Over the last few weeks, I have occasionally posted on the absolutely outrageous 'Communications Allowance' by which an individual sitting MP can spend £10,000 per year on glossy leaflets to support a re-election campaign. The shocking aspect of this is that it is entirely within the rules that Parliament has written for itself. Its a legal disgrace. It really is almost beyond belief that some MPs are not satisfied with this huge electoral benefit - and go beyond even these rules to secure an even bigger advantage.
When I first posted on this issue, I did not think of it as being directed at any political party. I suspected that MPs of all parties would have used this allowance. If I were an MP, and given a 'Communications Allowance', I may well have used it myself - for genuine communication rather than for the blatantly personal promotional material that I've seen. MPs are supposed to be 'Honourable Members' after all!! However, I note on today's ConservativeHome that this is not necessarily always the case. It names several Labour MPs of possibly breaking the rules, including Ruth Kellly, the Transport Minister who has already apologised to the Sergeant-at-Arms. The other names mentioned are Bridget Prentice, Gisela Stuart and Julie Morgan, all Labour MPs. At the very least, wherever this allowance has been improperly spent it should be refunded.