The LDV 2×2 Daily View (12/5/09)

by Stephen Tall on May 12, 2009

Welcome to what’s intended to be a daily feature here on LDV: an early preview of the two big news stories of the day, and a click-though to two of the must-read Lib Dem blog posts just published. Each day a member of the LDV collective will take their turn to bagpipe fact into news*.

2 Big Stories

MPs’ expenses: paying bills for Tory grandees
The Telegraph has the most enjoyable schadenfreude story of the day, with the latest set of MPs’ expenses revelations this time focusing on the ‘estate-ocracy’ of Tory MPs. Particular faves include:

  • Douglas Hogg (aka 3rd Viscount Hailsham), MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, claimed thousands of pounds from the taxpayer for having the moat around his country estate cleared, the cost of a full-time housekeeper and her car, work to his stables, and for his piano to be tuned.
  • David Davis, MP for Haltemprice and Howden, spent more than £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on home renovations and furnishings, including a new £5,700 portico at his home in Yorkshire.
  • Sir Alan Haselhurst, MP for Saffron Walden, has claimed £142,119 for his country home over the last seven years, despite having no mortgage to pay, and a further £12,000 over five years for gardening bills at his farmhouse in Essex.
  • Speaker Martin faces no-con motion

    Controversial House of Commons Speaker Michael Martin is facing a revolt among MPs following his ill-tempered public criticism of Norman Baker and Kate Hoey for questioning his handling of MPs’ expenses in Parliament yesterday. (You can read the Hansard proceedings here). Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said Mr Martin had “misjudged it spectacularly”, while Norman noted sardonically that “he took off his umpire’s hat and put on his player’s hat.” In an unprecedented move Tory backbencher Douglas Carswell has tabled an Early Day Motion calling on Mr Martin to stand down and be replaced by a speaker with a mandate to “clean up the Commons”.

    2 Must-Read Blog Posts

    Apathy and abstinence (Fiona Whelan)

    Normally I love nothing more than being out on the door step talking to people. But today I feel truly deflated by the number of people who are adamant that they are not going to vote on June 4th because they are fed up with the conduct of politicians. Sadly we are all being condemned because of the actions of a number of MPs.

    My former history teacher, Mr Rowles, would be apoplectic at such a turn of events. He instilled in to his students that we had a duty to use our vote because of the lengths that people before us had to go to, to ensure universal suffrage. I still remember listening on Radio 4 to people in South Africa, joyful at being given the vote for the first time, some queuing for days to cast their vote.

    I too am disgusted at some of the financial claims that have been made, and can only hope that people will turn out and vote on June 4th based on our conduct in representing them at a local level.

    Michael Martin sickens me (Nich Starling)

    Mr Martin, a man not averse to taking full advantage of the expenses system and perhaps, in some eyes, being seen as just as bad as those MPs now caught out by The Telegraph, decided to launch a fierce verbal attack on Labour MP Kate Hoey and Lib Dem MP Norman Baker, both long time campaigners for greater exposure of MPs expenses. … The problems with parliament and expenses start with the systems within parliament, and Mr Martin, it appears to me, is more concerned with defending these indefensible systems and not with ensuring parliament is relevant and trusted by the electorate.

    * no prizes (sorry) if you recognised The Day Today reference.