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MPs' Wiki pages are becoming dominated by expenses-gate

One of the most significant ways that voters will learn about candidates at the next election will be by Googling their names.  Third on the Google page for Tory Anne Main is her Wikipedia page.  After the basic biographical information the only thing that stands out is this paragraph on expenses:

"Main's claims for the controversial Additional Cost Allowance (otherwise known as the second home allowance) totaled £22091 for 2007/8 [1] , despite the fact that her constituency is only an 18 minute train journey from London. It has been claimed that neither of her homes are in Westminster - her main home being in Beaconsfield (31 miles from Westminster) and her second home in St Albans (26 miles from Westminster). [2]. Main was investigated by the Daily Telegraph in May 2009 for claiming a second home allowance despite her daughter living at the address much of the time. [3] As the border of her St Albans constituency is only 13 miles from her primary residence in Beaconsfield, and Parliamentary rules state the constituency must be at least 20 miles away in order to claim expenses for it, it has been suggested that Ms Main should not be claiming for her second home at all. [4]."

My quick scans suggest it is the same for most MPs examined by The Telegraph and other newspapers.

Margaret Moran's page is predictably much worse.  Approximately 1,400 of the 1,800 words focus on the expenses controversy that ended her career yesterday.

There are rules about doctoring Wiki pages but unless MPs adopt a more agressive stance by posting information about their parliamentary achievements most voters visiting Wikipedia are only going to learn about their expenses.

Tim Montgomerie


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