Expenses scandal: How did our MP perform?

Brockley's local MP Joan Ruddock claimed £131,237 in expenses in 2007/08, according to this Google spreadsheet.

Ms Ruddock, the MP for Lewisham & Deptford, is 523rd out of 645 MPs listed - not too bad. Specifically, she did not claim any expenses for her family or spouse, and she didn't claim the second homes allowance (all of which is understandable as she lives in London).

Her main expenditure was on staffing (£89,000) and office costs (£23,000), plus £6,000 on stationery and postage and £1,100 on IT.

She used £8,900 of the communications allowance, and claimed £471 in travel costs (consisting of £71 in Europe and £400 mileage) and a £2,800 London living supplement.

Perhaps most pertinently, how did she compare to other London-based MPs? BC counts over 20 MPs in the greater London area who are below Ms Ruddock in the list, and around 15 above her. So she's about average, we'd say.

(If anyone from the Telegraph happens to be reading this and fancies giving us a preview of Ms Ruddock's claims in detail, do drop us an email ...)

87 comments:

Bearded Socialist said...

I think that's all pretty reasonable. It's wrong that staff should be counted as an expense, and probably the office stationary etc. too

Anonymous said...

Oh yes that's fine,Only £131,000,maybe she should ask for a bonus for not claiming too much

Anonymous said...

And what of that 'staff'? A student on work experience, it's going to be a shock to them when they see how much they've been paid.

fred vest said...

"Oh yes that's fine,Only £131,000,maybe she should ask for a bonus for not claiming too much"

bear in mind her partner who she lives with, frank doran, is also an honourable member (aberdeen north) and he makes full use of the second home allowance, claiming about £142k over the last 7 years for a house in aberdeen

drakfell debaser said...

I can't access the spreadsheet at the moment but £131IK is still a lot of money in one year in my opinion. If you use her claim as an average then the drain on the public purse is over £64 million a year, just for expenses.

I would be interested to know how many staff she hires for the £89K

Ex-staffer said...

Many MPs employ 2 or 3 paid staff, usually one in Westminster and one or two in the constituency.
The staff budget will also include money for employers national insurance contributions and so on so actually it's not £89K that has gone directly in pay to Joan Ruddock's staff.
Another important point to note is that MPs staff are paid directly through the House of Commons - the money for staffing does not at any point pass through the hands of the employing MP.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm correct in saying that our fragrant deputy mayor used to be in the employ of Ms Ruddock

I wonder how much she and the mayor claim in expenses...

Item 1: going to meeting with resentful residents claiming that Brockley Cross roundabout is a 'death trap'; 3hrs at £500 an hour = £1500

kerching!

Bearded Socialist said...

Most MPs staff are usually on low 20sK, which is nothing compared to what most comparable jobs pay.
The stick they are now getting is disgusting

Tamsin said...

You didn't need the spread-sheet. She has been up-front about her expenses on her own website for months and months - before any of this started breaking.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't sound too bad at all to me - the headline figure is pretty meaningless when you realise most of it is staff costs.

As for the Aberdeen house - sounds reasonable again - £20k per year to run a house doesn't sound outrageous to me.

There are clearly some MPs with their noses deep in the trough (the "flipping" of main residences definitely looks dodgy), but in many respects it seems like a storm in a teacup.

Anonymous said...

I'd imagine if a lot of Brockley Central users were placed under the same job performance scrutiny many of them would find themselves out of a job.

Bearded Socialist said...

I agree with that comment above, storm in a tea cup most def

Anonymous said...

In the tradition of BC I think it's only fit that the discussion lasts for some time causing many people to become heated and eventually fizzle out to no conclusion whatsoever.

Tamsin said...

Each in individual point is, I agree, minimal in the scheme of things but the overall effect is significant - that large numbers of those who claim to have the integrity to govern and legislate on our behalf were milking the system for all it is worth.

What is also nauseating is the way they rfegularly voted themselves pay increases, tried to get in exemptions from FOI and attempted to remove the one man protest from Parliment Square by making legislation retrospective.

