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Saturday, October 13, 2007

The cost of Brown's indecision

I am sitting in Aberystwyth about to set off for the Welsh Liberal Democrats' autumn conference. I am blogging on my blackberry as I cannot get my Council laptop to work on the hotel's wireless network. Apparently it is too securely locked down. Assembly laptops are not yet wireless enabled. As a consequence I cannot do hotlinks.

I note in this morning's Western Mail that groups affiliated to Labour are asking how much money was spent preparing for a snap election. It is believed that Labour hired a number of temporary staff to work for the party in the run-up to 1st November.In addition poster sites had been booked and millions of leaflets printed to go to marginal constituencies. Some of the letters were actually posted but are only now arriving due to the postal strike. Some were pulped.

I can confirm that leaflets were hand-delivered in the Swansea West constituency announcing the candidacy of Geraint Davies, the former Croydon Central MP, who has been selected to succeed Alan Williams. These leaflets were keen to anticipate and rebut attacks from the Welsh Liberal Democrats on Mr. Davies' record expenditure of taxpayers money on postage and other expenses in his last year as an MP. Obviously Labour think that it is an issue as well and are clearly more than a little embarrassed by it. Will they be issuing any more literature on the subject in the two year run-up to the 2009 election? We will see.
If his candidacy has been announced, does that mean that eerything he spends from now on is part of his election expenses and must be subject to the legal maxima?
The real question is how a defeated MP from an English seat managed to end up chairing a Welsh quango committee. Look at the Environment Agency website for the evidence. It is obvious that the Labour Party In London were preparing the ground for his attempt to go for Swansea East subsidised of course at tax payers expense.
The spending rules have been relaxed in the latest legislation. We no longer have to use such euphemisms as "prospective parliamentary candidate" outside election periods.

- Frank Little
The cost to the public purse of putting local EROs on standby should also be questioned on the parliamentary record.

One trusts that none of the party expenditure is subsidised by the taxpayer.
In today's Western Mail a "Parliamentary Sokesperson for the Liberal Party in Wales" (whoever they are!) goes to some length to compliment the person in charge of Barry's Public Toilets. Is there an election - whether national or local - in the offing?

Cutting news...
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