There have been persistent stories that party whips are to blame for the corruption of many of our MPs. I have read pathetic stories which blame party whips for the very fact that so many of the MPs had to overclaim their expenses. Personally I find this defence offensive because when one elects an MP one expects and demands integrity.
My local MP is Andy Reed. We bumped into each other on a few occasions when we both worked for Leicestershire County Council. He always struck me as a personable and pleasant young man. When he was elected in 1997 in the great Tony Blair bonanza I was delighted for him. Not that I ever thought of him as being a great politician (he was much too nice) but he deserved his chance.
I have therefore taken a personal interest in his part in the Great Westminster Robbery and generally he has played it fair. There are no nasty stories (as yet) about Andy BUT and it is a very big 'but' he has claimed £90,000 for staff. His staff costs have increased by 50% in five years and I am sorry but that cannot be kosha.
I just feel that he has been encouraged to grab whatever he can because he is a very minor cog in a very large sleaze wheel but that cannot be excused. If the MP for Kettering can claim a staff allowance of £400 then why does Andy need to claim £90,000 and who does he employ for that money when he can employ House of Commons staff?
My question is... if a really good guy like Andy Reed has been corrupted to claim ridiculously high expenses by party whips then who controls the whips? Who tells the whips to tempt the MPs into loyalty by offering them riches beyond their wildest dreams... do you need an answer?