Friday, 21 March 2008

Snouts in the Trough

I think that we are all aware that the majority of MPs have been abusing their generous expense allowance. Recently the Guido Fawkes BLOG offered an opportunity to download details of these expenses which I did. I was amazed at the audacity of some of these people so I decided to experiment. When I was a government official our expenses claims were scrutinised rigorously for discrepancies. We could only claim 'official' mileages and each journey had to be authorised.

By using Autoroute I noted the mileage from London to the constituencies of each MP who seemed to be claiming the most. I know that this is an inexact science but it was a bit of fun so I divided the amount claimed by the mileage to the constituency. This gave me the cost of one journey so I then allowed them 50 return trips to their constituencies per year. That way I could discover just who was costing us the most.

Obviously the most expensive MPs generally lived in the wilds of northern Scotland and bearing in mind that they already have their own parliament in Edinburgh it does seem to be an expensive indulgence. One name did appear in the top ten however, who did not represent a constituency north of Glasgow. Phil Woollas (Lab) (218 miles from London)was claiming as if he represented a Highland constituency. Over £10000 for railfare, almost £6000 for car travel and over £7000 for air travel all this to get to Oldham for heaven's sake! His trips according to my little calculation worked out at £1.07 per mile. He stands out like a sore thumb at the top of the heap and I didn't expect to find anyone worse but hang on a mo.

Over at Doncaster (181 miles) I came across Rosie Winterton (Lab) who worked out at £1.28 per mile. She claimed almost a grand more than Charlie Kennedy and he represents Skye! There were other rather expensive MPs like Angela Browning a Tory from (Tiverton and Honiton), John Grogan Lab (Selby) and Alan Meale (Mansfield) but they paled into insignificance when I tumbled across Robert Wilson Con from Reading East (41 miles)who claimed £16900 and became the first MP to cost us over £4 a mile!

Surely he had to be the limit but my goodness no he wasn't because down at Croydon(11 miles)resides Richard Ottaway (Con) and it cost the public purse £13270 to transport him to and fro from Croydon which works out at £6.03 per mile. Now just possibly he travels every day but most of us pay for that ourselves. I have never been able to claim my fares to get to and from work on a daily basis.

I can already hear you thinking that nobody could get worse than that but then I nearly fell off my chair! The MP from Hampstead (5 miles) claimed travel expenses of...wait for it...£12266 which works out at £24.53 per mile!! So I award the title of SOW OF THE YEAR to Glenda Jackson (Lab). Nice one Glenda!

It would not be fair to ignore some of the better snouts like David Taylor Con (NW Leics)£1.45, Malcolm Moss Con (NE Cambs) £2.18, Mike O'Brien Lab (N Warwicks) £1.47and Paul Clarke Lab (Gillingham) the PPS to Ed Balls who clocked up a whopping £4.10 per mile!

I think that the auditors should be looking at this but then if they are not going to refer Derek Conway to the police then what is the point of any checks at all!!

4 comments:

Thatsnews said...

Nicely done! However, it might be worth doing another analysis on these figures.

What about a "where the hell is my constituency?" list?

Some MPs might not make that many visits to their constituency, yet would still clock up a tremendous bill for expenses.

Let's take two fictional examples.

Bill Williams MP for Nowhere-in-the-Country, 200 miles from Westminster who claims £10,000 for travel expenses yet who only visits his constituency once a month and who rarely holds surgeries.

and Bill W. Williams MP for Nowhere At-all, whose constituency is 200 miles from his constituency and claims £15,000 for his travel expenses.

Yet who tries to get back to his constituency every day and who holds surgeries in different parts of his constituency at least twice a week.

Who would be better value for money?

bryboy said...

That's right my friend but as I said it is an inexact science! I am sure that dear Glenda would justify her rather large expense allowance and to be fair I think that I should look for the honest MPs as well. Er there must be one or two somewhere but it might take a bit more time to locate them.

Thatsnews said...

Strange as it may seem the name of Glenda Jackson did cross my mind as I was reading your article.

Glenda will be good at screwing her expenses to the max (even though she lives locally) as she spent years as an actress doing the same with expenses accrued whilst working for various theatres, film makers and broadcasters. Old habits die hard? Or is Glenda the type of champagne socialist who considers it to be her 'right'?

Is Glenda Jackson any good as an MP? I get the impression -rightly or wrongly- that she is merely playing a role. She pretended to be Queen Elizabeth I for money, now she is playing the part of an MP for money.

Not the hardest role in her acting career. No script to study, no lines to learn. Just the basic outline from the director for a bit of improv and you enter into a soap opera that has run far longer than even The Archers.

A great retirement gig for an actor or actress who doesn't want to bother with rehearsals, line learning or the like.

Thatsnews said...

Strange as it may seem the name of Glenda Jackson did cross my mind as I was reading your article!

Glenda will be good at screwing her expenses to the max (even though she lives locally) as she spent years as an actress doing the same with expenses accrued whilst working for various theatres, film makers and broadcasters. Old habits die hard? Or is Glenda the type of champagne socialist who considers it to be her 'right'?

Is Glenda Jackson any good as an MP? I get the impression -rightly or wrongly- that she is merely playing a role. She pretended to be Queen Elizabeth I for money, now she is playing the part of an MP for money.

Not the hardest role in her acting career. No script to study, no lines to learn. Just the basic outline from the director for a bit of improv and you enter into a soap opera that has run far longer than even The Archers.

A great retirement gig for an actor or actress who doesn't want to bother with rehearsals, line learning or the like, any more.