Open letter to Speaker Martin over #MPexpenses

Fifty-six Lib Dem PPCs have put their name to an open letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin:

Dear Mr Speaker, 

As Parliament continues to be dragged down by the allowance system, and its rules, the role of those in public service across the country is being undermined. 

We are Liberal Democrat candidates seeking to be elected to Parliament and yet we find ourselves disappointed, and frustrated, at the way in which this matter is being handled. Every day our residents are telling us loudly that this must stop and this must stop now. 

Three things stand out:

• The resistance to the releasing of these documents and the attempt to exclude Parliament from the Freedom of Information requirements 

• The way in which Norman Baker and Kate Hoey were treated when they sought to raise legitimate concerns 

• The fact that, through you, Parliament could now release the information into the public domain and cut short this parade of drip-fed news and empower MPs and citizens through a new transparent relationship. 

It is vital that Parliament must become transparent and accountable now. We call on you, as Speaker of the House, to do everything within your power to force the full publication of all expenses immediately. We also call on you to accept the independent review of MPs expenses and salaries chaired by Sir Christopher Kelly. 

If you are unable to do this we then ask you to consider your position. Time is running out for politicians of all parties to repair the damage to our democracy. 

Yours sincerely 

56 Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidates
Ed Fordham, Hampstead and Kilburn
Sal Brinton, Watford
Andrew Simpson, Northampton North
Bridget Fox, Islington South & Finsbury
Duncan Borrowman, Old Bexley and Sidcup
Steve Goddard, Oxford East
Adrian Collett, Aldershot
Adam Carew, East Hampshire
Gareth Epps, Reading East
Sally Morgan, Central Devon
Sue Doughty, Guildford
Rebecca Hunt. Chatham & Aylesford
Sarah Carr, Hereford and South Herefordshire 
Guy Voizey Canterbury and Whitstable 
Jo Shaw, Holborn and St Pancras
Liz Leffman, Meon Vallley 
Merlene Emerson, Hammersmith
Sandy Walkington, St Albans 
Richard Burt, West Worcestershire
Caroline Pigeon, Vauxhall
Kevin Lang, Edinburgh North & Leith
Andrew Dakers, Brentford and Isleworth
Andrew Duffield,Hexham
David Kendall, Brentwood and Ongar
Ann Haigh, Epping Forest
Simon Wright, Norwich South
Liz Simpson, Tonbridge and Malling
Sam Webber, Bromley and Chislehurst
Rabi Martins – Luton North
Greg Stone, Newcastle East
Theo Butt-Philip, Bridgwater and West Somerset
Dave Radcliffe, Birmingham Selly Oak
Richard Clein, Sefton Central
Mike Cox, Uxbridge and South Ruislip
Andy Stamp, Gillingham & Rainham
Stephen Lloyd, Eastbourne & Willingdon
Mark Blackburn, Westminster North
Denis Healy, Hull North
Robin Lawrence, Wolverhampton South West
Alex Feakes, Lewisham and West Penge
Andrew Falconer, Brighton Pavilion
Dave McBride, Orpington
Nigel Quinton, Hitchin & Harpenden
Alan Beddow, Warwick and Leamington
David Goodall, Southampton Itchen
Ryk Downes, Leeds Central
Chris Took, Ashford
Peter Wilcock, Saffron Walden
Karen Hamilton, Birmingham Perry Barr
Qurban Hussain, Luton South
Keith Angus, Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Stephen Robinson, Chelmsford
Mike Bell, Weston-super-Mare 
Dave Raval, Hackney South and Shoreditch
Fred Mackintosh, Edinburgh South
Munira Wilson, Feltham and Heston
Paul Zukowskyj, Welwyn Hatfield

The letter is here, on Facebook. No word yet whether the Speaker is also on Facebook. Although Jonathan Calder has found his blog.

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31 Comments

  • “tomorrow I will be reporting a number of Liberal Democrat MPs, PPCs and local parties to the Electoral Commission”

    Well I’d suggest you check out what powers the Electoral Commission have before wasting a stamp.

  • The facebook link doesn’t seem to be working Alex!

  • David Morton 18th May '09 - 1:40am

    Another example of the party not keeping up with fast moving developments or has it just taken a while to be posted on here ? The PPC’s call on him stand down if he doesn’t meet some very vaguely worded requests.

    However yesterday morning Nick Clegg called on him to stand down full stop. Even that is after many senior members of the party and front benchers have been calling for im to go for days.

    What is the point rhetorically of an open letter from Lib Dem PPC’s calling for something signifigantly LESS radical than party policy?

    It isn’t a bad idea. 56 “clean skin” aspirants calling for reform. However as people outside the club it will only work as a campaign if you are more radical not less.

    Unles its just a face book scam to build a mailing list but aren’t people wise to that ?