An answer to second homes that would be firm to the point of smacking of Soviet Russia but fair would be to establish that MPs are expected to have a main base in their constituency (they are - if I have it right - after all there half the time from Thursday evening to Monday lunchtime). There should then be publicly owned blocks of furnished appartments close to Westminster - bedroom, study/second bedroom, kitchenette and recection - to function as pieds are terre for serving MPs during the working week the tenure of which (rent free)is tied to the job. These would be serviced and paid for out of the public purse. On travel, except where the rail journey is more than three hours in which case flying might be allowed, they are issued with rail warrants for that weekly commute. (Bulk buying of these could probably get even first class seats at a sigificant discount from the rail companies.)

Ideally prospective parliamentary candidates should live in their constituency anyway, but if you are MP for Huddersfield and choose to maintain your holiday cottage in Devon or your family manor in Bedford that is down to you - along with the incidental expenses of multiple homes.

Lots of gaps, I know - but something to start with...

Tamsin said...

Oh dear, did not check that well -
"regularly", "reception" and "pieds a terre" (or do I mean "pied a terres"?).

fred vest said...

"She has been up-front about her expenses on her own website for months and months "

to be fair, she's only put on her own website what has been available publically elsewhere for years and years

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/joan_ruddock/lewisham,_deptford#expenses

last july she put out a rather strongly worded statement on her website denying claims from a national newspaper about improprierty (sp?) with regard to her and frank's expenses, threatening anyone who talked about it with legal action and saying everything was 'within the rules' - the story about her was never actually printed however and she swiftly took the statement down the next day, which ended up raising more questions than it answered

Monkeyboy said...

Yep, we're in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Nothing wrong with legitimate expenses for someone who is supposed to represent thousands of people on the national stage. Researchers, secretarial staff and yes stationary. But the second home thing is a shocker, if you have to pop to London to sit in parliament you don't need a dirty great house with or without moat - a decent one bedder would do.And if you loose your seat you would be expected to sell it and pay back the profit to the tax payer??

For all those who complain about the media, it looks like the papers have exposed something more significant than Kerry Katona's breasts.

Tamsin said...

But even there the way it was done stinks. Cheque-book journalism is just as big a scandal. If something is in the public interest it is in the public interest and the information should not be hawked around in search of the highest bidder - which I understand from the beginning of the media programme which I heard on radio 4 yesterday lunchtime is effectively what happened. (Most newspapers turned it down because the information was coming out soon anyway - ultimately sold to the Telegraph at a rather knock-down price I gather. Then I got to where I was going and regrettably had to turn the radio off. A pity because it was very interesting background to the whole issue.)

Monkeyboy said...

point taken... but I think it's good that it came out before the MPs were expecting it so they had to face the music before they could 'spin' their way out of it. It does amuse me to see the MP's scrambling to pay back the money they didn't notice resting in their bank accounts. I wish I was in the position not to notice sixteen grand!

We do need a couple of MP's in court over this, just to concentrate the mind.

Tamsin said...

Have you heard that a couple of the Labour Lords may be suspended from the House (on a matter of possibly promising to promote legislation in return for payment) and if so that would be for the first time since Cromwell!

Brockley Kate said...

Say what you like about chequebook journalism, this info wouldn't have been published in this form come July (it would have been anonymised, and hence any meaningful public anaylsis would have been impossible).

I would be intrigued to know whether this is the brainchild of Ben Brogan, who had some time and space while on hiatus between the Mail and the Telegraph recently and will have wanted to make a splash for his Telegraph debut. If so, he has played a blinder imo.

Comment said...

It's important to distinguish between MP's who have acted fraudulently and those who have acted distastefully.

Tamsin said...

I absolutely agree that what we were due to get in July is completely worthless compared to what is coming out know. But if it is physically able to be sold and in the public interest to be published it ought to be given.

But that is a very pure and high moral stance to take and I am not in a position of wanting a financial cushion against losing my job because I've whistle-blown.

lenathehyena said...

Well done Joan, but wait, doesn't her husband the MP Frank Doran claim for their London house and doesn't she claim for their Scottish house?

Swifty said...

Does anyone remember an old sitcom from the 1980's set in Liverpool about families that fiddled the social? That's what all this MP expenses reminds me of.

Richard Elliot said...

Seems relatively reasonable to me unless the Telegraph throws up something suspect.

The most questionable piece, I think, is the Communications allowance which should be scrapped.

max said...

She was actively involved in trying to exempt parliament from the Freedom of Information Act though.
http://www.cfoi.org.uk/pdf/PLP.pdf

Ironically all the details of MPs expenses were not released under FoI but leaked.

Anonymous said...

