I have to thank the Torygraph for this morning’s moan.
They ran an article yesterday informing us that disgraced politician Chris Huhne was back in Parliament.
This wasn’t exactly the story it first appears to be but does raise an important ‘Two Fingers’ issue.
Huhne is apparently one of a number of disgraced politicians who have been issued a pass giving them access to the House of Commons. 360 are able to use Westminster’s heavily subsidised bars and restaurants as well as other facilities – including ex-Tory minister Jonathan Aitken, who was jailed in 1999 for perjury etc. Many of the pass holders seem to have left the Commons after the Expenses Scandal or similar controversies.
Derek Conway stepped down after it was disclosed that he was employing (and paying on expenses) his son, who didn’t actually have any work to do.
Ben Chapman stood down after over-claiming his mortgage by £15,000.
Harry Cohen got his marching orders for misusing the accommodation expenses system.
It was commented on Twatter yesterday, can you imagine the scenario of a Police Officer being dismissed for dishonesty and being welcomed back the Police Social Club, mixing with his ex colleagues and enjoying the very favourable prices at the bar and in the restaurants? There is also the potential for picking up the odd bit of work by mixing in such circles, or lobbying MPs in the bar, getting your view across to serving politicians.
Why should disgraced politicians be able to enjoy these privileges? Does this mean that we can all apply for this pass and enjoy everything it brings? My the Admin Office would be overwhelmed with applications, but I suspect that we wouldn’t even be considered for a pass to the HoC.
So why should ex, disgraced, politicians continue to enjoy these perks. We, the Public, pay for subsidising these advantageous prices, and I for one don’t want to. Let them drink at the Bell And Anchor or any other pub of their choosing, I fail to see why they should have the right to continue benefitting from a system most of them abused.
Labour backbencher John Mann said: “I do not think someone who has committed a criminal offence that has meant they went to prison should get privileged access to the Houses of Parliament. Let them queue with the general public if they want to get in.”
Mr Mann said the list “reinforces the impression that this is a gentlemen’s club”.
I’m a Gentleman. Where do I apply?