Ed Miliband campaign chief broke rules for MPs

So reports Paul Waugh in the Evening Standard:

Ed Miliband’s campaign chief breached House of Commons rules by sending a Parliamentary letter to voters during the general election campaign, anti-sleaze watchdogs have found…

Mr Khan was reported to the watchdog after it emerged that he had sent a mailshot using Commons notepaper and pre-paid envelopes to inform voters that he could no longer deal with constituency cases during the dissolution of Parliament…

[Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards] Mr Lyon said that although it was clear Mr Khan had tried to keep constituents informed, one effect of the letter was to appear to be canvassing “support for his return to public office”.

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15 Comments

  • LibDemKitty 6th Oct '10 - 6:03pm

    I am not entirely sure how informing your constituents that you are not able to attend to constituency work while Parliament is dissolved constitutes “party political activity” – it also raises the question as to what an MP – or rather PPC – is meant to do with letters or emails that arrive during this time.

  • This just in:

    Ed Miliband’s hair is a bit weird as well.

  • MPs can send what ever letters that they want to the voters – but it’s not supposed to be on official stationary (which we pay for) if it is campaign stuff. I believe (from the report in the standard back in Apr) that some of the phrasing was a little close to the mark, e.g.:

    “Over the past five years as the local MP, I have dealt with the queries or problems of thousands of local residents.”

    Which is hardly relevant to the fact that he wouldn’t be able to deal with any issues during the election and why I think he was found guilty.

    The ice that he is skating on must surely be wafer thin by now? £2k+ on birthday cards (since forced to repay), also wasn’t there something else about campaign literature back in 2007?

    How many honest mistakes will it take before he managers to remember that he can’t claim for these sorts of things? Never mind, he’s only an ex-minister, I’m sure he was wasn’t doing anything to vital, don’t suppose he’s very high in the LP now is he?

    Never mind though, so many people think that MPs are liars that I doubt if this could cause much more damage.

  • Norfolk Boy 6th Oct '10 - 10:38pm

    hardly the crime of the century and if we’re censuring people for that then I’ll bring up the much more serious business of expenses

    Opik charged us £2500 for a TV.
    Clegg’s house etc

    I could go on but what’s the point, it’s just a game to you.

  • @ Norfolk Boy
    “…. it’s just a game to you …”
    Not really, it breaks me heart at times that we seem to have a bred politicians that seem to believe that “rules are for the little people” (and I don’t single out any particular colour of party when I say that).

    Who can remember the time years before the expenses sage when politicians were ranked with double glazing salemen, journalists etc on the respect scale. Then some MP would be wheeled onto TV and explain to us that we didn’t respect them because they weren’t paid enough, if they gave themselves a massive pay rise we would regain that respect.

  • It’s a fair cop, although it’s disappointing that the author cut off his quotes before the part where it was stated that it was considered to have been an honest mistake that cost £173 quid, it’s worth pointing out so others don’t do it, not sure why Ed Milliband is brought into this though.

  • Far more serious, even sinister, than all this trivia about a few letters, is the ongoing saga of Cameron’s appointment of Coulson, Murdoch’s excessive influence on our governance, and why the police didn’t investigate the phone-tapping to a greater extent. ‘Despatches’ on Channel 4 on Monday tackled this disturbing topic, and the programme can still be viewed at:-

    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-58/episode-3

  • @Ivan White
    Far more serious than an elected politician, ex-minister responsible for transport, not being able to understand a set of instructions about what he can claim (on 2 or 3 occasions)?

    “police didn’t investigate the phone-tapping to a greater extent”
    Didn’t all of this happen under the watch of Labour? Didn’t Murdoch support them at that time? I can’t really imagine why they didn’t investigate further, no really, I do mean that.

  • Chris_sh – too tribal – I think Coulson should go. As far as I can tell, someone is briefing against us from inside the Tory HQ all the time atm.

  • @Henry
    You’re probably right about the comment being to tribal, but I just get forget up with people going on about it as if the last 13 years didn’t count. The coalition wasn’t even a thought in anyones mind when all this happened, but Labour lose the election and then suddenly they think it’s the most important thing ever.

  • “The coalition wasn’t even a thought in anyone’s mind when all this happened, but Labour lose the election and then suddenly they think it’s the most important thing ever.”

    Coulson wasn’t at the heart of government until May. Murdoch switched his allegiance to Cameron some time before that, probably in exchange for a free run at BSkyB. Please take your head out of the sand and watch the programme:-

    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-58/episode-3

  • Chris_sh
    Posted 7th October 2010 at 1:11 pm | Permalink
    ‘You’re probably right about the comment being to tribal, but I just get forget up with people going on about it as if the last 13 years didn’t count.’

    Just because something didn’t get corrected in the previous 13 years doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be corrected now. You must have several cases to deal with from your constituents who are worried about their jobs, benefit cuts etc. Would it not be better for you as an MP to spend your time dealing with those than commenting here?

  • @BB-Posted 7th October 2010 at 7:07 pm
    “Just because something didn’t get corrected in the previous 13 years doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be corrected now.”

    Absolutely, after all that is what the coalition are trying to do with the economy. However, in the particular case we are talking about something that happened in 2007. In 2009 the Guardian made claims along similar lines, but this was rejected as the police stated that there was no new evidence.

    So we have the situation where the last Government had at least 2 chances to insist that further investigations were carried out, but they didn’t bother. What has changed, 2 things perhaps, they lost the election and the lost the support of Murdoch. Because of the sensitivity of the case in 2007, the police would have had to keep the Home Office etc up to date with what was going on. If we are to investigate, then I think we should also investigate what information was held by the politicians to see if the Gov. suppressed further investigations to avoid the Murdoch empire taking additional flak. It should also be borne in mind that MP were being advised/reminded to do things like change their SIM/set their passwords back in 2009, so it probably wasn’t a big secret in the bubble.

    I assumed that I was the only person using Chris_sh btw, there may be another who is an MP – but it isn’t me – I’m way to cynical to be an MP.

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