This weeks Mercury quotes her as not agreeing with the parents protesting for Lewisham Bridge School and firmly behind the Council and their decisions.

Time for a rethink at the next election.

Anonymous said...

well yes, assuming you think the parents are correct. I think the greens are, on balance, for the new school.

Anonymous said...

What is the communications allowance? if it's for communicating with constituents then it's not an issue, mind you not seen much in the way of communications.

Anonymous said...

Regretably, the greens didn't figure in my re-thinking for the next election

Brockley Nick said...

Please don't post links identifying individual's homes.

Anonymous said...

even if it's in the public domain?
http://tinyurl.com/pt8zdj

Anonymous said...

She is a good MP often at local events and very approachable on issues, her office staff are very good and up on local issues when I have contacted her office (overland extension and Livesey just recently)- we also do need a new secondary school and it will have to go some where, unfortunately won't fit in Myatt Garden Primary!

Anonymous said...

"It's important to distinguish between MP's who have acted fraudulently and those who have acted distastefully."And, to be fair, the ones who have just acted normally.

Anonymous said...

Nick, do you think it would be outside this blog's remit to ask for a statement or one of those '20 questions' things from our Joan? Don't want to turn this into a local politics site but this blog does have a reasonable reach now. The Greens use it (well done them, may get my vote since I actually SEE you campaigning)would have thought she would jump at the chance. You could charge a 'communications' fee to pay for that rooftop terrace jacuzzi you've always promised yourself.

Brockley Nick said...

I'm more than happy to ask her for an interview / Q&A but I'd want it to be about local issues - rather than on this particular subject.

Doesn't hurt to ask - I'll give it a go.

Anonymous said...

Good lad, she responded to a drunken email from me (or one of her staffers did) about the Monarchy.

Me: they should shuffle off and leave us alone.

Joan: 'The issue raises strong emotions..blah, blah... I see no no reason to change the constitutional position at this time...more blah..'

Still, at least she got back to me.

Brockley Nick said...

OK - for the written request then - what are the issues which BC should ask her her views on?

(not the monarchy!)

max said...

Possible question:
When was the last time you disagreed with Lewisham Council over plans your constituents felt as being controversial?

Brockley Nick said...

To have a chance of getting an interview, the proposed questions might have to be a little less overtly hostile!

Monkeyboy said...

Joan, why are you so great?

(by the way it was my anon about interviewing Joan, couldn't be arsed to sign in to Google)

max said...

It may needs rewording but it's an important issue. What's their position about Council's policies?

I can't think of one example when any of Lewisham's 3 MPs had ever chosen to speak against proposals that the residents' opposed.
I did ask her about the pool once and the reply that I had was (apart from late) basically a press release of Lewisham Council with her signature, same for Bridget Prentice.
In fact if I have to campaign on anything involving Lewisham Council I don't even waist my time trying to contact them now.

Comment said...

Thank you for that addendum to my earlier comment anon 13.03. To add to that acting normally doesn't mean claiming nothing.

The total expenses claimed by all 646 MPs in 2007/08 amounted to £86,778,493 with £56 million spent on staff.

The controversial second homes allowance (officially called Personal Additional Accommodation Expenditure) amounted to £11,584,454. Altogether, 153 MPs – about a quarter – claimed the maximum PAAE of £23,083 and the average among those who claimed was £19,769.

There were 59 MPs who claimed nothing however 24 of those were MPs for inner London constituencies who cannot claim the PAAE. Instead they get the £2,821 London Supplement (which has been replaced from April with the London Costs Allowance of £7,500). Another 24 outer London MPs (out of 49) chose to !
That leaves 11 who claimed nothing.

Stats and analysis by Vincent Duggleby bbc.co.uk/moneybox

The Oracle said...

Keep questions to your usually non-controversial style. You know:
Do you think Brown should go?
Is he bang at it too?
Are there any compromising pictures of you at Uni?

These are the sort of questions that will leave the door open for further probing. Then, when you've got her relaxed, you can do a Paxo and throw in a quick one about expenses.

max said...

Here it is in a kind form:
"Would you tell us about that time you supported your constituents in opposing that controversial Council's proposal?"

Anonymous said...

Ques: If the Communication Fund is so you can keep your constituents informed why are you spending it on people who don't live in your parliamentary ward?

The Cat Man said...

