Taxpayers helping to fund Tories’ Cornwall electioneering

Last month Mark Prisk, Tory MP for Hertford and Stortford, got himself into hot water with the Commons authorities for breaking Parliamentary rules in relation to political campaigning. Now Mr Prisk is in trouble once again – indeed, perhaps it’s time to refer to his repeat offences as ‘Prisking’? – this time for using taxpayers’ money to drive to Cornwall in pursuit of his fictitious role as the Tories’ ‘Shadow Cornwall Minister’.

The Western Morning News has the story:

THE Conservative Party’s “shadow Cornwall minister” has defended using taxpayers’ money for trips to the Westcountry. … From July 2007 to May 2008, Mr Prisk, MP for Hertford and Stortford, claimed £1,130 from Commons authorities to pay for car journeys and a further £209 on a train ticket. Under House of Commons rules, MPs are allowed to claim for some travel expenses outside their constituencies if the trips are directly connected to their Parliamentary work. But there is no “Minister for Cornwall” – Mr Prisk’s shadow role was created by Tory leader David Cameron in 2007 to boost the party’s electoral fortunes.

Mr Prisk’s defence is that trusty, time-honoured shield – he stuck to the Commons’ rules:

When I look to visit and talk to businesses in Cornwall, I apply to the House of Commons, I explain what I am going to do and they say whether it is appropriate or not. When I visit for purely campaigning purposes, clearly I pay for myself. I stick to the rules very clearly. [my emphasis]

I hope I’m not being dreadfully cynical in noting that careful use of the word, ‘purely’, and wondering if Mr Prisk sometimes combines a trip to Cornwall for Commons-compliant purposes at the taxpayers’ expense with a spot of electioneering on behalf of the Tories.

As the Lib Dems’ Julia Goldsworthy, herself an MP who actually represents Cornwall, comments:

I think it is very concerning information and would appear to reinforce some of the concerns we have previously expressed. It looks like something the Commissioner should look into.

If all of these visits are in his capacity as shadow business minister, he must be spending an awful lot of time visiting other parts of the country as well, to have visited Cornwall five times.

Very clearly, the public have little confidence in MPs at the moment. There are lots of issues being raised about the way MPs use public money and this is another example of why we need complete openness.

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in News.


  • “I think it is very concerning information”

    Is that a translation from the Cornish, as it doesn’t seem very good English !!

    Mind, it’s my 2nd lingo, so perhaps I’m wrong.

    [On the substantive issue, what’s been going on is clearly wrong. Full stop.]

  • Can we appoint a Minister for Hertfordshire Affairs?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 23rd Feb - 8:27pm
    Yes, expats, we do need outrage, at what the poorest and unluckiest people of this country are suffering, and sadly are likely to suffer more...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 23rd Feb - 7:37pm
    Much as I enjoy trying to categorise political thinking, Tony, I don't see many politicians in either the Tory or the Labour party actually fitting...
  • User AvatarJohn 23rd Feb - 7:07pm
    Little englanders have been forecasting the end of the EU since early EEC days of 6 countries in the early 70's
  • User AvatarJonathan Coulter 23rd Feb - 6:56pm
    @Lorenzo Chirin: "I am fed up with people continuously saying antisemitic claims are made up, fake or smeared". Lorenzo, to get to the point, please...
  • User AvatarTony Venezia 23rd Feb - 6:28pm
    'The horrible truth is that there are people, together with the Government of Israel who are using false accusations of AS, alongside the IHRA definition,...
  • User AvatarTony Venezia 23rd Feb - 6:24pm
    Not much here for social democrats.