Friday, 19 March 2010

Openness from Lib Dems but What of Labour and Tories

I can remember where I was when I first heard of the Dolphin Square property situation, I was preparing Lib Dem posters ahead of last year's European election.It was at the height of the MPs expenses scandals that the Lib Dem MPs raised the issue with the Standards and Privileges Committee. The one reaction of those around me was "stupid".
The fact that the payment was made by the landlord in return for them agreeing to pay higher rates meant that the payment should have been made to the public purse rather than their own pockets. I think you will hear within hours that Richard Younger-Ross, John Barrett, Sandra Gidley and Paul Holmes will all be announcing that they plan to return that payment. After all they referred themselves to the committee for a ruling that has now duly been given.
However, I also know names of other MPs from the other parties who lived there and also accepted the payment. As Nick Clegg said:
"I am very pleased that Lib Dem MPs acted promptly and correctly in referring themselves and making clear they would comply with the recommendations of the committee.

"In stark contrast, nearly a year later, Labour and Conservative MPs who accepted the offer from the Dolphin Square landlord have neither referred themselves nor been referred by their parties."

So before anybody from the other parties gets to uppity about the named Liberal Democrats you have to ask why the members of other parties haven't come forward to the committee or their own parties. The Standards and Privileges Committee have said, while asking those known to apologise and repay, that they are aware of other MPs having accepted "cash windfalls", but said it had no information as these had not been referred to it or the subject of complaints. It currently is a case of those who have owned up are getting tarred with a brush that those who have taken no action are getting away with.

This post has been sent via email therefore spacing and fonts may not appear at my usual standard. Also there may be links to other relevant blog entries or other content added later today along with adding the correct tagging.


  1. Do you believe that John Barrett should pay back all of the money he received or, as looks likely to be the case, only half?

  2. Jeff I say this with the fact that John has been a great friend of West Lothian Liberal Democrats and myself, past, present and promised future.

    But as I said above I fully expected all of them to pay back in full. The party has allowed MPs to make appeals where there has been questions over retrospective limits imposed etc, but that is not the case there.

    I'm just waiting for other Scottish residents of Dolphin Square to also come forward and pay back, before they get tracked down as a result of this decision.