Q: Given the councils decision to not consider brockley cross's twin roundabouts a priority for improving traffic management around brockley station, what impact do you feel the present traffic flows will have on the 3 fold increase in pedestrian traffic expected to use the nearby Brockley station after the ELL opens. Isn't this a disaster waiting to happen?

The Cat Man said...

Q: The Brockley residents welcome your attendance to help dig and plant flowers in the mantle road flowerbeds in early June. This was previously performed by the councils contractors Conways but left in a very poor condition with many plants uprooted and not planted correctly.

In order to show your commitment to local community values and green issues would you be accepting our invitation to show your commitment?

The Cat Man said...

Q: Do you support the Brockley residents campaign to part-pedestrianise Coulgate Street, thereby supporting the regeneration goals of the local community?

The Cat Man said...

Ran out of ideas now...

Anonymous said...

How come your expenses don't mention the Wickham Arms?

Anonymous said...

Re expenses as has been shown it's not the amount it's what the money has been spent on, and MP's not seeing it as a problem till it was exposed.

I think what is claimed for this/next year will be fun to trawl through.

Why don't MP's adopt the principals of the 'Budgeting Loan' that is for those on benefits?

Notice it is an interest free LOAN. There is a limit of £1,500, BUT that limit is reduced the more claimants there are.

All MP's would need to do is complete a form SF500 to apply for the loan.

This would save on the need for reviews, the forms are there, civil servants are already trained to process claims so this could be very efficent and quick to implement.

Anonymous said...

JR would be the master (mistress) of giving a bland answer to any question, and as we can rest assured that BC's level of question will probably not rise too much above the bland we have a marriage made in heaven.

Brockley Nick said...

I could trying being an aggressive misanthrope, but then that would be as productive as your last post, anon.

Comment said...

Daniel Finklestein of The Times

Adds a useful perspective on this whole thing before too many of us get carried away in thinking that all MP's are corrupt.

" Everyone knew that the rules had become baroque and that what had started as an allowance had become untaxed salary. But everyone just went along, claimed along. They clung to the authority of the Fees Office, and kept to themselves their view that the Fees Office and other House bodies were weak and useless. They kept going until... fiasco." Full article here
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/daniel_finkelstein/article6275961.ece

fred vest said...

"well yes, assuming you think the parents are correct. I think the greens are, on balance, for the new school"

i'd say they are split down the middle, sue & darren being in support of the council plans and the green left and folk like andy hewett (confirmed green candidate for greenwich & woolwich in the 2010 general election) coming out with full support for the protests against said plans

fred vest said...

"Ques: If the Communication Fund is so you can keep your constituents informed why are you spending it on people who don't live in your parliamentary ward?"

was she up to this as well? i'd heard about prentice & dowd using their allowance to leaflet wards that are to be in their constituency at the next election, and also prentice urging one of her (current) constituents to go to ruddock with their problems as said person will be in ruddock's constituency at the next election

nice

Anonymous said...

Isn't that being ever so slightly misanthropic Mr Vest?

;)

fred vest said...

absolutely - to try to shine a light on an individual's actions is pretty much exactly the same as a general hatred for humanity, anyone who says otherwise is deluded

(unless those those actions are things like slightly changing a wall, putting up a sign, etc..)

Tamsin said...

I also have run across Bridget Prentice's current constituents being directed to Joan Ruddock but I thought it was probably more likely to be a super-zealous temp in her office thinking they were doing the right thing and being bang up to date rather than any ducking of responsibility on the MP's part.
Also Bridget is standing down next election anyway and has no personal interest in leafletting the soon to be new bits of the constituency so if this is happening it is just letting people know through pure altruism.

max said...

I am in Bridget Prentice's contituency and 2 years ago I wrote to Joan Ruddock asking her to vote against the exemption to FoI for Parliament (I didn't know yet that she was instead involved with the proposal). Here's the reply I received:

"Thank you for your email. Unfortunately there is strict Parliamentary protocol which states that MPs can only deal with enquiries from their own constituents.

I am sorry we cannot be of more help."

fred vest said...

yep fair point i suppose (although this had been going on for nearly two years and she's just announced her decision to step down last month, so who knows what her intentions were back then when being a MP/under secretary in a labour administration was no doubt a more attractive option than an opposition back bench MP)

i found her comment in a letter to a constituent quite amusing:-

"Joan Ruddock will be your new MP from the next General Election"

the small matter of an election in between obviously not worth mentioning as being a determining factor in things!

fred vest said...

my post above was in reply to tamsin btw

Bearded Socialist said...

to Max

That's the same with every MP, they can only reply to their own constituents (sp?)

max said...

