Expenses claims of outspoken Lewes MP

Expenses claims of outspoken Lewes MP

Expenses claims of outspoken Lewes MP

First published in News by

An MP who led criticism of Parliamentary expenses has admitted claiming about £20,000 from the taxpayer to rent an office he already owned.

Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, claimed the cash to rent a constituency office in the building he had bought as his own home.

The 51-year-old has become a regular “talking head” on news programmes in recent days and repeatedly condemned the extravagant expenses claims which have outraged the nation this week.

His political opponents last night branded him a hypocrite after details emerged of his arrangement to claim money to rent the office space at the house he owned in High Street, Lewes.

Mr Baker said yesterday he had checked he was not breaking any rules before buying the house and making the claims.

He said he had claimed roughly £7,500 a year for about three years after buying the house for £310,000 in September 2000.

He told The Argus: “I was entitled to claim money from the taxpayer for the rent of an office to carry out my parliamentary office.”

Mr Baker said he stopped making the claims and went without the cash for another two years before moving his office to East Street.

He said he could have made money by renting the office out commercially and argued he had saved the taxpayer money by stopping his claims while leaving himself “thousands of pounds out of pocket”.

Mr Baker said: “The taxpayer has paid no extra money whatsoever as a consequence of that arrangement.

“The taxpayer has saved a good deal of money

“The taxpayer is in the black. I am in the red.”

Julian Lewis, a Conservative MP who crossed swords with Mr Baker when the Liberal made comments to a national newspaper in a story about Mr Lewis's expenses claims, said: “It is utter hypocrisy.”

Jason Sugarman, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Lewes, said: “We need to clean up politics and that means everybody needs to be transparent and clear.

“He is tarred with the same brush as the MPs he criticises.”

In The Daily Telegraph, which has published fresh revelations about MPs' claims every day since last week, Mr Baker was yesterday reported to have had claims turned down for a bicycle and a computer at the London home he rents.

He also claimed hundreds of pounds for food in periods when the House of Commons was not sitting.

He told The Argus: “It is standard practice right across business that when you're away from your home you claim subsistence.”

Mr Baker said he had claimed far less than the maximum he would have been allowed.

He said a request to claim for a computer so he could listen to music and email his family was filed sarcastically after his initial claim for a computer for work reasons was turned down.

Mr Baker was a champion of the parliamentary campaign to release details of MPs' expenses claims under the Freedom of Information Act.

He has become a prominent critic of the Government and wrote a book about the death of civil servant David Kelly, as well as campaigning locally on issues like the Newhaven incinerator.

Since the Telegraph’s revelations began, he has led the chorus of disapproval at outrageous claims by MPs.

In the House of Commons this week he was condemned by the Speaker for asking if the publication of MPs' expenses could be brought forward.

The Speaker, Michael Martin, said: “You are another individual Member who is keen to say to the press whatever the press wants to hear.

“It is wrong for the honourable gentleman to have said that the House of Commons Commission has done nothing.”

Mr Baker himself branded the Speaker's stance “disgraceful” after Mr Martin criticised people calling for greater transparency.

He wrote in a national newspaper on Monday: “The basic problem is this: claims for expenses should reflect expenditure legitimately and necessarily incurred by a Member of Parliament as part of his or her duties – no more, no less.

“Instead, they have been used by too many MPs as an alternative income stream, as a way of bumping up salary without having to vote through an embarrassing increase.

“The standard defence trotted out is that everything done has been within the rules. But that does not make it ethically correct, not least because those rules have been written by MPs themselves.”

Comments (44)

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9:08am Thu 14 May 09

pancaker says...

What they need to realise and still somehow fail to with their endless justifications is that those of us in the real world are constantly out of pocket because real world limits are put on our claims.

Can we claim for subsitence if we are away from home? My employer puts a 20 pound a day cap on all subsistence expenses - breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If I tried to claim expenses for working from my home office occasionally my employer would laugh me out of my job.

That is standard practice across business and MPs should be no different.
What they need to realise and still somehow fail to with their endless justifications is that those of us in the real world are constantly out of pocket because real world limits are put on our claims. Can we claim for subsitence if we are away from home? My employer puts a 20 pound a day cap on all subsistence expenses - breakfast, lunch and dinner. If I tried to claim expenses for working from my home office occasionally my employer would laugh me out of my job. That is standard practice across business and MPs should be no different. pancaker
  • Score: 0

10:04am Thu 14 May 09

dstocken says...

Send him to Prison, that's what anyone who isn't an MP would be looking at.
Send him to Prison, that's what anyone who isn't an MP would be looking at. dstocken
  • Score: 0

10:35am Thu 14 May 09

remy heath says...

Voters must make sure not to vote him and all the other hypocrites in at the next general election.
Voters must make sure not to vote him and all the other hypocrites in at the next general election. remy heath
  • Score: 0

10:43am Thu 14 May 09

Osama bin there says...

