Tag Archives: malcolm rifkind

It may not be popular, but it needs saying: Most politicians are decent people who work ridiculous hours serving the public

So, wherever you look today, you see Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, both secretly filmed saying things that most voters will find difficult to comprehend. That includes those of us who are active in politics. By far the most bizarre thing was Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s assertion that he didn’t get a salary.  What on earth does he think the £3000 on his bank statement every month with House of Commons next to it is?

It is perfectly possible that when the investigations to which Straw and Rifkind have submitted themselves are complete, they will find that no rules were actually broken. Both men have been pretty bullish this morning. Straw says he’s mortified he fell into the trap, Rifkind says he has every right to get paid for passing on his expertise. Many people will feel instinctively uncomfortable about politicians who once held the main offices of state or still chair influential parliamentary committees claiming they could offer things like access to ambassadors, or suggest they might work for a daily rate of £5000.

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Clegg: senior Labour ex-ministers should give evidence to UK torture inquiry

Nick Clegg Q&A 12Last week came the revelations from the US Senate Intelligence Committee about the extent of the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

It immediately promoted questions about what the then Labour Government knew about what was happening on the watch of its closest ally. Nick Clegg has called for senior ex-ministers to give evidence to Parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC) on what they knew about torture conducted by UK or US intelligence agencies in Iraq or Afghanistan, as The Guardian reports:

The deputy prime minister said

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Proof that not *all* Tories are bonkers on Europe (and nor was Mrs Thatcher)

margaret thatcher europeAmidst all the Tory Euro-hysteria (‘Eurotic’, I’ve heard it described as: and I seriously hope I didn’t mis-hear) it’s easy to forget there are a few Tories, a diminishing if stoic band, who have kept tight hold of their senses.

And though it was David Cameron’s desperate last-ditch pitch for the job of Tory leader — his 2005 promise to his party’s Europhobes to withdraw the Tories from the mainstream centre-right EPP alliance, a policy even David Davis wouldn’t touch — which has, slowly but inevitably, dragged the party ever more fringewards, a few of his backbenchers remain hopeful they can persuade him, even now, to do the sensible thing.

Here’s some of what they’ve written to him:

We acknowledge the EU’s shortcomings and understand the desire and, under the Lisbon Treaty the possibility, to repatriate powers. However, we do our nation, as well as Europe, a disservice by not confidently exerting the same level of engagement and leadership as we demonstrate in organisations such as NATO, the G8, the UN Security Council or the Commonwealth.

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The top five London MPs for outside earnings

Via a survey carried out for LondonlovesBusiness.com comes this list of the top five London MPs for annual outside earnings on top of their MP salary of £65,738:

  1. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, MP for Kensington (Con) – upwards of £240,000
  2. Nick Raynsford, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich (Lab) – £60,657
  3. Mark Field, MP for Cities of London and Westminster (Con) – £41,740
  4. Jo Johnson, MP for Orpington (Con) – £12,314
  5. Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington (Lab) – £10,326

What do you think of these figures: good to see MPs having a range of activities or bad to see MPs spending time earning these sorts of sums?

 

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MPs expenses: the details that you’ve probably missed

The headline recommendations from Sir Christopher Kelley’s review of MPs’ expenses have been widely covered. Despite this coverage, there is a series of detailed proposals which have been largely overlooked – including one which may yet put the leaders of political parties on the spot over cases involving their own MPs which they thought they had dealt with.

You can read the full report here, but these are the details I have in mind:

Travel: “MPs should expect to be treated in the same way as their constituents in this regard, unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary. That

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Viewing MPs’ travel expenses on a map

There’s a nifty little Google Map at http://ouseful.open.ac.uk/maps/mpTravelExpensesMap.html which is a great example of how you can use maps to make statistics clearer. In this case, the big issue is that MPs do have genuinely different legitimate travel needs depending on where they live. It’s only reasonable for an MP from Scotland to have much higher travel expenses than one who lives in London, for example.

Putting the sums on a map helps show the patterns which are reasonable. And it also highlights those which are a bit more surprising, such as the previously mentioned Margaret Moran, Labour MP …

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What is it about London Conservatives and expenses?

London Conservative Assembly Member Brian Coleman’s huge expense claims are nearing the stuff of legend, hiss free travel card notwithstanding.* Even when the figures last year showed he had cut his taxi claims by a fifth, they still came in at over £8,000 in a year, compared with £685 on average for other London Assembly members.**

However, he is by no means alone when it comes to expense bills that, shall we say, don’t exactly leave the impression of someone taking care over taxpayers’ money.

Boris Johnson has a bit of form when it comes to

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