Yes, they can only reply to they constituents...if they so choose.

Anonymous said...

Tamsin: 2006

MPs have been accused of conspiring against the public by handing themselves another multi-million pound expenses handout - forcing taxpayers to fund the bill for spin and propaganda.MPs are allowed to use publicly-funded stationary and postage to communicate with their constituents but they are strictly banned from using them for electioneering.The 3 Lewisham Labour MP's appear to have an agreement to use taxpayers money for purposes not intended.

For example, Joan Ruddick is the only potential candiate for Lewisham Central and is using taxpayers money to begin her campaign. No other potential candiate has that allowance.

Remember she is communicating with residents who are NOT her constituents, there's only one reason she and the others have been doing it.

Anonymous said...

Tamsin: From a BBC news item 2006

MPs have been accused of conspiring against the public by handing themselves another multi-million pound expenses handout - forcing taxpayers to fund the bill for spin and propaganda.

MPs are allowed to use publicly-funded stationary and postage to communicate with their constituents but they are strictly banned from using them for electioneering.
The 3 Lewisham Labour MP's appear to have an agreement to use taxpayers money for which it is not intended.

For example, Joan Ruddick is the only candiate for Lewisham Central able to use taxpayers money to promote herself to residents who are not part of her constituency

No other potential candiate has that allowance.

She is communicating with residents who are NOT her constituents, there's only one reason she and the others have been doing it.

Anonymous said...

Bridget Prentice was sent to the naughty step 6 months ago....

In December 2008, she was reprimanded by John Lyon - the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner - for misusing her communications allowance.

She agreed to pay back the money, which had been spent on sending party political literature to voters who were outside her constituency, but who would join it at the next election as the result of boundary changes.

Tressilliana said...

I'm not following this, Anon. You say 'For example, Joan Ruddick is the only candiate for Lewisham Central able to use taxpayers money to promote herself to residents who are not part of her constituency.'

Joan Ruddock is the MP for Lewisham Deptford and as far as I know is not switching constituencies. Do you mean that she has been leafletting the bits of Lewisham Central that are being switched into Lewisham Deptford?

I haven't been paying much attention to the polls recently but I was stunned to learn that the latest national poll (OK, it's for The Sun but it's a reputable polling organisation) puts the Tories on 41%, Labour on 22% and the LibDems on 19%. Can Labour possibly claw their way back from that?

Anonymous said...

Point of information; Inner London MP's do not qualify for Additional Cost Allowance (2nd Homes) but instead recieve a London Payment of about £3,000 which is added to their salary.

Outer London MP's have the choice of the ACA or London Payment.

------------

Just checked ye olde Green books for MP's allowances, claims for mortgage interest have to be made yearly, supported by a annual statement.

Yet it's been reported an MP claimed for 18 months on a non-existent mortgage!

----------

Tressilliana said...

From what I heard Elliott Morley supplied a bank statement but it proved to be showing not payments on a mortgage (as he'd already paid that off) but payments on an endowment premium, which was a savings plan. His explanation was: 'I do my accounts in yearly bundles and I simply let the established payment run as it has for some years. I did not take sufficient notice of my accounting.' Good job he was never Chancellor of the Exchequer!

I can understand the mega-rich not knowing if they had paid off a mortgage given the complexity of their financial affairs but I have been surprised to learnt that so many MPs have lost touch with their own finances to such a degree.

Anonymous said...

To Tressilliana,

Sorry for the confusion I was trying to avoid using the same word twice.

Yes, Joan Ruddick has been leafletting parts of the borough that are being switched into Lewisham Deptford.

As an MP she has allowance to communicate with only her constiuents.

Bridget Prentice was reprimanded for using communications allowance to leaflet parts of the borough that were to be switched into her constiuency.

In the case of Bridget it was due to a mistake!

Parliamentary Standards Commission said the leaflet blunder was the result of a communications error between Ms Prentice's office and the Commons authorities.

She has agreed to repay the taxpayer for the cost of the leaflets and given an assurance that the mistake will not be repeated.
How can anyone misunderstand the following....