A full election is couple of years away.
Don't any of you forget who all these freeloaders are, and punish them accordingly at the next general election.
I work from home most of the time, and if I put in a claim for £7500 a year for my shed in the garden which is my office, it would be disallowed.
Why is it an MP can get away with it?
Because they make their own rules.
A full election is couple of years away. Don't any of you forget who all these freeloaders are, and punish them accordingly at the next general election. I work from home most of the time, and if I put in a claim for £7500 a year for my shed in the garden which is my office, it would be disallowed. Why is it an MP can get away with it? Because they make their own rules. Osama bin there
  • Score: 0

10:48am Thu 14 May 09

Ming says...

Who DO you vote in though? They are all the same!
Who DO you vote in though? They are all the same! Ming
  • Score: 0

10:59am Thu 14 May 09

Vitriola says...

Hold on a minute! His argument is that he "could have" earned rent from letting his office out, if he didn't need to use it for his Parliamentary duties. But he did need to use it! The allowance is for costs of office use, not for making up money he "could have" earned were he not an MP. This low-life crook has stolen our money, Where does he live? I want to see what he's spent my money on.
Hold on a minute! His argument is that he "could have" earned rent from letting his office out, if he didn't need to use it for his Parliamentary duties. But he did need to use it! The allowance is for costs of office use, not for making up money he "could have" earned were he not an MP. This low-life crook has stolen our money, Where does he live? I want to see what he's spent my money on. Vitriola
  • Score: 0

11:14am Thu 14 May 09

SteveHove says...

I know this is article is more about office space but on the accommodation issue lets have 1 building in London and all those MPs that have their constituencies outside London have an allocated studio/1 bed apartment for their use during there time parliament. That way we know what the cost is going to be no picking and choosing where you live and Hotels. This will then also cut down the cost of dealing with the amount of expense claims

Let not use more public money doing this than is needed as we have the Olympics coming up, lots of people needing to be housed. What is going to happen to this accommodation afterwards? An ideal opportunity for a building to be designed for the athletes etc then used for the MPs don’t you think?
I know this is article is more about office space but on the accommodation issue lets have 1 building in London and all those MPs that have their constituencies outside London have an allocated studio/1 bed apartment for their use during there time parliament. That way we know what the cost is going to be no picking and choosing where you live and Hotels. This will then also cut down the cost of dealing with the amount of expense claims Let not use more public money doing this than is needed as we have the Olympics coming up, lots of people needing to be housed. What is going to happen to this accommodation afterwards? An ideal opportunity for a building to be designed for the athletes etc then used for the MPs don’t you think? SteveHove
  • Score: 0

11:27am Thu 14 May 09

Hugh Rinall says...

Well said Steve. That's the only way forward. If we have to be ruled by these inepts, let's have them all in one box. Ever heard the expression 'mad as a box of frogs'? Seems to suit!
Well said Steve. That's the only way forward. If we have to be ruled by these inepts, let's have them all in one box. Ever heard the expression 'mad as a box of frogs'? Seems to suit! Hugh Rinall
  • Score: 0

12:05pm Thu 14 May 09

Stripes says...

Hardly surprising really. Baker thrives on peeing public money up the wall. The anti falmer fight is his finest work to date, including the money spent on propaganda with photoshopped images exagerrating the loaction of the stadium in an aoob (next to a dual carriageway, trainline and hideous 1970's uni buildings).

He's clearly a master of deception, and a hypacrite.
Hardly surprising really. Baker thrives on peeing public money up the wall. The anti falmer fight is his finest work to date, including the money spent on propaganda with photoshopped images exagerrating the loaction of the stadium in an aoob (next to a dual carriageway, trainline and hideous 1970's uni buildings). He's clearly a master of deception, and a hypacrite. Stripes
  • Score: 0

12:10pm Thu 14 May 09

Teresa Green says...

Yet these money-grabbing MP's refer to each other as 'honourable gentleman.' No wonder so many people refrain from voting when MP's from ALL parties are untrustworthy. I'm disappointed in Norman Baker, he's lost my vote.
Yet these money-grabbing MP's refer to each other as 'honourable gentleman.' No wonder so many people refrain from voting when MP's from ALL parties are untrustworthy. I'm disappointed in Norman Baker, he's lost my vote. Teresa Green
  • Score: 0

12:13pm Thu 14 May 09

Mark Senior says...

Mr Baker as with any MP is entitled to claim for the commercial rent of office space to conduct his constituency work . This applies whether he himself owns the property , whether he rents a room in a building owned by his constituency party ( as is the case with some local MP's of other parties )or rents from a 3rd party .
The key question therefore is whether around £7,500 a year is a fair commercial rent for the space/facilities rented .
Mr Baker as with any MP is entitled to claim for the commercial rent of office space to conduct his constituency work . This applies whether he himself owns the property , whether he rents a room in a building owned by his constituency party ( as is the case with some local MP's of other parties )or rents from a 3rd party . The key question therefore is whether around £7,500 a year is a fair commercial rent for the space/facilities rented . Mark Senior
  • Score: 0

12:32pm Thu 14 May 09

Mark Senior says...

