A few weeks ago, I received an email from a friend informing that Montgomeryshire's MP was lecturing on a cruise liner in the Mediterranean. "So what" I thought. Another friend of mine, an authority on wildlife, does the same thing. No reason why an MP shouldn't do that in September, as long as any benefit is recorded in the Register of Member's Interests. Forgot all about it.
And then on Monday of this week, my office received another email from a very disgruntled businessman from Torquay. I telephoned him to check it wasn't a wind-up. Initially, I decided to ignore it completely. But there were other recipients of the email from 'Disgruntled of Torquay' - and its contents have appeared in the Daily Mail and the Shropshire Star yesterday, and The Sun today. In the interests of accuracy, I reproduce the content of the email. It was dated December 5th..
"Today, I returned from my one and only holiday this year.
I was on board the Cruise ship Queen Victoria. For the last five days of this cruise your local MP was also on board giving two lectures. I only attended the first. It was the most sickening self serving rubbish I have ever heard. Essentially, he was trying to convince his audience that MPs were alright really. He even laughed off the fact that he's been exposed for claiming the value of a wig for what was supposed to be a charity event.
It is also interesting to note;
He must have got paid for this either in kind or in money terms.
Parliament is sitting. Why could he not do this while Parliament is in recess? Teachers do not get to go on holiday in term time, so why do those who are governed have to follow different rules from those who govern?
What would his constituents think about him going off on a holiday cruise liner while Parliament is sitting, and while there is the mother of all recessions on? Making money to boot.
On his blog there is an entry on 1st or 2nd December (i.e. while he was on this ship) calling on Liberal activists to meet in Asda's on Friday to campaign. So the little people do the work on a rainy Friday in Britain and Lembit lives it up in First Class on a luxury liner. Very egalitarian. I bet they would love him for that....
Just thought you might like to know."
I'm not in a position to know how much, if any, of this is true - but I do note that his office manager in Montgomeryshire has reported to have responded with "No comment". Problem with this is that it reflects on all of us who are, or want to be MPs. This afternoon, I was walking down Broad Street in Welshpool, when a stranger was rather rude to me. Seems that he had read Kelvin Mackensie's article in the Sun today, and wanted to (how shall I put this?) 'share his opinion' with me. After my protestation that I knew nothing of the article, he marched off shouting "You bl**dy politicians are all the bl**dy same" Well excuse me, but we're not. In Montgomeryshire there's David Rowlands (Ukip), Heledd Fychan (Plaid) and myself all very keen to represent Montgomeryshire at Westminster - and if elected, I cannot imagine any of us going on a 'private, paid for' holiday while Parliament is sitting. All three of us campaign, at significant cost to ourselves, striving for the opportunity to represent Montgomeryshire. No sir, we are not all the bl**dy same. Anyway, I feel better now that's off my chest.