Thursday, 9 April 2009

Conservative government would derail the Sinn Féin gravy train

I was rather preoccupied, last night, with cradling my head in my hands, gritting my teeth and rocking back and forth in despair. Therefore I did not inspect, until this morning, the contents of a press release issued on behalf of Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, Owen Paterson.

Although I am coming rather late to the story, and it is being discussed elsewhere, it is nevertheless worth a brief mention. The meat of Paterson’s statement is as follows:

“Should the Conservatives win a majority at the next election, one of their first priorities would be to restore the integrity of Parliament. I think that it is inconceivable that incoming Conservative MPs would vote to continue paying millions of pounds of public money to elected members who do not take their seats.”

I believe this represents reiteration of current policy rather than anything brand new, but it deserves to be restated given the controversy about MPs expenses and in particular revelations that Sinn Féin is claiming half a million pounds in expenses despite refusing to sit in Parliament. Paterson continues,

"The issue of paying allowances to elected members of parliament who do not take their seats is not part of the Good Friday and St Andrews agreements. The issue was raised by Sinn Féin in 1997 with the then Speaker, Betty Boothroyd, who refused permission on grounds that the House of Commons did not permit what she described as 'associate membership'.”


Timothy Belmont said...

Of course the whole business is farcical and preposterous. These allowances they get are nothing new though, are they? I wonder how long it has all being going on for.
Sinn Fein would struggle, to use their language, to hold on to their "entitlements" and act as victims and persecuted too; they'd point to the gravy train already in existence at Parliament.
We simply need to be prepared for this scenario and have cogent responses.

Ignited said...

I think the whole system has to get overhauled, whether it is Labour, Conservative or Lib Dems at the helm.

Owen's announcement is definitely not new, I have heard him on the same subject on a few occasions and he is consistent on the matter. So fingers crossed something is done. But unfortunately I suspect while moving on second homes allowances, more discretion will appear else where in the expenses.