Looking at a couple of websites from Commercial Estate Agents with offices to let in Lewes , the answer is clearly that the amount claimed is rather below the going rate for rented office facilities .
Looking at a couple of websites from Commercial Estate Agents with offices to let in Lewes , the answer is clearly that the amount claimed is rather below the going rate for rented office facilities . Mark Senior
  • Score: 0

12:42pm Thu 14 May 09

fatso says...

That is Mark Senior's party political broadcast on behalf of the lib-dems
That is Mark Senior's party political broadcast on behalf of the lib-dems fatso
  • Score: 0

12:45pm Thu 14 May 09

Keith Standring says...

The latest revelations about the LibDim abuses of the allowances system, especially those of Norman Baker, confirms that their usual smug, 'holier than thou' arrogance is the camouflage to conceal their corrupt, sleazy, self-serving opportunism.

In light of such wholesale corruption amongst the entire Troughminster Lib/Lab/Con political establishment, I cannot understand why H.M The Queen hasn't already dissolved Parliament?

The British people will make these Troughminster Traitors pay for these abuses at the ballot box on 4th June and the next General Election.
The latest revelations about the LibDim abuses of the allowances system, especially those of Norman Baker, confirms that their usual smug, 'holier than thou' arrogance is the camouflage to conceal their corrupt, sleazy, self-serving opportunism. In light of such wholesale corruption amongst the entire Troughminster Lib/Lab/Con political establishment, I cannot understand why H.M The Queen hasn't already dissolved Parliament? The British people will make these Troughminster Traitors pay for these abuses at the ballot box on 4th June and the next General Election. Keith Standring
  • Score: 0

12:51pm Thu 14 May 09

Justin says...

How can it possibly be acceptable to claim for food? You don't eat twice as much food because you run two homes. If you purport to take a moral stance on this, then you should make sure you are clean yourself first. Number One Hypocrite in Sussex!
How can it possibly be acceptable to claim for food? You don't eat twice as much food because you run two homes. If you purport to take a moral stance on this, then you should make sure you are clean yourself first. Number One Hypocrite in Sussex! Justin
  • Score: 0

12:58pm Thu 14 May 09

pancaker says...

Justin, they also claim for transport. The rest of us mere mortals take transport and food costs out of our salary.

Mr Baker has lost my vote completely.
Justin, they also claim for transport. The rest of us mere mortals take transport and food costs out of our salary. Mr Baker has lost my vote completely. pancaker
  • Score: 0

1:02pm Thu 14 May 09

jonathon says...

Mark Senior wrote:
Mr Baker as with any MP is entitled to claim for the commercial rent of office space to conduct his constituency work . This applies whether he himself owns the property , whether he rents a room in a building owned by his constituency party ( as is the case with some local MP's of other parties )or rents from a 3rd party . The key question therefore is whether around £7,500 a year is a fair commercial rent for the space/facilities rented .
I totally agree with these comments. What I am concerned about is the MP's for Brighton and Hove. I see the Argus is not commenting on their expenses.
[quote][p][bold]Mark Senior[/bold] wrote: Mr Baker as with any MP is entitled to claim for the commercial rent of office space to conduct his constituency work . This applies whether he himself owns the property , whether he rents a room in a building owned by his constituency party ( as is the case with some local MP's of other parties )or rents from a 3rd party . The key question therefore is whether around £7,500 a year is a fair commercial rent for the space/facilities rented .[/p][/quote]I totally agree with these comments. What I am concerned about is the MP's for Brighton and Hove. I see the Argus is not commenting on their expenses. jonathon
  • Score: 0

1:09pm Thu 14 May 09

RickH says...

I believe the expression is 'hoisted by one's own petard' - this sad and sorry mess is symptomatic of of a sea-change in how MPs regard the role ie now its a role where to make as much cash as possible is acceptable and the public service of the role suffers as a result.
I believe the expression is 'hoisted by one's own petard' - this sad and sorry mess is symptomatic of of a sea-change in how MPs regard the role ie now its a role where to make as much cash as possible is acceptable and the public service of the role suffers as a result. RickH
  • Score: 0

1:13pm Thu 14 May 09

Mark Senior says...

I am sure that the Argus , in the interests of fairness , will be following up with other articles on our other local MP's and reporting on their allowances particularly with respect to office space .
The situation is somewhat analagous to Dr's surgeries . The Dr or practice can claim back from the government for the commercial rent of the surgery/office space irrespective of whether the surgery is commercially rented , part of a building owned with a mortgage or owned outright by the Dr himself .
I am sure that the Argus , in the interests of fairness , will be following up with other articles on our other local MP's and reporting on their allowances particularly with respect to office space . The situation is somewhat analagous to Dr's surgeries . The Dr or practice can claim back from the government for the commercial rent of the surgery/office space irrespective of whether the surgery is commercially rented , part of a building owned with a mortgage or owned outright by the Dr himself . Mark Senior
  • Score: 0

1:22pm Thu 14 May 09

Scorpion says...

