Saturday, 16 May 2009


I want to add a little to my colleague Dave Green’s post on expenses.

I have got to know dozens of MPs in my personal and professional time in politics and the finest representative I have come across is Steve Ladyman. I think Gordon Brown when he makes changes to his administration which he undoubtedly will, would be well advised to find a senior place for Steve in his government.

It is typical of Steve that he has spent much time preparing all his expenses and publishing them a model for other representatives of all parties.

I would hope that Roger Gale would do the same as the other Thanet MP. I also understand that whereas Steve Ladyman MP has his constituency office open full time, Roger Gale MP has his office open only in the mornings. I think we need to see a clear explanation for why this is. If Roger is only claiming half the expenses then that is fine, but my understanding is that this is not the case.
Roger has this from They Work for You on his website. This on his spending.
I think he should address his lack of detailed receipts, especially in light of his disgraceful support previously for Derek Conway MP who was expelled from the Conservatives for expenses irregularities. The BBC reported Roger Gale saying:
"If Derek Conway says his son did the hours which he said he did, I do not doubt his word."
Mr Conway was reprimanded by the Standards Committee after "no record" was found of Freddie Conway doing any work for him as a researcher. The student was paid more than £40,000 for his three-year employment period.
Roger Gale's attitude to Conway's abuses shows the old attitude that needs to be removed.
(I have amended the above 3 paragraphs from "Roger has" in light of Hugin's comment below.)

To find full details of Steve Ladyman's expenses click here. There are further links to other documents but it is important to read Steve's overview. In previous years Steve has made details of his expenses available for inspection in his office and I expect he will do the same with these.

All MPs are not the same and it is good that South Thanet is represented by somebody who is ensuring full transparency. That's one of the many reasons I support Steve Ladyman.
UPDATE 16.5.09 20.45 Steve Ladyman has published this statement:
"People are understandably angry about what they've read in the newspapers and heard on the news in the last week but although copies of receipts and claim forms had been leaked to the Telegraph, the same information wasn't available to MPs in a form we could publish until a few days ago. In the interests of full transparancy I've now published everything I can via my website. Some information has been redacted to stop bank account details being released and to comply with data protection laws because third parties were referred to but otherwise my constituents have now got everything that I've got." "I hope that people don't tar all MPs with the same brush. I've long advocated a reform of the expense system and greater transparency and done my best through my own web site to set an example. The vast majority of MPs are hard working and honest. If some have made mistakes they should be held to account but we should not all be blamed for their mistakes." "On the doorsteps of Ramsgate today and as I've met people all around the constituency in the last few days most people have said they understand that not all MPs have expolited the system, they want those who have done so punished but they don't blame us all for the errors of the few. I'm also pleased to say that they have been very kind and understanding to me personally."


  1. I went canvassing today with Steve , Alan Poole and Peter Cambell. Some people were suprised to see us and in some cases pleased we came round. It was great just to speak to people, look them in the eyes and talk to them with honesty and intergrity. I know politics has got a bad press at the moment but we are not the villians and most people appreciated that. There was a larger proportion of people than usual who said they would not be voting but those who spoke to Steve were pleased to see him and expressed their point of view.

  2. I must have missed something vital here Mark!

    This is, I assume the same Dr Ladyman who accepted a very generous donation last year from a local businessman and consequently compromised any pretense to impartiality in regard to an important local planning application?

    Still, it could be worse I suppose, at least he's not Hazel Blears so we can count ourselves lucky!!

  3. Mark,

    I find your attempt to make political capital out of this dangerous, pointless, and also untrue: Roger Gale's website contains similar tables and similar dates to Steve's, quoted from the same source. Your knee jerk position asked for the rather childish partisan response it got, and neither takes us much further forward.

    You are right about the doorstep reactions: lots of questions, some disgust, but, importantly, virtually always a sensible, restrained, even polite discussion, which I have seen Roger handle simply, openly, and in a manner which continues to earn him respect.

    It would appear that neither of our island MP's are at the heart of this mess, something we should recognise in each of them amd be grateful for. Steve Ladyman has very publicly warned that he sees a real threat of minority parties being propelled forward by this scandal, and if you agree and admire him as much as you say, then a little back peddling of the normal hostilities may just help.

    The integrity of our very democracy seems to be at stake here, because of some very greedy actions amongst our political class around the Westminster village. Right now I believe many of the public are holding their breath, in some shock and disbelief: when that comes to an end the anger will be awesome to behold, and the casualties many.

    The greatest fear we should have is a return to the days when only those with private incomes could represent at any level, and the scything hand of retribution could deny voters many good people who simply cannot afford to be an MP, without help with additional costs.

