Labour MP Emily Thornberry in trouble… again

Islington South & Finsbury Labour MP Emily Thornberry is an old friend of LDV – we noted her hypocrisy here (September) and her ticking off by the Parliament’s standards watchdog here (October).

Now Ms Thornberry is in trouble again – this time for using taxpayers’ money to send out unsolicited letters to residents on Parliamentary stationery using pre-paid envelopes. She is being forced by the Serjeant-at-Arms to pay back the money she illegitimately spent in the run-up to the 2007 election-that-never-was. As the MP sent out at least 10,400 letters with first-class postage, she could face a bill of some £4,245 as a result of this decision.

In a letter from Sir Philip Mawer, the Standards Commissioner, received this week, residents were satisfied to discover that their complaint was upheld and Ms Thornberry will be forced to pay back the money. Sir Philip wrote:

“It is clear to me that Ms Thornberry should not have used pre-paid envelopes at all for this exercise (since her letter was unsolicited) but should have covered the cost of the stationery and envelopes and the postage required directly, either from her Communications Allowance or out of her own pocket.” He continued: “She has indicated that she will reimburse the cost of the pre-paid envelopes she used and I have asked her to do this.”

Emily Thornberry’s majority over the Lib Dems’ Bridget Fox at the last general election was a wafer-thin 484.

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4 Comments

  • Richard Gadsden Richard Gadsden 11th Jan '08 - 7:14pm

    Aside from the relatively minor publicity damage, there’s really no incentive not to do this – if you get caught, then you just have to pay the money you would have had to pay anyway.

    There should be a penalty for being dishonest and getting caught, else there is no incentive to be honest.

  • Hywel Morgan 11th Jan '08 - 9:53pm

    Loss of the Communications Allowance for a certain period would seem a reasonable sanction.

  • I think Hywel’s suggestion is excellent.

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