My new pet hate

When people justify themselves with nothing more than “it was within the rules!”.  A number of MPs from all parties are doing it over the recent controversy with MP expenses/allowances etc.

It is one of the biggest beef that I have with Alan Keen.  Questions that have been asked, over a number of years, about his second property.  I realise that the public are unstandably angry about some of the things that have been claimed for by MPs but I have said for a number of years that the second home issue is the one that needs resolving most urgently.  I completely understand that MPs from most parts of the UK, especially constituencies outside of the M25, need somewhere to live in London.  I do not see why we as taxpayers cannot fund the purchase of a few hundred dwellings for MPs to live in whilst in London, BUT put an end to the prospect of MPs building a nest egg for their future.  The properties will rightly be an asset of the taxpayer and a recognition of the fact that accommodation is required.  THIS SHOULD NOT APPLY TO LONDON MPs! If elected as MP, I will continue to live in F&H and will do what any other London commuter would do e.g. use a bus, tube, train, my own car or even a taxi (if one is needed after a very later night debate, for example).  I am pleased that the Conservatives have announced that those living in Greater London / 20 miles / within reasonable distance would not be able to claim for its proposed Transparent Parliamentary Allowance.

One of Mr Keen’s Southall supporters recently claimed in the Chronicle that the increase in my Special Responsibility Allowance for being Deputy Leader of the London Borough of Hounslow was  no different to the fact that there has been no explanation from Mr Keen.

Here is the text of my response, which was not published:

“Sir,

I was not surprised to read the letter from Southall resident, P Haling, claiming that I am throwing stones because I have reminded Alan Keen MP that he needs to follow through on a public assurance he gave in 2005 to explain why he needs his constituents to fund a second property in order to fulfil his role.

P Haling could not be more wrong to draw a parallel between this and the increase in my Special Responsibility Allowance for being Deputy Leader of the Council, indeed his attempt strengthens my point, as I informed my Feltham North constituents of this increase in a Half Year Report and I explained that the increase was used to fund a 20% reduction in my hours at my place of work.  The comparison between Alan Keen and I could not be more striking on this matter.  I followed through by explaining my position as soon as was possible.  After nearly four years of giving his assurance, Mr Keen has not done so!

Yours Faithfully,

Mark Bowen
Parliamentary Candidate for Feltham & Heston
Helen Avenue, Feltham”

I understand that the electorate may not always agree or like explanations, but it is incumbent upon all politicians to explain themselves and say say more to justify themselves than “it is within the rules”.

How about applying ethics?

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