In my various jobs I've been allowed to claim expenses for "subsistance" - ie...if you dont submit a receipt the company will pay you a fixed amount per night. It was perfectly legitamate for me to stay with a relative and claim these amounts.

The trouble with MP's is that over the years they've made up their own rules and then exploited them without anyone having a firm check on whats being claimed. The failure is not what MP's are allowed to claim (although we can argue the amounts) but the fact no mechanism seems to exist to verify that the claims being made are justifiable.

Norman doesnt have a moat around his house that needs cleaning nor need to claim for umpteen new flat screen TV's. I would guess he isnt claiming for a mortgage thats alreay been paid off and probably not claiming for nappys.

If you were told when joining any business that you can claim for x,y &z then my guess is you would. The problem is nobody is verifying these are legitamate claims so they are milking the system.

If you can afford a house with a moat, do you need to claim expenses to have it cleared? I think not.
In my various jobs I've been allowed to claim expenses for "subsistance" - ie...if you dont submit a receipt the company will pay you a fixed amount per night. It was perfectly legitamate for me to stay with a relative and claim these amounts. The trouble with MP's is that over the years they've made up their own rules and then exploited them without anyone having a firm check on whats being claimed. The failure is not what MP's are allowed to claim (although we can argue the amounts) but the fact no mechanism seems to exist to verify that the claims being made are justifiable. Norman doesnt have a moat around his house that needs cleaning nor need to claim for umpteen new flat screen TV's. I would guess he isnt claiming for a mortgage thats alreay been paid off and probably not claiming for nappys. If you were told when joining any business that you can claim for x,y &z then my guess is you would. The problem is nobody is verifying these are legitamate claims so they are milking the system. If you can afford a house with a moat, do you need to claim expenses to have it cleared? I think not. Scorpion
  • Score: 0

1:52pm Thu 14 May 09

Txa says...

jonathon wrote:
Mark Senior wrote: Mr Baker as with any MP is entitled to claim for the commercial rent of office space to conduct his constituency work . This applies whether he himself owns the property , whether he rents a room in a building owned by his constituency party ( as is the case with some local MP's of other parties )or rents from a 3rd party . The key question therefore is whether around £7,500 a year is a fair commercial rent for the space/facilities rented .
I totally agree with these comments. What I am concerned about is the MP's for Brighton and Hove. I see the Argus is not commenting on their expenses.
jomathon, the MP's expenses in full detail(07-08)

http://newsvote.bbc.
co.uk/1/hi/uk_politi
cs/8044207.stm
[quote][p][bold]jonathon[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mark Senior[/bold] wrote: Mr Baker as with any MP is entitled to claim for the commercial rent of office space to conduct his constituency work . This applies whether he himself owns the property , whether he rents a room in a building owned by his constituency party ( as is the case with some local MP's of other parties )or rents from a 3rd party . The key question therefore is whether around £7,500 a year is a fair commercial rent for the space/facilities rented .[/p][/quote]I totally agree with these comments. What I am concerned about is the MP's for Brighton and Hove. I see the Argus is not commenting on their expenses.[/p][/quote]jomathon, the MP's expenses in full detail(07-08) http://newsvote.bbc. co.uk/1/hi/uk_politi cs/8044207.stm Txa
  • Score: 0

2:00pm Thu 14 May 09

Granny says...

No doubt if he had made money by renting out the office he owned, Sleeze Baker would have also claimed expenses on it. I think he is bad as the rest of them and as crooked as his eyebrows!
No doubt if he had made money by renting out the office he owned, Sleeze Baker would have also claimed expenses on it. I think he is bad as the rest of them and as crooked as his eyebrows! Granny
  • Score: 0

3:27pm Thu 14 May 09

Livid Harry says...

These crooked MP's have stolen our money that we have all worked for and fiddled their Income and Capital Gains taxes. They are no better than common criminals, so why aren't the police involved? They are no better than common thieves. They crow about how they want the person responsible for blowing the whistle on them arrested...I bet they do!!
Put the lot of them behind bars I say.
These crooked MP's have stolen our money that we have all worked for and fiddled their Income and Capital Gains taxes. They are no better than common criminals, so why aren't the police involved? They are no better than common thieves. They crow about how they want the person responsible for blowing the whistle on them arrested...I bet they do!! Put the lot of them behind bars I say. Livid Harry
  • Score: 0

3:28pm Thu 14 May 09

Livid Harry says...

