Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections

Good MP, Bad MP, Less Bad MP?

Earlier this year there was comment about an MP who had got in to “marital difficulties”. The actual story is possibly of little interest today, but the coverage is an interesting illustration of how the media can influence us. What follows is a review of just part of one story.

I normally try to reference most posts; I am not this time as the MP’s personal difficulties are not the object of this post, so I will try to maintain a bit of their privacy. The prurient can always use Google.

What is interesting is how the story can stoke up the reader.

Prime Minister David Cameron also made a veiled reference to the allegations in the House of Commons, when he said: “I know the [Party] have got other things on their mind – I think actually it’s mostly the same thing on their minds.”

Oo, Matron!

Questions about the use of hotel accommodation have chiefly focused on [MP].

Oo, nooky in hotels (at our expense!).

The MP for [Constituency not within daily travel distance of Westminster] has claimed about £90,000 in accommodation expenses since 2010/11, including £17,823.97 in 2014/15 – the period in which [MP] was said to have been having an affair with [X].

Struth! [Actually if you assume one night per day of House of Commons sitting, that is about £135 a night – steep, but this is central London. What might a journalist run up in overnight expenses?]

The vast majority of the claims have been for hotels in the London area.

This is despite [MP] owning a flat in [Inner London], which is about a 15-minute walk from the House of Commons.

What’s the expression? “Don’t shit in your own backyard”? But getting us to pay for a hotel for an “affair” when the MP has accommodation nearby – that’s sort of “double dipping”!

[MP], who separated from [their spouse] last year,

Oh, so perhaps this is not classic marital infidelity – but a separated MP having a liaison with someone who may or may not be married.

is understood to have bought the flat under previous Westminster expenses rules, which allowed [MP] to charge mortgage interest payments to his parliamentary expenses.

Still trying to have it both ways – getting a nice capital gain courtesy of us tax payers!

But when the rules changed following the MPs’ expenses scandal, [MP] became one of several MPs who chose to rent out their properties and instead claim expenses for staying in hotels or rented accommodation when in London.

Oh, so [MP] gave up getting us to fund their capital gain and chose to claim “simple” expenses like the rest of us.

There is no suggestion that the practice is against Westminster expenses rules, and MPs do not have to disclose details of any guests to the authorities.

So what is this story all about? Separated MP has liaison in accommodation that we would be paying for anyway?


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