Friday, 2 November 2012

Rotherham MP stands down:

I consider it the highest honour to be an elected representative in Her Majesty's Parliament. At a time when we are trying to rehabilitate parliament in the eyes of the population it is a disaster that this man has behaved as he has. I accept it will affect parliament's standing in the eyes of the people, and I am really saddended by that, irrespective of which political party this gentleman belongs to.
The facts are these: this morning the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (the MP’s “watchdog”) recommended that Denis MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham, be suspended for 12 months for submitting expenses invoices which were, in the Commissioner’s words, “plainly intended to deceive” the Parliament’s expenses authority. They found that he submitted 19 false expenses invoices worth £12,900, over four financial years between 2004 and 2008, for "research and translation" work carried out by the European Policy Institute. Subsequently Mr MacShane resigned today as an MP.

The BBC has the full story here:
Although many people would not believe me such abuses are very rare in the post 2010 parliament - please note these offences date from the time of expenses problems in 2004-2008, which is a different era in my view. I remain of the view that things have changed in the modern post 2010 Parliament, with half the MPs now being new MPs; but it is also right for rogue MPs to be booted out when we do wrong in this way.
In the longer term it will mean that there are to be 2 by elections in the North in the spring in Middlesbrough, and now Rotherham.