These crooked MP's have stolen our money that we have all worked for and fiddled their Income and Capital Gains taxes. They are no better than common criminals, so why aren't the police involved? They are no better than common thieves. They crow about how they want the person responsible for blowing the whistle on them arrested...I bet they do!!
Put the lot of them behind bars I say.
These crooked MP's have stolen our money that we have all worked for and fiddled their Income and Capital Gains taxes. They are no better than common criminals, so why aren't the police involved? They are no better than common thieves. They crow about how they want the person responsible for blowing the whistle on them arrested...I bet they do!! Put the lot of them behind bars I say. Livid Harry
  • Score: 0

5:18pm Thu 14 May 09

stickman says...

Livid Harry wrote:
These crooked MP's have stolen our money that we have all worked for and fiddled their Income and Capital Gains taxes. They are no better than common criminals, so why aren't the police involved? They are no better than common thieves. They crow about how they want the person responsible for blowing the whistle on them arrested...I bet they do!!
Put the lot of them behind bars I say.
Well nobody blames you for being livid Harry but the problem is that most of these MPs are claiming expenses within the rules. To me that makes it even worse. They can't see that they are doing anything wrong...
[quote][p][bold]Livid Harry[/bold] wrote: These crooked MP's have stolen our money that we have all worked for and fiddled their Income and Capital Gains taxes. They are no better than common criminals, so why aren't the police involved? They are no better than common thieves. They crow about how they want the person responsible for blowing the whistle on them arrested...I bet they do!! Put the lot of them behind bars I say.[/p][/quote]Well nobody blames you for being livid Harry but the problem is that most of these MPs are claiming expenses within the rules. To me that makes it even worse. They can't see that they are doing anything wrong... stickman
  • Score: 0

6:07pm Thu 14 May 09

jonathon says...

Mark Senior wrote:
I am sure that the Argus , in the interests of fairness , will be following up with other articles on our other local MP's and reporting on their allowances particularly with respect to office space . The situation is somewhat analagous to Dr's surgeries . The Dr or practice can claim back from the government for the commercial rent of the surgery/office space irrespective of whether the surgery is commercially rented , part of a building owned with a mortgage or owned outright by the Dr himself .
Who told you that?
[quote][p][bold]Mark Senior[/bold] wrote: I am sure that the Argus , in the interests of fairness , will be following up with other articles on our other local MP's and reporting on their allowances particularly with respect to office space . The situation is somewhat analagous to Dr's surgeries . The Dr or practice can claim back from the government for the commercial rent of the surgery/office space irrespective of whether the surgery is commercially rented , part of a building owned with a mortgage or owned outright by the Dr himself . [/p][/quote]Who told you that? jonathon
  • Score: 0

6:29pm Thu 14 May 09

Mark Senior says...

Norman Baker has issued a full statement on this matter , no doubt the Argus will get round to printing it in due course .
It would appear that in fact this story was the subject of an investigative article in the Sunday Times 2/3 years ago which ended in a correction/apology a week later .
Seems the Argus is rehashing old news as new .
How about some real investigative journalism on the expenses of other Sussex MP's
Norman Baker has issued a full statement on this matter , no doubt the Argus will get round to printing it in due course . It would appear that in fact this story was the subject of an investigative article in the Sunday Times 2/3 years ago which ended in a correction/apology a week later . Seems the Argus is rehashing old news as new . How about some real investigative journalism on the expenses of other Sussex MP's Mark Senior
  • Score: 0

7:10pm Thu 14 May 09

TheInsider says...

Mark Senior....you can make as many excuses as you like, the fact is, the public think it is wrong.
We don't care which party these people represent...claiming for items just because you can doesn't make it right.
This scandal explains why MPs now seem to all be the same.
They don't travel with the general public, they don't have the same financial pressures, they don't feel the effect of a seven per cent increase in rail fares, they don't pay for their phones or car repairs or even their mortgages or rent. They use the allowances to put their kids through uni and pay their uni kids' rent. They have almost NO outgoings from their own pocket.
No wonder they haven't a clue what ordinary people are going through. They cannot possibly represent ordinary people when they live in such an artificial way.
Let's get rid of the lot of them.
I wont be voting for anyone who has been part of this Parliament no matter what party.
Stand down the lot of you.
Mark Senior....you can make as many excuses as you like, the fact is, the public think it is wrong. We don't care which party these people represent...claiming for items just because you can doesn't make it right. This scandal explains why MPs now seem to all be the same. They don't travel with the general public, they don't have the same financial pressures, they don't feel the effect of a seven per cent increase in rail fares, they don't pay for their phones or car repairs or even their mortgages or rent. They use the allowances to put their kids through uni and pay their uni kids' rent. They have almost NO outgoings from their own pocket. No wonder they haven't a clue what ordinary people are going through. They cannot possibly represent ordinary people when they live in such an artificial way. Let's get rid of the lot of them. I wont be voting for anyone who has been part of this Parliament no matter what party. Stand down the lot of you. TheInsider
  • Score: 0

7:49pm Thu 14 May 09

william of orange says...


