Monday, November 05, 2007

More on Communications Allowances

Over the last few weeks, I have occasionally posted on the absolutely outrageous 'Communications Allowance' by which an individual sitting MP can spend £10,000 per year on glossy leaflets to support a re-election campaign. The shocking aspect of this is that it is entirely within the rules that Parliament has written for itself. Its a legal disgrace. It really is almost beyond belief that some MPs are not satisfied with this huge electoral benefit - and go beyond even these rules to secure an even bigger advantage.

When I first posted on this issue, I did not think of it as being directed at any political party. I suspected that MPs of all parties would have used this allowance. If I were an MP, and given a 'Communications Allowance', I may well have used it myself - for genuine communication rather than for the blatantly personal promotional material that I've seen. MPs are supposed to be 'Honourable Members' after all!! However, I note on today's ConservativeHome that this is not necessarily always the case. It names several Labour MPs of possibly breaking the rules, including Ruth Kellly, the Transport Minister who has already apologised to the Sergeant-at-Arms. The other names mentioned are Bridget Prentice, Gisela Stuart and Julie Morgan, all Labour MPs. At the very least, wherever this allowance has been improperly spent it should be refunded.

5 comments:

Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats said...

Plaid may have stretched the rules, too.

Anonymous said...

snouts, pigs and troughs come to mind.

Glyn Davies said...

Frank - I genuinely have no idea who has broken the rules, except that it does look very much as if Ruth Kelly has done so. In a comment to an earlier post, you made reference to Ashcroft and Goldsmith helping fund my party. Let us set aside the absence of any grounds for your comparison. I know nothing about any Goldsmith support - but I have read quite a lot about Ashcroft. His support to candidates in marginal seats in nothing remotely as much as the trade unions contribute to Labour's marginal seats campaign. And I'm not at all sure that your party has much firm ground to stand on when it comes to large scale political donations.

Ithel said...

It is interesting to note that,of the ten highest spending MPs,eight are labour MPs and two are liberal democrats.

Glyn Davies said...

I don't criticise MPs for using their allowances - in the manner they were intended. And any 'list' has to be looked at carefully because MPs living in rural areas, furthest away from London will inevitably spend more on travelling etc. It does seem odd though that the list is so orientated towards one party.

I do criticise the very existance of the scandalous 'Communications Allowance' which can so easily be abused. And those who carry this particular allowance into the realms of the illegal almost begger belief.