Monday, 11 November 2013
Halls Of Residence For MP's? Not Likely!
Every now and again a politician comes up with a good idea that is designed to make his fellow politicians more honest. Such politicians usually end up being buried under an avalanche of special pleading and, "Ah yes, but....." Today Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North and Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government, suggested that MP's should live in halls of residence like students to put an end to them speculating on the London property market and using taxpayers money to make huge profits for themselves. "There is a block of flats opposite the House of Commons," he then pointed out. His suggestion has been largely ignored by other MP's, presumably because they hope the idea will quietly go away, but one couldn't resist putting her head above the parapet. Dame Margaret Beckett, a fellow Labour MP for Derby North, immediately told us that the block of flats referred to by Chris Williamson did not exist. "You would have to build one," she claimed, and added; "Prices are enormous in London so I don’t think it would work out cheaper. Also, there is no space around Westminster so you would have to build it further away and then MPs will be incurring travel costs." Even worse, she continued; "MPs are not students – many have families and need more room. One of the things we’re starting to see is fewer women and fewer people with families wanting to become an MP. If you put MPs all together in a block of flats that trend will get worse, not better.” Oh dear! Still she failed to address the central question which is why should the taxpayer fund speculation on the London property market by MP's who then pocket the profits? Nothing to do with the fact that Dame Maggie claimed £72,537 between 2004 and 2008 on a house in her own constituency that was already paid for and had no mortgage on it whatsoever while she stayed in a grace and favour flat in London, courtesy of the taxpayer, and rented out her own flat then?