"Oink"

June 4th..."Punish the pigs!"

"Oink" June 4th..."Punish the pigs!" william of orange
  • Score: 0

8:20pm Thu 14 May 09

Bog Vern says...

Mark Senior wrote:
Norman Baker has issued a full statement on this matter , no doubt the Argus will get round to printing it in due course .
It would appear that in fact this story was the subject of an investigative article in the Sunday Times 2/3 years ago which ended in a correction/apology a week later .
Seems the Argus is rehashing old news as new .
How about some real investigative journalism on the expenses of other Sussex MP's
I think you may be having a Senior moment.

The problem is this Mark - they have all been found out. They have all totally lost the respect of the public and lost their dignity.

I cannot believe the sheer audacity of these politicians spouting out 'the system is so wrong. It needs to change' Have they only just decided this after the FOI Act results have found them out? Or have they suddenly had a thunder bolt and realised that they were wrong.

No they claimed these things because they thought they could get away with it. After the FOI Act - they cant and they are back peddling so fast it is farcical.

Dishonest and disrespectful.

I hope some of them go on to face criminal charges as WE would had we claimed for such things in the private or public sector.

They have no place to slag off other companies, public sector bodies or any people now.

Shameful shameful people.


[quote][p][bold]Mark Senior[/bold] wrote: Norman Baker has issued a full statement on this matter , no doubt the Argus will get round to printing it in due course . It would appear that in fact this story was the subject of an investigative article in the Sunday Times 2/3 years ago which ended in a correction/apology a week later . Seems the Argus is rehashing old news as new . How about some real investigative journalism on the expenses of other Sussex MP's [/p][/quote]I think you may be having a Senior moment. The problem is this Mark - they have all been found out. They have all totally lost the respect of the public and lost their dignity. I cannot believe the sheer audacity of these politicians spouting out 'the system is so wrong. It needs to change' Have they only just decided this after the FOI Act results have found them out? Or have they suddenly had a thunder bolt and realised that they were wrong. No they claimed these things because they thought they could get away with it. After the FOI Act - they cant and they are back peddling so fast it is farcical. Dishonest and disrespectful. I hope some of them go on to face criminal charges as WE would had we claimed for such things in the private or public sector. They have no place to slag off other companies, public sector bodies or any people now. Shameful shameful people. Bog Vern
  • Score: 0

9:55pm Thu 14 May 09

Gentleman Jim says...

These MP`s knew they were cheating but they were able to get away with it because the Speaker had instructed a senior member of his staff to rubber stamp applications.Why I wonder?
These MP`s knew they were cheating but they were able to get away with it because the Speaker had instructed a senior member of his staff to rubber stamp applications.Why I wonder? Gentleman Jim
  • Score: 0

10:02pm Thu 14 May 09

Voice of the silent Majority says...

This is theft and anyone of us in the real world would be locked up if we tried it. It is about time these lying, cheating scum where held to account and i for one want the option to vote for " None of the above " in the next election
This is theft and anyone of us in the real world would be locked up if we tried it. It is about time these lying, cheating scum where held to account and i for one want the option to vote for " None of the above " in the next election Voice of the silent Majority
  • Score: 0

10:12pm Thu 14 May 09

alfieconnection says...

the cheating toe rag should be tarred and feathered.hes nothing but scum.
the cheating toe rag should be tarred and feathered.hes nothing but scum. alfieconnection
  • Score: 0

11:46pm Thu 14 May 09

Variable says...

The problem is that we don't pay our MPs enough. A large payrise would never go down well with the electorate so the practice has been to allow MPs to boost their pay with 'creative' expense claims. This dubious practice has to stop. MPs should be paid a realistic salary - I would say that £100 to £120k is appropriate - with fixed rules for renting a London flat for shires MPs (I worry at the security implications of the suggestion above for creating a a hostel for out-of-towners) and reimbursement for travel. No mortgage payments at all. Fixed rates to maintain a constituency office. No help at all maintaining a home in the constituency.
I could write a new rule book for them overnight if they asked me.
The problem is that we don't pay our MPs enough. A large payrise would never go down well with the electorate so the practice has been to allow MPs to boost their pay with 'creative' expense claims. This dubious practice has to stop. MPs should be paid a realistic salary - I would say that £100 to £120k is appropriate - with fixed rules for renting a London flat for shires MPs (I worry at the security implications of the suggestion above for creating a a hostel for out-of-towners) and reimbursement for travel. No mortgage payments at all. Fixed rates to maintain a constituency office. No help at all maintaining a home in the constituency. I could write a new rule book for them overnight if they asked me. Variable
  • Score: 0

12:24am Fri 15 May 09

kkj says...

Remeber when people became public servants to give something back to the community?. Now it seems all they want to do is take.

