Not a good week for the Lib Dems.

Preaching about how the expenses scandal is all down to corruption in politics and how it would all be solved under the Lib Dems is all well and good – until your own CLP comes under fire for irregularities. Sarah Teather, MP for Brent East has famously jumped on her high horse over the expenses scandal, preaching from the pulpit. “What planet were MPs living on?” she asks.

Thanks to some stellar work by Political Scrapbook, Brent Lib Dems may have a lot of explaining to do (note here: do read Political Scrapbook’s investigations into this, makes for essential reading).

But, to summarise:

  • Teather has been accused of sub-letting her constituancy premises to the political campaigning wing of Brent Lib Dems, although Parliamentary rules prevent sub-letting and expense claims that relate to political activity. Harrow Observer were later told that the office is not a sub-let but a shared tenancy. Political Scrapbook points out that Brent Lib Dems haven’t paid rent for the last five years. So, as PS asks, “perhaps this is some kind of special tenancy where the taxpayer picks up the tab for Liberal Democrat political campaigning?”
  • It also turns out that Brent Lib Dems don’t only share an office, they also share a telephone system.
  • And like the office rent, Brent Lib Dems didn’t pay out for phone bills. PS also notes that in the last four years, the itemised bills have been claimed back in Teather’s expenses.

This isn’t looking good at all – especially when one considers that the total cost of phonecalls went up substantially around local election time.

(credit once again to PS)

I’ve personally had enough of the expenses issue, to the point where seeing another story about this-MP-claiming-that drove me to “end it now” despair. But this isn’t just a dodgy claim – it’s hypocrisy too, and that I can’t stand. If you’re going to self-profess yourself as a saint, make sure you are one. If not, berating other MPs when your record isn’t clean is the kind of hypocrisy I don’t like to see in politics.

Of course, the Lib Dems woes don’t exactly get any better. One of their candidates (well, now ex-candidate) has quit amid an email race row.

Additionally, Plymouth Lib Dems have been suspended by Lib Dem HQ due to infighting and disputes. After losing two chairmen in the past five months, the party’s London HQ suspended the branch. Additionally, the Western Morning News notes that financial irregularities are currently under investigation.

Another one?!

Trouble on the centre left? If this week is anything to go by, I’m inclined to agree that something’s not right with those Dems.

Explanations are very much required!

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2 Comments

  1. It sounds like she’s been caught out fair and square, however in the grand scheme of things its about as low down on the ladder of political corruption as you could get. Its not like she’s been gaining financially out of this arrangement like so many of her peers, its merely offset some smallish costs that would have been incurred by the local branch of the party.

    In these credit crunched times it makes sense to economise where you can, I understand that the Labour Party are in a mountain of debt. If they’d bent the rules and not been so profligate then maybe they’d be in a much better situation than they are currently.

    Maybe Sarah could advise them on how to cut down on expenditure! (They clearly seem incabable on any level)

  2. This is what a real expenses scam looks like:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6999858.ece

    “A LABOUR MP pretended his daughter was his landlord so he could claim almost £13,000 in expenses from the Commons for “renting” a flat that he himself owned.”

    I hope the authorities are as eager to imprison this man as they are ‘common’ benefits cheats. Nobody should be above the law.


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