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Lord Tebbit compares MPs milking the system to "welfare junkies"

TEBBIT-FROM-INDEPENDENT Former party chairman Lord Tebbit has already made one intervention on the MPs' expenses furore this week, when he told people to punish the three major parties by not voting for them at the European election and voting instead for one of the others (although expressly not the BNP).

I thought this was unacceptable and he appears to have amended his line in an interview with today's Times, which reports him as saying that he just wants people "to abstain".

I still profoundly disagree with that position - not least because any dilution of support for the main parties increases the value of each vote for the extremist fringe.

However, Tim suggested that Lord Tebbit and David Cameron need to sit down for a cup of tea and today the Tory peer does praises his party leader's response to the crisis as having "seized the ground and left the Prime Minister on the back foot".

But the other thing which Lord Tebbit does today is to demonstrate his grasp for the anger felt by the public over the ongoing expenses story, even singling out two Conservative MPs as having been "a bit pushy" (Douglas Hogg) and "very naughty" (Francis Maude):

"It’s like the benefits culture. It reminds me of the guy who is on disability benefit and goes out window cleaning. I call them welfare junkies and I am afraid that is too close to the truth for some MPs.”

He partly blames the current problems on the recent rise of a "political class" in this country:

"When I arrived in 1970 almost everyone had done another job. There were chaps who had been miners, people who had worked in banks... Now they start out as political advisers. There’s a political class, they are very inward-looking, they don’t understand life. It is more corrupt because they have more in common with each other than with people outside.”

Jonathan Isaby


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