Its often been said that that large salaries need to be offered to attract the right calibre of candidate; now it seems that if you offer too large a sum, albeit not exactly salary, you still don't get the right calibre of candidate.

As far as I can see, there are only two legitimate expenses - accommodation in London when necessary and travel to/from London from/to the constituency. It should not be beyond the wit of these very intelligent people to devise some system whereby reasonably priced accomodation and reasonable, receipted travel expenses are paid, and nothing more.

No-one 'needs' a swimming pool or a 42" plasma TV, or even a garden for a second temporary 'home'.
Remeber when people became public servants to give something back to the community?. Now it seems all they want to do is take. Its often been said that that large salaries need to be offered to attract the right calibre of candidate; now it seems that if you offer too large a sum, albeit not exactly salary, you still don't get the right calibre of candidate. As far as I can see, there are only two legitimate expenses - accommodation in London when necessary and travel to/from London from/to the constituency. It should not be beyond the wit of these very intelligent people to devise some system whereby reasonably priced accomodation and reasonable, receipted travel expenses are paid, and nothing more. No-one 'needs' a swimming pool or a 42" plasma TV, or even a garden for a second temporary 'home'. kkj
  • Score: 0

12:34am Fri 15 May 09

kkj says...

Remeber when people became public servants to give something back to the community?. Now it seems all they want to do is take.

Its often been said that that large salaries need to be offered to attract the right calibre of candidate; now it seems that if you offer too large a sum, albeit not exactly salary, you still don't get the right calibre of candidate.

As far as I can see, there are only two legitimate expenses - accommodation in London when necessary and travel to/from London from/to the constituency. It should not be beyond the wit of these very intelligent people to devise some system whereby reasonably priced accomodation and reasonable, receipted travel expenses are paid, and nothing more.

No-one 'needs' a swimming pool or a 42" plasma TV, or even a garden for a second temporary 'home'.
Remeber when people became public servants to give something back to the community?. Now it seems all they want to do is take. Its often been said that that large salaries need to be offered to attract the right calibre of candidate; now it seems that if you offer too large a sum, albeit not exactly salary, you still don't get the right calibre of candidate. As far as I can see, there are only two legitimate expenses - accommodation in London when necessary and travel to/from London from/to the constituency. It should not be beyond the wit of these very intelligent people to devise some system whereby reasonably priced accomodation and reasonable, receipted travel expenses are paid, and nothing more. No-one 'needs' a swimming pool or a 42" plasma TV, or even a garden for a second temporary 'home'. kkj
  • Score: 0

1:37am Fri 15 May 09

Vitriola says...

Who the effing hell is Mark Senior? Low life apologist for a rotten crook. The MP in question was making claims on the basis, in his own words, that he "could have" charged rent for his office space. Well fine, if you want to charge rent for your office, stop being an MP and set up an office rental empire. Don't charge the tax payers for income you could have earned if you were doing another job. A pox on him, and his vocal supporters.
Who the effing hell is Mark Senior? Low life apologist for a rotten crook. The MP in question was making claims on the basis, in his own words, that he "could have" charged rent for his office space. Well fine, if you want to charge rent for your office, stop being an MP and set up an office rental empire. Don't charge the tax payers for income you could have earned if you were doing another job. A pox on him, and his vocal supporters. Vitriola
  • Score: 0

8:08am Fri 15 May 09

Made In Sussex says...

Many people, Mark Senior included, seem to think that what the MP's is doing isnt all that bad because "its a drop in the ocean compared to x,y,z", "We would do it if we werer in their position" or trying to deflect the focus onto journalists as being overpaid or sensationalising this.

That annoys me! I know what I am seeing and I dont like it. The main point is that this is public money, it doesnt matter how much or how little.

Also some of whats going on is surely tax evasion or criminal - what about this?

I was pretty much finished with any interest or engagement with politics before this all started and this is the final nail in the coffin.
Many people, Mark Senior included, seem to think that what the MP's is doing isnt all that bad because "its a drop in the ocean compared to x,y,z", "We would do it if we werer in their position" or trying to deflect the focus onto journalists as being overpaid or sensationalising this. That annoys me! I know what I am seeing and I dont like it. The main point is that this is public money, it doesnt matter how much or how little. Also some of whats going on is surely tax evasion or criminal - what about this? I was pretty much finished with any interest or engagement with politics before this all started and this is the final nail in the coffin. Made In Sussex
  • Score: 0

9:09am Fri 15 May 09

Teresa Green says...

First bankers, now MP's - anyone else like to help themselves to our hard-earned taxes ?
First bankers, now MP's - anyone else like to help themselves to our hard-earned taxes ? Teresa Green
  • Score: 0

6:01pm Fri 15 May 09

John Steed says...

