I recently did a radio show and phone in for Awaaz FM along with Councillor Royston Smith about the importance of public service. The interview came ahead of the forthcoming European Elections on 4th June. I talked about the importance of voting how people can get involved in politics and their community. I also talked about why I first stood to be a councillor and why I am standing for Parliament.
This was all before the row that has blown up over MPs expenses. It all very depressing for someone like me who aspires to represent his local area in Parliament and believes in public service.
Expenses should be just that and should not be an excuse for some MPs to live off the state.
Being an MP is different to most jobs but it is beyond me why they think it is ok to claim all their food and things like tables and chairs.
In Southampton both our MPs, Alan Whitehead and John Denham, make use of their parliamentary communications allowances to pay for their leaflets to be printed and distributed.
As a candidate for Parliament my local political party pays for my leaflets. Why should the taxpayer pay for Alan and John’s? The communications allowance is £10,000 a year or £50,000 in a Parliament. That’s a lot of leaflets paid for by the taxpayer!
I have pledged that if elected to Parliament I will not putting my leaflets on expenses and I am backing David Cameron who has pledged to scrap the allowance if he becomes the next Prime Minister.
I challenge our Southampton MPs to do the same and in fact they should stop claiming this money now. Saying it is within the rules is not an excuse. It is not right and they should stop it.
Alan Whitehead has a long track record for arguing that political parties should receive more money from the taxpayer. My view is the opposite!
I should say that to his credit my opponent at the next General Election, Alan Whitehead has put a list of his expenses on his website. John Denham who represents the Southampton Itchen constituency has as yet failed to do so.