MPs need to be whiter than white

WHAT is it about becoming an MP that makes some of them totally blind to the basic law of politics - that you have to be seen as being whiter than white as well as being whiter than white?Home Secretary Jacqui Smith got into hot water about which one of her addresses she should declare as her “second home.

WHAT is it about becoming an MP that makes some of them totally blind to the basic law of politics - that you have to be seen as being whiter than white as well as being whiter than white?

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith got into hot water about which one of her addresses she should declare as her “second home.”

I remain to be convinced that she's done something wrong - but the whole controversy didn't do her any favours.

But her actions, whether dodgy or not, pale in comparison to the way fellow minister Tony McNulty has been claiming an allowance for his parents' home over the last few years.


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I'm sure Mr McNulty took great care to ensure that he hasn't actually broken any rules in making the claim. But frankly whether rules were broken or not, his action stinks!

It is ludicrous for any MP representing a London seat to need a second home in the capital - there is a perfectly good public transport system with buses, tubes, and even trams to ensure that you are never more than about 30 minutes away from the House of Commons.

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If people are prepared to commute from Ipswich or further afield to work in London, why on earth should we pay MPs who represent London seats to live nearer Westminster?

Mr McNulty's actions are even worse because he doesn't actually live at the property he is claiming for - it's his parents' home.

I hope he gives them the allowance, but I'm not sure that I really see why we should be paying for the parents of ministers as well as the ministers themselves!

Assuming all this is strictly according to the rules, then the rules need to be changed quickly.

I still believe that most MPs of whatever party are in Westminster because they genuinely want to make the world a better place as they see it.

But their cause is not helped when stories like that involving Mr McNulty this week hit the headlines.

EAST of England Tory Euro-MP Christopher Beazley isn't someone I've ever met - but I do have some sympathy for him as he faces the end of his career in Strasbourg.

During the 1970s many keen young politicians with an interest in Europe joined the Conservative Party because that was always seen as the pro-EEC party.

Labour had always been lukewarm on the Common Market. Its leaders were split on whether to go in or not and even those who were in favour didn't seem that interested in the continent (with the exception of Roy Jenkins and his colleagues who joined him to found the SDP).

The Tories, however, were unashamedly pro-Europe. Everyone in the party from Ted Heath to Margaret Thatcher supported going in. The only dissenting voice came from Enoch Powell who flounced out of the party in protest.

Presumably Mr Beazley was one of those enthusiastic young Europeans, like Ken Clarke and John Gummer, who then found that their party had been hijacked by a bunch of Anti-Europeans.

The Lady was for Turning on Europe and led most of the rest of her party with her - and while David Cameron has returned the party to the mainstream on most issues, on Europe he still seems to be held hostage by his right-wingers.

So he is threatening to pull the Tories out of their alliance with the Centre-Right parties at Strasbourg in favour of linking up with a bunch of more extreme right wingers from Eastern Europe.

Clearly Mr Beazley doesn't like the look of some of his party's new friends and has made the courageous decision to step down rather than having to sup with the devil.

It is a great shame that a politician who clearly has such strong principles can't find a place in his own party any more.

WHILE the Tories' right-wing European agenda has upset Mr Beazley, David Cameron is proving to be too left-wing for some of his party grandees who are appalled at the prospect of raising taxes on high-earners.

They can't stomach the fact that the Tories are set to retain a higher level of income tax for those earning more than �150,000 a year so the government can pay back money it has borrowed to see us through the recession.

I sincerely hope Mr Cameron doesn't listen to the likes of bumbling Boris Johnson and Lord “semi house-trained polecat” Tebbit and give in to these voices.

Anyone who earns �150,000 a year or more is fabulously wealthy in comparison to the vast majority of us and should have some responsibility to pay extra to help the less fortunate members of society.

And if they are so selfish that they are not prepared to pay anything back into the society that wants to give them such great rewards, then Britain would be better off without them!

If Messrs Johnson and Tebbit want to be seen as the defenders of greed and avarice then that is their right - but they shouldn't try to hijack their party into supporting their extremist views.

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