The Communications Allowance provides funds to allow you, as a Member of Parliament, to communicate
proactively with your constituents and inform them about your Parliamentary duties.

Neither the Communications Allowance nor House
stationery, including pre-paid envelopes, can be used for personal benefit or for party political activities or campaigning.

Anonymous said...

Tressilliana, from the Green Book...

Members are also strongly encouraged to keep mortgage
arrangements as straightforward as possible.

Complicated financial products, which may make it difficult for the Department to advise Members as to their validity, should be avoided.
The various Green Books are based on a set of principles drawn up in 1995, which make it clear what is and isn't acceptable.

------

The Standards Commissioners report into Ed Balls & Yvette Cooper's main home is interesting not for any wrong doing but the mindset of all involved in these decisions.

Granted the MP's did nothing wrong but they both claimed £16,000 ACA on the same house making a total of £32,000 in just one year.

Tamsin said...

Do get the spelling right - Joan Ruddock - with a "o" not an "i". Once might be a typo - twice looks like sheer careless ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Tampon

mum in NX said...

So Joan Ruddock thinks she is going to win this election. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha lol! It makes me feel like singing fare well, goodbye, la la la la la la (sorry cant remember all the words). No seriously it has been hell this last decade living in the north of the borough. Please Please someone just ask her to leave. Im on my knees, Im begging you all. Please, please! Get her out!

mum in NX said...

In fact I have just made up my mind that if she knocks on my door I'm gonna throw a bucket of water on her, film it and Utube it. Think of all the free publicity! and it wont cost the tax payer a penny.

Anonymous said...

I think you need a nice cup of tea and a sit down.

Monkeyboy said...

Actually there's a question, what are here views on the strip club? Does she see it as positive addition to the area - the last poster clearly does.

Tamsin said...

No - it was Bridget Prentice who was writing as if she assumed that Joan Ruddock would still be MP for Lewisham Deptford after the next election. (I imagine anything else might be a breach of party rules or "spreading alarm and despondency".) Bridget herself has pre-empted things by standing down.

I shouldn't think any sitting MP is feeling at all secure at present - we might find ourselves with an amazing reversal all over - Tories getting into previously safe Labour seats and sitting Tories also being given the boot.

Do you think Gordon Brown might be regretting not doing the decent thing and seeking a mandate from the people last summer?

patrick1971 said...

"it has been hell this last decade living in the north of the borough"Would you care to elaborate? I lived in the north of the borough from 1999 to 2008 and it was certainly far from hellish.

Tressilliana said...

At the last election Joan Ruddock got 55.5% of all votes cast. It would be one of the biggest electoral upsets on record if Labour lose Lewisham Deptford.

http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/guide/seat-profiles/lewishamdeptford

Anonymous said...

I have seen zero evidnce of Ms Ruddock whatsoever. As far as I am concerned she may as well not exist. I would expect her to be very much in evidence at the Hilly Fields Fayre and to be supporting ALL other similar local events at weekends and evenings. This is normal for an MP but we don't seen to be extracting an appropriate level of performance and community involvement from ours.

Tressilliana said...

When I was involved with my children's primary school she visited on at least three occasions. Not bad going when there must be not far off 100 schools in the borough.

fred vest said...

"At the last election Joan Ruddock got 55.5% of all votes cast. It would be one of the biggest electoral upsets on record if Labour lose Lewisham Deptford."

indeed and I can't see it happening, although i don't think it's unrealistic to see her scraping through on a much reduced percentage, say 35% - which would mean her share of the vote plummeting from the dizzy heights of 71% she got in 1997, meaning she's lost more support that she has retained over the last decade or so

(and her actual % support of all those in the constituency falling even further due to the no doubt reduction in actual voter turnout due to apathy & disillusionment)

Tamsin said...

As Minister she was in a bit of a double bind on the Fuel Poverty Bill and has been invited to the public meeting on it - I've posted in Suggest a Topic - which was rather mean of the organisers.
I caught a snippet on the Today programme yesterday (if that is not a bit of a contradiction) of Shirley Williams and Roy Hattersley regretting the imbalance now between the Executive and the Legislative arms of government. When they came into Parliament 40 years ago if you were a back-bench MP you felt you could do some good, raising issues, asking awkward questions, voting against the whip. Now there is no point so you are simply not attracting the same calibre of prospective candidate or, by and large, those with any ideals or integrity.

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