Posts Tagged ‘MPs expenses’

Cutting hours is a red herring and wrong

March 23, 2010

I support measures that will get as close as possible to knocking the whole expenses fiasco on its head once and for all. This is not such an example.

I agree that the working hours of MPs maybe idiosyncratic to some people but I maintain that the standard of the evening debates is one of the most endearing traits of the House of Commons. I always remember going to see my first debate many years ago on a trip up with Gorseinon College. Peter Shore was speaking in the debate. Denzil Davies and Ted Rowlands were sitting near him. The standard of debate was really high and so different to the impressions people take from watching PMQs. I felt a strong sense of pride to be there.

The main outcome of what is being mooted by Sir Ian will be less Parliamentary working hours for MPs and less Parliamentary time for Legislation and Scrutiny. Neither of these would be good outcomes.

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One to watch on BBC4

February 22, 2010

I will be setting my Sky+ for this.  I will have an Executive Meeting at the time.

Brentford & Waterloo resident, Alan Keen, is one of the Characters.  I wonder whether he will write a review on his website?  I will certainly look out for one later in the week.

Is Proportional Representation an answer?

May 31, 2009

This article prompted me to post on this subject.

It would depend what the question is but if it is answer to the recent controversy over expenses, I think that this is a red herring.  This is one of those issues where my views have remained constant from when I was a teenage member of the Labour Party to now as a Conservative Parliamentary Candidate.

I accept that the First Past the Post system is not perfect but I still maintain that it is the least worst of all the options.  Despite the recent disasterous behaviour and subsequent stories about MPs, I still fundamentally believe in someone being elected to represent a defined geographical area.  Those people can be removed at an election if the electorate are not happy with them.

I am not supportive of Multi-Member systems either.

Interesting to note of another issue where Alan Keen and I agree!

What a London MP should be saying on second homes

May 26, 2009

Here.

A stark constrast to the recent explanation from Mr Keen!

Alan Keen – ‘we’ve done nothing wrong’

May 22, 2009

Here is the latest from Alan Keen.

You may also wish to check out this.   Click on numerology.

Statements from some Conservative candidates

May 21, 2009

I had a read of this earlier today.  I have sent comments of my own in.  They are as follows:

As one of the London Parliamentary Candidates, I know that there is one issue that has stood out, long before the Telegraph became involved in the way that they have recently.  That issue is London Members of Parliament being able to acquire a second property funded, either fully or partly, by the taxpayer.

The most important single commitment I wish to make to my prospective constituents in Feltham & Heston is that I would continue to live in my constituency and not require a second property, even if the rules allow it.  There is no justification of any kind for a London MP needing a publicly funded second property.

I was on the platform at the 2005 count in Feltham & Heston, along with the then victor, Alan Keen, who promised to explain why he needed a second property in order to enable him to fulfil his role.  It was only this week that we heard from him.  Much of the article will horrify most people, including Labour supporters:

http://www.hounslowchronicle.co.uk/west-london-news/local-hounslow-news/2009/05/20/alan-keen-comes-out-fighting-over-expenses-109642-23675929/

Here is the bit that will offend most hardworking people:

Mr Keen has pledged to stand his ground and argued that it would be impossible for him to do his work and make the 30 minute commute every day.

“People may say they commute into London but there are not many people who work from early in the morning to very late at night every day. It is a very unusual culture,” he said. “It seems unreasonable to some people but they don’t understand the house is active every night of every day, irrespective of whether there are votes.”

If elected, I will commute to Parliament from either Feltham Train Station or Hatton Cross Tube Station.  If the House sits very late and public transport has finished, then nothing wrong with a taxi to get me home to my family in Feltham!

I have always taken the view that no person should go short for dedicating themselves to public service and I would only claim for any legitimate expenses incurred as a result of being the MP.

Finally, the first four bullet points on Ben Jones list are ones I am already supportive of and committed to.

Mark Bowen

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate in Feltham & Heston

Telegraph turns to Mr & Mrs Keen

May 15, 2009

This is obscene!

Does Alan Keen care about the damage that this has done to his reputation?  Or does this not matter,  because it was “within the rules”?

If you are reading this Mr Keen, why is a second property – funded by Feltham & Heston residents – needed to perform your role as an MP?  You said back in 2005 that you would explain this.

Whiter than white!

May 14, 2009

During this MP Expenses scandal, I have not seen any mention of the above.  Of course, the former Prime Minister said that is what his Government would be?  Any chance of an apology or an admission of an error?  I remember being annoyed at the time but such a statement – as if any Government in the history of politics anywhere in the world has achieved this.

I continue to be shocked at what I am hearing about some of the things MPs have been claiming for.  On the positive side, the people are saying that they are not having it.  On the negative side, it remains to be seen whether politics can recover from this episode?

A horrible time for British Politics

May 12, 2009

and, indeed, for me as a Conservative!

Ever since I have been active in the Party, the perception that friends and other associates have of our party has bothered me.  I have never accepted that most in the Party are rich, snobs, out of touch etc.  The Conservatives in Hounslow are living proof of this.

I was hugely embarrassed by the stories in the Telegraph earlier today.  Some of the claims mentioned simply look incredibly out of touch to most people.

Whilst in my pursuit of getting Alan Keen to explain why he needs a second property to fulfil his role, I have genuinely been less interested in what goes on in other constituencies.  This episode clearly changes those feelings for this is hugely damaging and do not wish to defend any of the claims mentioned.

The big saving grace for me today was the Leader, David Cameron.  Leadership at its best.  I agree with other bloggers that any Leader would have been annoyed had they been in his shoes today.

My new pet hate

May 10, 2009

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?