Friday, May 15, 2009

Oh Dear Ms Baird, Robocop wants you to be invetsigated by the police.

After a week that saw Vera Baird try to threaten a Church warden into not showing our film in his church, fail to take legal action against the film which exposes the truth about her and the local authority in her constituency that she has tried to protect and be exposed as trying to claim for Christmas decorations and a tree under a system that is supposed to pay the expenses that are relevant to the job, Ray Mallon, Mayor of Middlesbrough, is now calling for Ms Baird among others, to be investigated by the police. This comes on the day that the legal minister underneath Ms Baird Solicitor General of this country, has just stepped down because of all of the expenses sleaze.

Things are certainly hotting up for our Vera aren't they?

Ray Mallon calls for police investigation into MPs expenses
May 15 2009 by Sandy McKenzie, Evening Gazette

THE ROW over MPs’ expenses claims took a new turn today when Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon called for a police investigation. Here Mr Mallon, who served as a police officer for 27 years before becoming Middlesbrough’s elected Mayor in 2002, explains why he has made an official complaint to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

There are now countless examples of MPs bending the rules to their advantage but just two examples stand out to me as illustrating how the House of Commons still doesn’t understand what they have done.

First we have the increasingly ridiculous figure of the speaker Michael Martin. Instead of demanding police investigate this abuse of public funds he calls for them to instead investigate the leaking of these figures. I cannot think of a case with a better “in the public interest” defence than this one. Whoever provided this information to the Telegraph has merely informed the general public how their money has been spent. He or she should be given a medal not berated.

Secondly, earlier this week, on the day that Corus announced more than 2,000 workers on Teesside could lose their jobs (along with thousands of others in supply industries), we discover that a local MP, Vera Baird, expected constituents to pay nearly £300 for her Christmas decorations.

An eminent lawyer, Ms Baird argues there is no shame in the fact this claim was rejected. The Gazette reported her as saying: “In cases where you are not sure the claim is acceptable, you put it in.”

This mindset, clearly prevalent throughout Parliament, illustrates what has gone wrong. MPs should not be regarding expense claims as a wheel of fortune, they should not be claiming a penny from the taxpayer unless they are absolutely certain it is justified as essential to their work as an MP and if the claim is rejected they should be mortified.

The Green Book provides guidelines on MPs’ allowances and spells out that claims can only be made for expenditure necessary to perform Parliamentary duty. It actually states: “claims should be above reproach” and that members should “avoid purchases that could be seen as extravagant or luxurious”.

But I believe the reports in the Telegraph and elsewhere have exposed something far more serious than the mere insensitivity or greed of some MPs.

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