Response from Nick Raynsford MP

Following my previous post:

Dear Mr Aylett

Thank you for your email to Nick Raynsford MP, I am responding on his
behalf.

Nick has always supported much more transparency and less scope for
abuse, and indeed has claimed lower expenses than most other MPs for
many years. Nick does not claim any expenses other than the employment
of staff and communicating directly with constituents.

Most of the media coverage on this issue has focused on the ability of
MPs to claim expenses on the cost of maintaining and furnishing a second
home. This element in the allowances does not apply in Nick’s case, as
an Inner London MP, he does not need a second home and does not qualify
for the allowance.

Nick has not signed EDM’s, regardless of the merits of the case, for
some time as he feels they have been devalued by trivial and excessive
use.

Yours sincerely

[redacted]
Senior Caseworker & Research Assistant

Note that the claim about transparency doesn’t really sit with his voting record on transparency, although I’m prepared to concede a point here as he has generally abstained and so hasn’t really shown his colours, and in any case publicwhip.org.uk has a tricky job actually gluing this stuff together helpfully.

Note, more worryingly, that this is a form response that fails to give any indication what he’s going to do. (Although to be fair, with talk earlier today about a three line whip, he might have simply been hoping the issue would go away rather than have to face expulsion from his party over doing the right thing.) At least, though, it is a form response that talks about him specifically, talking about why I as his constituent should be happy with his attitude towards expenses. And I am, but that’s not what I was worried about in the first place, because I already knew that he is a low claimant; nor am I interested specifically in the second home issue. My letter actually talked about the need for transparency to foster trust in government (not dissimilar to what President Obama said yesterday) — this part has not been addressed in the response.

Nick last signed an EDM on 17th December 2008 (calling for a vote on the third Heathrow runway over environmental impact), suggesting that either he or his office has a very short memory, or a different definition of ‘some time’ than I have. (He hasn’t signed any other EDMs this Parliamentary session, so he’s probably against them in general, but the above claim is a lie.)

It now looks like this won’t go to a vote, and certainly won’t in its current form. This is what we wanted, really; however I’m still left with the bad feeling that Nick Raynsford is another bloody weasel.

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