  • Typical mealy-mouthed Lib Dem rubbish. Don’t ask him to “consider his position” like a bunch of little girl scouts, tell him to resign NOW – like your leader did yesterday. Are you so backward?

    THIS is the message you should be sending to him:

  • Mark:
    “What you disagree with is the implication that you draw from the accurate information given in the leaflet. Fair enough, it’s a free country. Other people draw a different implication, but why should your implication be encased in law and different views be banned?”

    While I agree one can’t legislate for misleading information in political leaflets, you are being disingenuous here.

    We all know precisely what effect these “two-horse race” graphics are intended to have. They’re intended to persuade supporters of other parties that it would be a waste of time voting for them. Pushing that message in European elections is sheer dishonesty.

  • Adrian,

    Firstly, let’s clear something up given the political environment at the moment! Material which comes through the post marked “election communication” is not paid for by the taxpayer – it’s paid for by the candidate / political party whose leaflet it is. The leaflet is then delivered to all houses by the Post Office. This is something which all candidates of all parties and none are entitled, and is used at elections for all levels of government above local government.

    On the issue about the bar charts, I suspect this is because the European elections are to be declared on a Westminster parliamentary constituency basis rather than on the Euro constituencies – the votes are then added together at the central count point and the seats distributed. Frankly this idea is stupid because it was bound to lead to parties confining their campaigns to the local constituency level and sidelining the European issues which the election should be about.

  • Actually Adrian, after looking at your site I think you’re maybe just a jealous activist in another party….

  • Duncan Macdonald 18th May '09 - 12:44pm

    I think that the only thing missing from some of the leaflets that Adrian dislikes and which I think should be there is a note saying which election the figures are from.

    The messages about Labour can’t win here etc clearly refer to the parliamentary constituency (the clue is in the name) and not the Euro constituency.

    To use an analogy if I were buying a car I wouldn’t just look at the manufacturers brochure I would do some research and read independent reviews and make a judgment based on all the evidence.

    A quick google will soon tell anyone who is interested far more than any leaflet can. At the end of the day political leaflets are marketing / advertising and need to be treated as such.

  • “European elections are to be declared on a Westminster parliamentary constituency basis rather than on the Euro constituencies”

    They are actually declared on a council area basis (though in a few cases that is coterminous with constitunency boundaries)

  • David Allen 18th May '09 - 1:35pm

    Yes, these are typically silly Lib Dem leaflets, which scream at the voter “I AM A TWISTER”, and will annoy far more people than they convince.

    Meanwhile, our opponents have read their Hitler. Lie big, lie confidently, lie often, lie totally, and so, sound credible. Put out the big lies a day or two before the poll, so that the Lib Dems have no time to get the truth into print. Their approach wins votes. Ours loses votes.

    Faced with Alix’s proposed voluntary code, I’m sure they would all sign like a shot, then carry on undeflected.

    National exposure and humiliation would work better. Interested in picking on someone else, as well as the Lib Dems, Adrian?

  • Adrian Short wrote:

    “Yes, that would be silly whoever did it.”

    Not so silly once you realise that it works.

    In 1997, Labour won St Albans from third place because they were able to point to the poor Lib Dem performance at the preceding Euro election. I believe that several Labour surges in 1997 were attributable to that tactic.

  • Grammar Police 21st May '09 - 10:47am

    Adrian, I see this sort of thing from Labour and Conservatives all the time where I live (not too far from you in Merton). Labour regularly print leaflets on yellow paper with big headlines with the words “Lib Dem” in them to make a casual observer wonder if they’re from us (the local Labour party then criticised the local Lib Dems for using blue paper for leaflets in the Ealing Southall by-election – not that the choice of paper was ours!).

    The Tories ran a bar chart showing the GLA results in Merton at the 2006 local elections – with the intention of arguing that we couldn’t win council seats in our target ward.

    As long as something is clearly marked as to what it is and accurate, then who are we to say what should be on leaflets. If someone wanted to put out a concise history of Britain on an election leaflet, interpreting certain facts certain ways, and drawing what they thought was sound political positions from it, what would be wrong with that?

  • Grammar Police 21st May '09 - 10:52am

    Oh, thought of another one – our local Tory MP put out a survey with a question about people’s political affiliations. This was apparently to “ensure a representative sample”. There were no other questions on age, gender, race etc. I asked how this question related to ensuring a representative sample. I got a very snide response but no explanation of how this question ensured a representative sample.

    You see, I don’t mind him asking people how they vote (they can leave it blank) but I do mind him misleading people about the reasons to fill that question in. And as a constituent, if this is genuinely about representative samples, then fair enough. But as a constituent, even a party activist, I deserve a polite response answering my question (my questions were polite).

  • Grammar Police 21st May '09 - 10:53am

    sorry, I missed a comma in the above: “not too far from you, in Merton”. :o)

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