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Sunday, March 07, 2010

MPs still don't get it - shock!

Yesterday's Daily Telegraph reveals details of some of the submissions made by MPs to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), the body charged with drawing up a new system of allowances to replace the discredited expenses system.

Some of the representations are reasonable in my view, especially in relation to the amount of money MPs have to run their office. However, it is noticeable that the proposal that MPs should only be allowed to travel first class in "exceptional circumstances", such as a journey of more than two and a half hours, has met with particularly strong opposition by parliamentarians:

Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald, accused him of being guided by media "spite" rather than value to the taxpayer, and pointed out she had written two books while travelling first class.

She said: "If I travel first class, I can plug in my computer, not a facility that is universally available in second class. I can therefore work throughout the journey.

"The 'at seat' service means that I do not have to interrupt the work to go and queue in the train's buffet bar.

"Second class being more of a thoroughfare, interruption and engagement in conversation is a great deal more frequent."

Tom Levitt, the Labour backbencher for High Peak, said: "I invariably work on the train, something I can only do in a first class carriage for three reasons: that I have a table, space and privacy to work there; that I have a seat (as the standard class carriages between Manchester and London are often standing room only); and that (as I am over six feet tall) I have the leg room for comfort."


All of these are perfectly valid points, but if you want this convenience then pay the extra yourself.
Comments:
Lucky I'm not a labour leader, 2010 and we have first class for the rich and the rest can f*ck off down the class system.

Of course us shit heads of poverty class, whole smell, must travel on the lower class

some some fat ass Tory can write a book, jesus Christ.
 
Quite right Peter.

Ann Widdecombe may well have written two books in first class. is this part of her job as an MP? No!

I want MPs to travel in the same manner as the rest of us - they are much more likely to do something about the state of public transport if they have to.
 
Via Iain Dale....

Today, Labour MP Tom Levitt tells the Sunday Times he should be allowed to travel in first because he is "six feet tall". LibDem MP Sandra Gidley says she feels "safer" in first class.

....they just don't get it.
 
Strange that you didn't quote Sandra Gidley! To be fair, her point about being a woman traveling alone on late trains is a lot more valid than some of the others made.

Hopefuly she will have used her position to highlight what is a genuine problem and not just used her own "first-class" get out clause.
 
I think politicians should be made to travel standard class until they act to fix the issues of overcrowding, dirt, danger and annoyance that they so want us to pay for them to avoid whilst putting up with it ourselves.

I quite often travel first class these days, I pay my own way, it's expensive and it's not that great in the UK (compared say to canada, spain or italy). they should act to fix that too.
 
Ps: a serious PS - was Anne Widdecombe writing her books in first class when we were paying for her ticket? I think we should be told.
 
Sorry, but this government has allowed train operating companies to ruin second class to the point that it's simply not nice. There used at least to be sensible-width seats with a nice fat fixed central armrest, and that wonderful quiet refuge that was the smoking carriage. On some trains in southern England, you even had compartments. I have no problem with MPs wanting to travel in the remaining carriages that are fit for human travel: they should just seek to abolish the carriages that railway companies have fitted out to "airline" standards as soon as is reasonably possible.
 
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