Day: 16/09/2014

The Southend Tory MP, the expenses claims, and £11k of taking the p*ss


james duddridge

Yesterday’s Echo carried a story about Conservative MP for Rochford & Southend East claiming over £11,000 in accommodation expenses for 2013/14. I don’t usually quote wholesale large chunks of news stories, but here it feels appropriate:

A TORY MP has come under fire after for claiming £11,348 of taxpayers’ money, mostly on London hotels – despite having two homes in the capital.

In the latest round of MPs expenses for 2013/14, Rochford and Southend East MP James Duddridge claimed the bulk of the cash on overnight accommodation in the city, from April to December.

The rest of his claims were made up from renting a property in the city until March 2014.

According to his financial declarations, the MP owns two properties in London, which he rents out.

Interesting, no? He owns two homes in London, rents out another, and still manages to stay in hotels. Meanwhile he lives and represents a constituency which is less than an hour from London away by train. I know this because I make that same journey. Every day. To work. As James Duddridge apparently doesn’t.

Bear in mind that this all dates from before he was made a junior minister at the Foreign Office. I fully expect that the amount of expenses he claims will have, similarly to his salary, risen since his promotion.

In light of this, I’m not going to add a whole lot of ranting, because I do think it’s unnecessary. What I am going to do is leave these facts here, without comment, for you to contemplate.

  • James Duddridge has voted “moderately for” the bedroom tax, according the The Public Whip — including voting against an exemption for disabled persons or in cases where there is no alternative smaller accommodation available.
  • James Duddridge has voted “strongly for” reducing spending on welfare — including voting for the benefit cap to limit the amount that those on lower incomes can claim for, er, accomodation.
  • An annual season ticket from Thorpe Bay (James Duddridge’s local train station) to London Fenchurch Street, including travel card, costs £4,640.00. The journey from Thorpe Bay station to Westminster takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  • The salary of a Member of Parliament is £66,060. The salary of a junior minister (such as, for example, a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) is £68,710.
  • The average salary in the UK is £26,000. A full-time job on the minumum wage amounts to £13,124.
  • James Duddridge is up for re-election on 7th May 2015. His majority in 2010 was 11,050

N.B I make a great effort not to swear very often on this blog, and during the writing of this particular post that has been f**king difficult . I have plainly not succeeded, and for that I can only apologise.

Comment is (not) free?


mark flewitt

Anyone who reads the blog of Southend Tory councillor Mark Flewitt (just me then?) may have noticed that he has started adding the following legend to his blogs:

NO COMMENTS WILL BE ANSWERED AS TO THIS ITEM*

Now, there are many things that can (and will) be said of it, but suffice it to say that I think this is a bizarre statement to make, belying Mark’s commitment to a fully democractic politics and speaking to an over-sensitive nature on the part of someone who aspires to be one of the major political actors of a British town.

Read on…