    Everywhere else you work the rules are tighter, enforced, and result in dismissal and prosecution when it goes wrong. To bring Parliament in line with the rest of us for that would be a good start for many I would think. Above all, the one rule for us, and another for them, on pensions, expenses,redundancy tax treatment, second home profits, and so on, must end. Now. Action this day - an area where we can all say David Cameron has shown a lead.

  4. Dr. Moores,

    As Dr. Ladyman isn't on the planning committee is his impartiality any different to that of Cllrs. Ezekiel and Latchford who went at CGP's expense to China to meet the Chinese government officials interested in coming here? Allegedly, the expenses were repaid by the Chinese but it seems a bit vague when that happened. Cllr. Ezekiel was happy to promote the whole deal constantly and we all witnessed the disgraceful council meeting when only a mere handful of your colleagues on both sides had the courage to oppose the whole scheme. At least Dr. Ladyman was open about the donation and has never tried to hide it. There is no evidence he has tried to claim something at our expense beyond the basics for running his office and other justifiable expenses. Perhaps your parliamentary colleague from N. Thanet might like to be as open?

  5. The money from Ken Wills was a donation and was fully declared. It doesn't come into expenses so what's your point? Perhaps the Tory candidate for S. Thanet will declare , in the name of transparency, how much she is receiving from a millionaire, non-resident, that enables her to be the 'most hard-working candidate' according to MEP, Daniel Hannan, or is it all from her own pocket?

  6. "There is nothing on Roger’s website that I can find about his expenses. I think he should address this" - your look at the site must have been very brief.

    I looked at Gale's website yesterday to see what expenses he had claimed and found them set out clearly for 2002/03 to 2007/08. I dislike the man's political opinions, but your allegation about his website is wrong and serves only to damage your own reputation as a politician.

  7. Thank you Hugin I have amended my post to give both correct links. Apologies for the error.

  8. Perhaps Simon Moores is unaware that both Roger Gale and Laura Sandys were in line to receive money from CGP but only declined after some of their colleagues on TDC pointed out the fact this wasn't a good idea after all. The £25k was, I understand, to be shared by North and South Thanet Tories.

  9. I think Dr. Moores will find that the money from Ken Wills was to S. Thanet Labour Party, not the MP but was for party expenses. It didn't go into the MP's pocket but was used for leaflets etc.

  10. Quite correct. It went to S. Thanet Labour party. I'm not directly aware of any even momentary consideration of an equivalent donation being accepted by Laura Sandys or Roger Gale having discussed the matter with both.

  11. Simon you said and I quote:

    "This is, I assume the same Dr Ladyman who accepted a very generous donation last year from a local businessman and consequently compromised any pretense to impartiality in regard to an important local planning application?"

    grudgingly you accept you were wrong and try and change the subject. I would suggest you owe Dr. Ladyman an apology. You complain about smears on your website and in the local press yet your comment here was factually incorrect. Some would say a deliberate smear from a man as well informed about politics as yourself.

    As to Conservative funds, lets clear up everything. How much money from Belize via Lord Ashcroft is being spent in Thanet? Cameron and all Tories refuse to be open on this.

    I await all MPs following Steve Ladyman's example.

  12. Am I missing something here? The expenses are listed on a web-site called "They work for you" This isn't Steve Ladyman's web-site. It is a summary of the total amounts claimed published by someone else. They have the same information for all MPs. It doesn't give a breakdown of those expenses to see exactly what he claimed for. When he claims over £20k for incidental expenditure we want to know what that is.

  13. Yes if you scroll further down the page it takes you to this link
    which details all that you are looking for.

  14. Unfortunately Laura Sandys' financing by an overseas-based millionaire doesn't count towards electoral expenses until an election is called and makes the donation from CGP's chairman look like pocket-money. Her funding is personal whereas Ken Wills's was to the party. It seems on Simon Moores' blog he appears to know more about the offered donation to the two Tory parties than he claims on here. Perhaps he has checked his memory or that of his colleagues and discovered there were talks about accepting money.

  15. Chris Wells's comments about impartiality are laughable when he sits - and comments - alongside fellow Tory Simon Moores.

    The latter has, on his Thanet Life blog, been entirely partisan over the Westminster expenses outcry. He has repeatedly drawn attention to Labour excesses - which I agree are entirely unacceptable - but he has been silent on all that has emerged about Tory MPs. We all know that a part of his job is to act as the mouthpiece and spinner for the local Tory Party, but when he sucks in others like Wells... They offer just spin over substance.

    As for Tory MP Gale, yes, he has started to publish his allowances on his website, but only now that he can show his second home allowance is half what it was a few years ago. He wasn't keen to go public then. And why will he not say how much of his allowances goes not to "third parties" but into his household bank account? He employs his wife at a salary of something up to £80,000 a year. He has employed her for years. Only by revealing that can he claim transparency.