Friday 29 May 2009

You know who you are and I'm watching you

Lobbydog has learnt of an MP who has been haranguing other members not to release their expense documents to the press before those of all MPs are officially put into the public domain.

You have to remember that most of the 646 MPs have still not been covered in detail.

I would name the individual, but for respect for my source who gave the information strictly off the record.

But know that I’ll be going through this person's expenses with a fine comb when they eventually come out.

Understatement of the day

An MPs' report explored the idea of giving free bus travel to all five to 19 year olds today.

The Government already spends £1bn on a scheme for older and disabled people while DfT estimates the new project could cost an extra £1.4bn.

Before recommending it they wrote:

"If the current statutory concession were extended to young people in full time education, well over half of all bus journeys in England would be made by people travelling for free. Such numbers of people travelling for free could distort the current bus market."

You don't say.

New Labourette learnt young – policy beats presentation

I hated over-competitive kids at school. You could always spot them at the annual Halloween party.

While everyone else wore a witch’s hat and cape, there was always one who’d get a costume professionally made – with red ink squirting from a fake cut or something.

Georgia Gould – Lord Gould's daughter who was caught in Tessa Jowell’s (non-existent) bribe scandal – may’ve been just one of those kids.

After failing to get nominated to fight a parliamentary seat the London bred New-Labourette has now been chosen to fight Camden’s Kentish Town Ward in forthcoming local elections.

The Camden New Journal reports:

Former classmates said her interest in politics has not been whipped up overnight.

“When she was 15, she ran in the school’s mock general election with Alex Birtles, the daughter of Patricia Hewitt,” said one.

“They had their Labour Party posters printed at Millbank, when everyone else was using clip art and felt tip. They still didn’t win because the Green Party candidates promised to legalise cannabis.”

Thursday 28 May 2009

Mistake and Kidney

How in the name of jumping jehosifa did Stafford MP David Kidney not notice hundreds of pounds extra in his bank account?

Everyone loses track of their finances sometimes, but Kidney’s case defies belief.

I only highlight it because I had the chance to flick through some of his claim forms – which were in terrible disorder – while a regional hack colleague investigated them more thoroughly.

Without that person’s keen eye and maths the “mistake” – that he was paid three times for one council tax bill and twice for one water bill – would have been missed.

The Telegraph seemed to overlook his case at first.

It was only after this hack hounded Kidney that the Labour MP took the case to the fees office, who confirmed the hack’s suspicion.

The fees office told Kidney in a letter:

“I have now had an opportunity to review your claims and can confirm that your council tax bill for 2007-08 has indeed been paid on three occasions.

In reviewing the documentation it has also become clear that your water bill for 2007-08, to the value of £290.80, was also paid twice.”

How did it take them so long to work out and why didn’t Kidney, who has now paid money back, realise there was so much extra cash on his bank statement?