Saturday, June 20, 2009

Three Questions for Eric Joyce MP on his expenses

It wasn't surprising to find that the UK's most expensive MP came from Scotland - I mean if you look at places as far flung as Orkney and Shetland, the Western Isles and the vast highland constituencies, travelling between London and there was going to be expensive enough - and then you have to add on the costs of getting round the place.

But the highest expenses come not from Alistair Carmichael from Orkney and Shetland, but from Eric Joyce who represents Falkirk West, just up the road from me in the central belt. It's a fairly compact constituency, as I remember from campaignng there during the by-election in 2000.

Now that the expenses have been published, even in the heavily "redacted" (isn't redacto a Harry Potter spell?) form that we've been horrified at in the last few days, we find that Mr Joyce made a few claims that at the very least warrant further scrutiny.

Firstly, I'd like to know a wee bit more about the exact consultancy services provided by Ross Martin, who is a close friend of Joyce's and the exact nature of the contractual arrangement between them for that and for the rent or services in property where Mr Joyce has his constituency office in Falkirk.

Secondly, I'm aware that Mr Joyce has, in the last few years, sold a property in Croydon and a flat in Falkirk. He was, to say the very least, evasive, on Newsnight Scotland the other night when asked whether he had paid capital gains tax on either property and particularly on the second home which he'd claimed £120,000 in second home allowance for. He refused to answer on the basis that this might involve someone else's tax affairs and I think it would be helpful to have more information about the exact circumstances. I'd like to know, for all the time he's been an MP, which property has been his second home, has it ever changed and if so, why?

Thirdly, the taxpayers of Falkirk West have become the proud owners of 3 oil paintings, worth a total of £180. When asked about these an unrepentant Mr Joyce said these "looked nice". As he's on Twitter
perhaps he could upload his pictures to Twitpic so we can all see them?

UPDATE: Here is most of that Newsnight interview which a kind person uploaded to You Tube so you can judge for yourself.



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8 comments:

Katy said...

His 2nd home has always been the london one, despite his kids going to school in London, his wife working in London, and him spending the majoity of time in London! Call me crazy but I'd class that as his first home in that case!

Anonymous said...

I have just seen this guy's interview on Newsnight Scotland with Gordon Brewer and the guy needs to be shot !!

How can we email him to express our displeasure when he does not appear to have a website ?? But I bet he is claiming his full £ 10, 000 'office communications allowance'. Bastard.

subrosa said...

You're not crazy Katie, it's the Fees Office who don't have any sense.

I missed most of his Newnight stumblings but I'll watch it on iPlayer later.

You would get his email address from the workingforyou website Anonymous or from the Westminster parliament site.

He's a chancer Caron, nothing more nothing less and he's brought a certain amount of disgrace on the army. I doubt if he'll be welcome in any army situation again.

Caron said...

Hey, anon, you're posting on the blog of a peace loving hippy, here. No violence, please!

If anyone's done anything wrong, then proper processes should deal with it - I don't think violence is the answer to anything.

The Comms Allowance was voted against by most Lib Dems, but it does have its uses in communicating with constituents - many Lib Dems use it for annual reports and always include a report back so that the communication is a 2 way process. I wouldn't condemn anyone for using it if they did so in that spirit.

Katy said...

"How can we email him to express our displeasure when he does not appear to have a website ??"

I was asking myself the same thing - I looked at his expenses on the parliament website, and he's claimed costs for a website, I haven't got the figures on me but I think it was around £600, so I question where this website is consiedering he paid for it!

However I googled him, and this is apparently his email Joycee@parliament.uk

Stephen Glenn said...

He's been seemingly telling me on Twitter that public building all deserve pictures on the walls I seem to remember my doctors surgery has mainly posters in the waiting room and one print in the office. Indeed in one public sector funded service in Edinburgh that is exactly what we did. Admittedly in the private sector originals are more common and in the civil service sometimes there are commissions, or student art if I recall.

When challenged that prints are cheaper than oils for the office he responded that they were a snip at £60 each purchased locally and I'd be pressed to do better except my uncle paints commecially, a great aunt also paints as do I along with photogaphy so I think I might just beat £60 a picture.

Clair said...

I already didn't rate this guy- he confirmed he'd attend a presentation for the Prince's Trust to support the young people and didn't bother, nor did he respond to cancel. Not really surprising that he doesn't care what us meager tax paying constituents think.

Katy said...

Stephen Glenn, if you want a laugh on twitter ask his merry band of staff and sycophants about his expenses they are all on twitter and they give even more bizarre defences then he does about them.

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