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Does Gordon Brown have to stand down as an MP?

  • Gordon Brown claimed for a cleaner on expenses. He did this while provided with grace and favour home in Downing Street.
  • The rules require that MPs can only claim for costs that are "wholly and necessarily incurred in connection with their parliamentary duties".
  • A cleaner does not meet that test.
  • Therefore Gordon Brown has broken the rules.
  • But Gordon Brown says that any MP who breaks the rules cannot stand as a Labour MP.
  • Therefore Gordon cannot lead the Labour party into the next election.

Is my logic flawed somewhere?




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Reader Comments (9)

>>Is my logic flawed somewhere?<<

Only in thinking that Mr. Brown meant that to apply to himself. Politicians are nothing if not hypocrites.
May 19, 2009 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterRpb
Gordon Brown was asked about Hazel Blears. He said that what she had done was within the rules and within the law, but it was also unacceptable. It either is or isn't!

The man is a walking contradiction. As with his comment on the McBride matter - 'I take full responsibility and the person responsible has resigned'.
May 19, 2009 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth
I can't stand the man, but frankly this is barking up the wrong tree. I don't think it is unreasonable to employ a cleaner; I'd prefer he spent long hours in the office rather than scrubbing his bog.
May 19, 2009 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterSebastian Weetabix
I agree he should pay a cleaner. I'm just not sure the taxpayer should be paying for it.
May 20, 2009 at 7:03 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
The press has done a poor job in extracting from Brown and others precisely what they mean by "within the rules". As I blogged here

the rules are actually fine, they simply weren't enforced. The fees office relied on the non-existent honour of MPs as to the relevance of their claims to their duties Thus, any MP who ever said his claim was "approved" by the fees office should never be trusted again.

Reading between the lines, Brown's interpretation of "breaking the rules" seems to be that you lied to the fees office about the factual basis of the line item claim, rather than its relevance to your duties. Thus, claiming for a mortgage you had already paid off, submitting a bank statement showing a payment to the building society for another item as "evidence" is "breaking the rules", but claiming for a cleaner is not. It's not whether the cleaner was "necessary" (comments here show that opinions can vary), but whether the cleaner was actually paid the amount claimed.

This is a very narrow interpretation, but it seems a wider one would cost him too many of his MPs. Cameron's line that "it's not about the rules" is better in that it accords with the public view, but it may cost him a lot of personnel.
May 20, 2009 at 7:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterTom Paine
The flaw is in applying logic to politics.
May 20, 2009 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered Commenterlukas
"Politicians are nothing if not hypocrites."

May 21, 2009 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterHugo
While there are a few MP's who clearly think they have a divine right to extra 'allowances' (esp. some of the safe-seat Tories) the majority are only guilty of the same thing as everyone else who has filled in an expense sheet, journalists especially. The Daily Mail editor's salary of £1.2m is not enough, apparently, to cover all his expenses, yet he sees no irony in ranting at MP's on one twentieth of the basic pay.

As someone once said: 'let he that is without sin, cast the first stone'.

I'm sorry, but this also amused me..
May 23, 2009 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P
I see the business of paying for accountants has recently come to light, this not being an allowance that ordinary mortals can claim (and those who can, can only claim it against their taxable income, not as a refund). What I have yet to see mentioned is the allowance for travel to and from work, something else that is denied the hoi-polloi, as the HMRC makes a specific point of excluding journeys to a regular place of work, but our 'honourable' representatives get it all back, even though they also have an allowance for a local address. Talk about cake and eating it!
May 25, 2009 at 11:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

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