I am not surprised at all that we have failed to see from our Home Secretary either an apology or a promise to refund the cash she has siphoned off the tax payer. Let's remember, the money she is taking is supposed to fund her second home. The purpose of contributing towards the cost of a second home is to help "ordinary people" who chose to run for Parliament, and are successful. It is intended to redress an imbalance and ensure that the Commons can be filled with, well, commoners. How many MP's do you know of today are there, that fit that bill?
The tax payer also pays for the upkeep of government houses. These houses are funded specifically so that senior members of the government who need to be stationed in London as much as possible can live there. These arenot flats, these are houses so that families can also be present and so staff be they security or domestic can also be accomodated. The cost is covered by the tax payer so that the Cabinet member again does not need to consider the costs that may otherwise be unaffordable to an "ordinary person".
These houses and expense benefits are supposed to be in place so that we can have a government and Parliament that best represents and best serves it's people.
If Jacqui Smith has not broken any rules, and from where I am looking, she has broken the rules; we need to have a very big look at all parliamentary expenses. It is surely not acceptable that the Home Secretary forgoes the already expensive, already paid for ministerial house so she can lodge with a family member and then draw further expenses from us tax payers to pay for her constituency home. If Jacqui Smith is only spending 3 nights a week at her sisters home, then she is spending 4 nights at her Redditch home and as such this can not be a second home as defined by the rules.
It used to be that MPs were accountable to The House for their actions, I wonder who it is we are waiting for to act before this can be investigated? I suspect there is a committee or another bloody QUANGO out there somewhere that will eventually be called in to obediently offer their interpretation of the obviously poorly worded rules.
What also of the cost of paying a £40,000 salary to Richard Timney? Mr Timney, despite the name is Jacqui Smiths husband. His job seems to be to write letters to media outlets defending Jacqui Smith; in doing so he neglects to mention his relationship with the Home Secretary. Not really money being spent benefiting the tax payer is it.
Mr Timneys job description is that of "Parliamentary Assistant". Really? how many days does he make it to Parliament then? Perhaps, if he were a "Constituency Assistant" I would be less suspicious. Again, I am sure this will not be investigated, there is probably just enough letter writing and dictation to defy censure.
People are absolutely sick to death of Political double-standards. The expenses system is failing to deliver cost benefits to tax payers, and is too easily defied. What is going on in Westminster that as soon as politicians roll up there they seem determined to claim as much money from us as possible.
If the additional cost of £200,000 for security is added to the alleged £116,000 and £40,000 in salary for a Parliamentary Assistant, who may or may not have been to parliament; the tax payer has afforded The Smith Family £356,000. When the police want a pay rise, or members of the security service, or immigration control or public servants of any of the Home Secretary's remit what is she going to tell them? How, is she going to justify not paying their wage demands, when in her own position she is free to profit so exuberantly? How far would that £356,000 gone in improvements in our schools, our fire stations, our security, our policing? What essential services have been cut so that our Home Secretary can milk the system?
You will not get an unforced apology from the Home Secretary because, I suspect, she personally believes she is entitled to get as much of yours and my money as is possible. The fact that she has voted consistently for legislation to make Parliament less transparent on the one hand, and pocketed stacks of cash in the other is not a contradiction to her. Jacqui Smith's contempt for the tax payer is total, and unapologetic. You will not get an apology and you will not get your money back. Remember that when you go to vote.