None of us like the abuse of taxpayers money that has been exposed over the last week "Moat Cleaning Bills" brings out the best in british micky taking, but in Norman Bakers case, he is well entitled to claim back what he reasonably would have acheived by letting commercially.
so far Norman baker MP has emerged clean from money mire, He asked about a cycle and a computer, he did not by them, present the invoices and then get them rejected,

Mark senior's comments are rational and balanced and norman baker remains a respected and able MP not that I agree with all he says & does mostly hes on the ball
None of us like the abuse of taxpayers money that has been exposed over the last week "Moat Cleaning Bills" brings out the best in british micky taking, but in Norman Bakers case, he is well entitled to claim back what he reasonably would have acheived by letting commercially. so far Norman baker MP has emerged clean from money mire, He asked about a cycle and a computer, he did not by them, present the invoices and then get them rejected, Mark senior's comments are rational and balanced and norman baker remains a respected and able MP not that I agree with all he says & does mostly hes on the ball John Steed
  • Score: 0

8:41pm Fri 15 May 09

GarryNelson'sLeftFoot says...

Serves him right for opposing the Falmer Stadium. LOL. As Norman's world house comes crashing down, our new house (stadium) is going up! LOL.
Serves him right for opposing the Falmer Stadium. LOL. As Norman's world house comes crashing down, our new house (stadium) is going up! LOL. GarryNelson'sLeftFoot
  • Score: 0

2:00am Sat 16 May 09

JohnSmith47 says...

I always thought he was a decent man.

This calls that into question.
I always thought he was a decent man. This calls that into question. JohnSmith47
  • Score: 0

7:48am Sat 16 May 09

Tye says...

Variable wrote:
The problem is that we don't pay our MPs enough. A large payrise would never go down well with the electorate so the practice has been to allow MPs to boost their pay with 'creative' expense claims. This dubious practice has to stop. MPs should be paid a realistic salary - I would say that £100 to £120k is appropriate - with fixed rules for renting a London flat for shires MPs (I worry at the security implications of the suggestion above for creating a a hostel for out-of-towners) and reimbursement for travel. No mortgage payments at all. Fixed rates to maintain a constituency office. No help at all maintaining a home in the constituency. I could write a new rule book for them overnight if they asked me.
You are quite correct - simple stupid people will think £5 per week is too much.
Constutuency office?
don't the parties have clubs at the least where MPs and their constituents can meet
I'm wondering when will the ARGUS do a "telegraph" and start looking at B&H, west and east sussex councillors expenses with the aid of the freedom of information act?
I know the folks (ex-army?) at WSCC think any questions are part of a russkie plot and should be repulsed

[quote][p][bold]Variable[/bold] wrote: The problem is that we don't pay our MPs enough. A large payrise would never go down well with the electorate so the practice has been to allow MPs to boost their pay with 'creative' expense claims. This dubious practice has to stop. MPs should be paid a realistic salary - I would say that £100 to £120k is appropriate - with fixed rules for renting a London flat for shires MPs (I worry at the security implications of the suggestion above for creating a a hostel for out-of-towners) and reimbursement for travel. No mortgage payments at all. Fixed rates to maintain a constituency office. No help at all maintaining a home in the constituency. I could write a new rule book for them overnight if they asked me.[/p][/quote]You are quite correct - simple stupid people will think £5 per week is too much. Constutuency office? don't the parties have clubs at the least where MPs and their constituents can meet I'm wondering when will the ARGUS do a "telegraph" and start looking at B&H, west and east sussex councillors expenses with the aid of the freedom of information act? I know the folks (ex-army?) at WSCC think any questions are part of a russkie plot and should be repulsed Tye
  • Score: 0

8:25am Wed 20 May 09

ABC1 says...

Stripes wrote:
Hardly surprising really. Baker thrives on peeing public money up the wall. The anti falmer fight is his finest work to date, including the money spent on propaganda with photoshopped images exagerrating the loaction of the stadium in an aoob (next to a dual carriageway, trainline and hideous 1970's uni buildings). He's clearly a master of deception, and a hypacrite.
Unfortunately for your odd view of the world, the public enquiry and the decision letter from the Secretary of State agreed with him. Which makes permission for the "Stadium of Sh**e" even more baffling, and entirely political. As corrupt a decision as the expenses claimed by the SoS who gave permission.
[quote][p][bold]Stripes[/bold] wrote: Hardly surprising really. Baker thrives on peeing public money up the wall. The anti falmer fight is his finest work to date, including the money spent on propaganda with photoshopped images exagerrating the loaction of the stadium in an aoob (next to a dual carriageway, trainline and hideous 1970's uni buildings). He's clearly a master of deception, and a hypacrite. [/p][/quote]Unfortunately for your odd view of the world, the public enquiry and the decision letter from the Secretary of State agreed with him. Which makes permission for the "Stadium of Sh**e" even more baffling, and entirely political. As corrupt a decision as the expenses claimed by the SoS who gave permission. ABC1
  • Score: 0

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