Thursday, 4 February 2010

Teddy Picker

I'm afraid that my 'no issues' verdict from Sir Thomas Legg - i.e. being given a clean bill of health on expenses - may have rather disappointed people.

Someone posing as a journalist called the office today, seeking clarification about quarterly payments made from my Incidental Expenses Provision, i.e. the office costs allowance, to a company called CIT Vendor Finance. Well, I can exclusively reveal, before the budding Woodward/ Bernstein does, that this is the photocopier rental charge. (Hold the front page...!)

I dealt with this enquiry while I was in Bill committee this afternoon. My suspicions as to why anyone was interested in my office photocopier payments on today of all days, when there are so many more suitable subjects for media scrutiny, were confirmed when I got back to the office.

I've now discovered that the so-called media interest came from the "Centre for Open Politics". And yes, a quick Google search has revealed that it's exactly who I thought it was, or rather, someone calling herself Juliet acting on his behalf. (More here too.)

This person also told a left-wing blogsite this week that Eric Pickles has said it would be: “A very dirty election...."


Tory Bear said...

Twisting the words there much Kerry?

As you will read on Left Foot Forward I clearly explained that Eric Pickles announced that Labour would be fighting a dirty election, as you well know, and therefore there was an important role for rebuttal online.

As for the Sunlight Centre. You're not that special to be the only MP to have a call from someone there today. Given the intense public interest in the expenses saga should it be any surprise that an anti-corruption group would query a suspicious sounding use of public money? It would be easier if the company in question clearly explained that they hired out photocopiers.

Thankfully I hear your staff acted in a graceful and professional manner, something you seem to find increasingly difficult.

It was not a media inquiry but part of an on going investigation by an organisation into openness and transparency in the British political system. Something you are your colleagues have held so deeply in disregard for too long.

Sorry if being questioned by a competent female made you feel uncomfortable. Instead of hiding behind cries of sexism you actually had to deal with scrutiny.

Wasn't so hard was it?


Kerry said...

Absolute tosh. I've publicly been given the all-clear by Legg who has mounted a thorough investigation into all MPs' expenses. You're telling me that querying my photocopier rental is top priority for you on a day like today when MPs from all parties are being forced to make repayments? And when my Tory opponent still hasn't come out from hiding to give her side of the story re the alleged county court judgments against her? You really are one of the bottom feeders in the political pond.

Anonymous said...

That's disgusting! Whose bottom is he feeding?

Chris Paul said...

Harry Cole - man of disguise - has ignored the "posing as a journalist" element of this narrative, though claiming "it was not a media inquiry". Strange. True to form SCOPS will read something in tomorrow's papers, or the day afters'. and then send a letter to someone and then try to pick up a tip fee from some newspaper, or failing that send them all a press release.

Clearly there are other subjects on which any reasonable anti-corruption group would be concentrating their efforts.

Not least Nadine Dorries MP.

According to contemporaneous tweeting Pickles made one of those - timing is everything - "lamejokes" about the dirtiness of the upcoming campaign.

It is rather amusing that the most coherent rebuttal campaign ever mounted by the feral conbloggers and contweeters is to news of a rather innocent arrangement between a jolly party Chair and his trusty web 2.0 activists to keep them informed. Which what's more those conbloggers and contweeters disseminated themselves.

The Boiling Frog said...

I'm not surprised that you've been given the all clear Kerry, you always seemed to be pretty up front in your expenses claims, it's a shame about some of your collegues.

I'm sure that there are probably some things you claimed for that some people might get pedantic about, but you've never struck me as someone who was in politics to enrich yourself.

If you were my MP I wouldn't have any complaints at all regarding your expenses (your politics though might be a different matter)

Simon said...

Is it not the case that as a Public Servant, if a question is asked then within reason it should be answered? Why get so wound up by it?

Harry and you obviously don't get on, but I would expect a slightly thicker skin from an MP, he is a blogger it's his job to create stories and you seem to be walking into it.

Jimmy said...

Perhaps TB will take the time to explain the absence of his fake "anti-corruption group"'s promised monthly financials, now three months overdue? Those gullible to give them money based on their promise to prosecute Jacqui Smith were promised they would be told what happened to their money on a monthly basis. They should attend to that before their prank calls.

"an on going investigation by an organisation into openness and transparency"

If you find any lying around the office you will let us know?

Mick Turatian said...

TB I clearly explained that Eric Pickles announced that Labour would be fighting a dirty election

How could Eric Pickles 'announce' something which it is not within his gift to accomplish?

Bristol Dave said...

I agree with The Boiling Frog here - there might have been one element of your expenses I thought was questionable which I've highlighted before so needn't bother again, but your expenses overall is nowhere near as bad as the disgraceful behaviour of some other MPs on both sides of the house. I also think you are to be commended for being up front with people on this blog who questioned claims you had made.

Mind you, MP's image in general wasn't helped by the arrogance shown by people like Anthony Steed, whose quote of "Do you know what this is about? Jealousy. I've got a very, very large house. Some people say it looks like Balmoral." makes my skin crawl to this day.

Kerry said...

What's interesting about Sir Anthony Steen - who hit the news again yesterday for claiming for a flagpole, though not the flag to run up it - is that he's also a fervent campaigning on human trafficking. Today in Parliament he managed to get a Private Member's Bill through, calling for an annual Anti-Slavery Day. It was almost certainly his parliamentary swansong.. I just find it slightly bizarre that someone who obviously feels so passionately about an issue like human trafficking, and seemingly so compassionate for the victims, can be so blinkered and out-of-touch in other respects.