Holyrood has released the figures for last year’s MSP expenses and there is one name that stands out from the crowd. That’s Conservative MSPJohn Lamont, who has spent nearly £30,000 in the last twelve months on postage and office costs.
These figures were released on the same day that David Cameron was touring the TV studios telling everyone how the Conservative Party were fully behind implementing all recommendations of the Kelly Report on MPs’ expenses.
One of the specific things he mentioned was that MPs shouldn’t be members of two Parliaments, which smacks of breathtaking hypocrisy given that John Lamont, MSP for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, is the Conservative candidate for the Westminster seat of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk currently held by our own Michael Moore MP.
Then there is Alex Johnstone, another Conservative in Scotland who has decided to stand against Sir Robert Smith MP in West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine.
If Cameron accepts Kelly’s recommendation, surely he should insist that Lamont and Johnstone either step down as MSPs now or before the election or resign as a Westminster candidate. You shouldn’t need a law to guide you to doing the right thing – if it’s wrong, it’s wrong, end of story. The tales of MPs making clearly preposterous claims – duck islands, second home maintenance for a home miles away from the constituency, flipping for maximum financial gain, that sort of thing – and justifying it because it was within the rules comes to mind.
Both John Lamont MSP and Alex Johnstone MSP, are sticking two fingers up at Annabel Goldie and David Cameron.
Mind you, this isn’t the first time that John Lamont MSP has ignored David Cameron. At their conference being photographed drinking champagne was banned by the Tories because it sends out the wrong message to the country during this difficult time. Guess who got photographed supping the bubbly stuff? John Lamont MSP and Scottish colleagues!
Anyway back to the most expensive MSP in Scotland, John Lamont, who last year spent £26,952 on postage and office supplies.
The Conservatives had an answer for all of this public money being spent, obviously, saying that it was a large rural constituency which required “a lot of work” but then pointed out that Liberal Democrats Jim Hume MSP claimed £20,234.22 and the Conservatives said Jim had a similar constituency.
Now, for those of you reading this that don’t know the geography we are talking about, John Lamont represents Roxburgh & Berwickshire’s 47,862 constituents in Holyrood.
Jim Hume represents (wait for it, you may want to get a drink and pull up a chair) Ayr, Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley, Clydesdale, Cunninghame South, Dumfries, East Lothian, Galloway & Upper Nithsdale, Roxburgh & Berwickshire and Tweedale, Ettrick & Lauderdale and their 514,105 constituents in Holyrood.
You see Jim Hume is the Regional MSP for the whole of the South of Scotland, which actually includes John Lamont’s constituency and the half a million constituents spread over nine constituencies whereas John Lamont has just one constituency but is clearly not happy with being in Holyrood as he also now throwing his hat in the ring to stand for Westminster.
John Lamont MSP is clearly ignoring the Kelly Report and it’s recommendations to clean up politics despite it receiving support from both David Cameron and Annabel Goldie.
Here is what one of John Lamont’s constituents who voted for him in 2007 said on one of my earlier blog posts:
I agree – what does he want London and Westminster or Edinburgh and Holyrood – he can’t have his cake and eat it and as I voted for him as our MSP I would really like him to honour that commitment. This is just where Politicians fall down every time – they want the power and there is no greater political “bells on” than Westminster. The problem come the next election is that Scotland doesn’t think the same way and John Lamont should remember that if successful in his Westminster bid he will have far less influence in Scotland as there may only be two or three Conservative MPS. Hardly a mandate for Cameron. He should stick to Holyrood and stand down as the Westminster candidate before he too is pushed.
One of the things Liberal Democrats Jim Hume MSP did was to write to many of his constituents with a survey across the whole Region and ask their opinions about the SNPs plans to sell off 25% of Scotland’s forests to private developers. Jim Hume then released these findings and told his constituents the results.
Whereas John Lamont MSP surveyed, wrote, wrote again and did yet more surveys about the Borders railway – but – where are the results Mr Lamont? Are the surveys perhaps just chucked in a box in your office because you continually didn’t get the answer you thought you were going to get?
It is time to clean up politics in the UK, and the Kelly Report goes down the right road and starts that process – it is a great pity that the Scottish Conservative MSP John Lamont is just sticking two fingers up to the whole process and obviously doesn’t want to clean up politics!
And David Cameron is clearly looking at saying the right things in the TV studios for electoral advantage rather than embracing the Kelly Report recommendations and implementing them in his own party like Nick Clegg has otherwise he would sack John Lamont MSP or maybe they realise that hardworking local MP, Michael Moore, isn’t going to be pushed out and they are giving up now?