases the sitting MP has not satisfied, hope I haven't disillusioned anyone's admiring fans.
"I used to work with Nigel Huddleston at Arthur Andersen 10 years ago. Nice chap. "
Weren't Arthur Anderson the company that enabled Enron to work't's wonders in the US?
Anonymous at 12:55 to Anonymous at 2:39:
"Precisely how many Conservative MPs have gone on extended sick leave?"
Does it matter? Okay, so Margaret Moran has stretched it further than some "I'm sick, I can't work, I can't represent my constituents although I can retain my salary & perks". How is that fundamentally different from Conservative MPs who've announced their intention to stand down at the next election but don't have the guts to stand down now and force by-elections because they want to hold on to their salary/perks? Labour MPs are tainted with the same brush, of course. The only one who stood down immediately was Ian Gibson, and that was more revenge than principle. Not that I altogether blame him for that. All of Gordon's friends have been protected, all of Cameron's friends have been protected. I am not condemning one lot over the other lot, I am in fact a natural Conservative voter, but it is a huge cesspool of corruption & favouritism and the Conservative party is not exempt.
In view of his flipping and the extent of the fiddles surely Taton should be given the opportunity to divest itself of Osborne as soon as practicable? Hamilton hung in there and stood again, they deserve a break.
Cameron also managed a fair profit from his second home, Whitney has not spoken yet I understand, contrary to the Leader's recommendations to his colleagues re meetings about one's expenses being good for the soul or whatever . .
Post a Comment