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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Someone is going to get it in the neck...

Today David Cameron has been setting out proposals to make Tory MEPs’ expenses more transparent.

Unveiling a “right to know” form, he announced that from now on Conservative MEPs will have to set out in detail exactly how much they claim from their generous euro-expenses.

It goes a lot further in terms of transparency than any of the other parties have so far.

From now on Tory MEPs will have to say how much they claim under each of the many different types of expenses available to MEPs – their staffing allowance, their two different travel allowances, a breakdown of their general office expense, and their daily subsistence allowance.

Good news eh?

But not everyone is happy.

The BBC in Brussels have been given a memo my one of the Tory MEPs.

The (unnamed) MEP claims the plan is "direct breach of the rules of the European Parliament" and likely to bring a PR "defeat".

What total arrogance.

Of course it isn't "against the rules of the Parliament" to make them publish their expenses. Utter nonsense.

And if it is going to bring a PR "defeat" that can only be because it will expose further wrong doing - thus demonstrating why Cameron is right to do it.

Nonetheless, the MEP in question has screwed up things for the Tories massively.

Presumably the motivation of today's Tory announcement was to turn the spotlight on to the other parties. To get journalists asking them why they won't they publish the same information.

It's not like there is any shortage of potential stories in the other parties.

For instance, we do know that four Lib Dem MEPs are paying their staffing expenses directly into the Party. That would be worth 6.5 million pounds over a decade, making the EU the Liberal Democrats’ biggest donor.

So far Nick Clegg has kept schtum about this – not least because he used to do the same thing when he was an MEP. But at some point it could be a very big story. At least the Tory and Labour leaders can say they didn’t know anything about what their MEPs were up to. Not so Mr Clegg. Only a lack of media interest in the Lib Dems prevents this from becoming a big story.

But instead of turning the spotlight on such goings on, the leaked memo is likely to turn the story into a "tory splits row" (indeed, that's how the beeb are now running it).

A former colleague remarked that Andy Coulson has "only two speeds - 'attack', and 'destroy'..."

Somewhere in Brussels there is an MEP marked for deletion with extreme force.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

pah! the wingers can sod off... the same excuses used by Telecoms company execs and sales reps as to why they shouldn't be filling in detailed expenses. A couple of bottles of reasonable wine is acceptable, not detailing anything and taking the p155 isn't.
Rich, Christchurch, Dorset