Sunday, November 04, 2007

Ruth Kelly should Refund the Money

Rarely do I become 'Outraged of Berriew'. But I have posted before about the outrage that invades my soul whenever I'm reminded of the 'Communications Allowances' that our MPs have access to. As far as I can see, it is nothing more than a licence to spend taxpayer's money for election purposes. Most of the MPs stick within the rules of course - but wasn't it the most amazing coincidence that before we knew that the Prime Minister was going to 'chicken out' of calling an election (please notice that this blog does not use 'bottle out' because of the lavatorial connotations of the phrase) MPs were distributing thousands of glossy leaflets and newspapers telling their constituents how fantastically hard they have been working. I still remember the Labour MP for Chester on Newsnight almost boasting to Michael Crick that she had distributed about 40,000!! I've had dozens of Lembit Opik's glossies given to me. I wish I could bottle the outrage they exhibit when I tell them that they the taxpayer probably forked out for them!

But Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary went too far, according to today's Mail on Sunday. The MoS claims that she used her 'Communications Allowance' to distribute leaflets repeatedly using the words Labour, Labour Party and Labour Government. It was reported that she has apologised and will contact the Sergeant-at-Arms - and abide by his decision as to what she should do. She shouldn't need telling. She should pay it back. MPs, and Cabinet Ministers in particular should not be using taxpayers money to pay for their election campaigns.


Mountjoy said...

In any other job, this misuse of public money would be considered fraud and the individual would be sacked and / or face prosecution.

It amazes me that cabinet ministers and MPs can get away with what would land ordinary members of the public in a lot of trouble.

Glyn Davies said...

mountjoy - the worst aspect of this is that, through careful wording, it is all entirely within the rules. According to the MoS, Ms Kelly was not sufficiently careful - and was caught.

Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats said...

The exposed Labour members cannot be excused, but one should point out the huge amounts of money which your party is (legally) throwing at Westminster marginal seats, thanks to Ashcroft and Goldsmith.