Conservative Diary

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Meet the Conservative politician who is putting up the most brazen opposition yet to transparency on expenses

COLEMAN BRIAN Over recent weeks, some politicians have been clambering to demonstrate their willingness to be open about their expenses, whilst others have been a little more reticent about being transparent.

But today news has emerged of an elected Conservative politician who is putting up what is surely the most implacable opposition yet to letting the public know how he is spending taxpayers' money in expenses.

Brian Coleman (pictured) is a Conservative member of the London Assembly and this is what he said to the Standard's Paul Waugh, when the reporter asked if he would - like the Mayor and other 24 Assembly Members - be voluntarily publishing his expenses receipts:

“I won’t do it voluntarily. It’s none of the public’s business. They have coped well without knowing this kind of detail for more than 75 years. They are not entitled to drool over our personal lives. I’m not going to help the mad, bad and the sad, the bloggers on the internet. I’m not pandering to mob rule. It undermines democracy to suggest that all MPs, all politicians are the spawn of beelzebub. Nobody is going to go into public life if they think the minutiae of their grocery bills are going to be looked over.”

He also makes the following sweeping allegation:

“Politicians with lower expenses tend to be the politicians who do least work. Those with higher expenses are the ones who do most work.”

Pretty astounding stuff - I imagine our friends at the TaxPayers' Alliance will have something to say about it.

Two things occur to me:

1. Why should we be paying for politicians' grocery bills anyway?
2. Is he suggesting that I am a) mad, b) bad, c) sad, or d) mad, bad and sad, for taking an interest in these matters?

Jonathan Isaby

> April 2008: Britain's Olympic winners "left their consciences at passport control" says Brian Coleman
> April 2007: Brian Coleman accuses Ted Heath of 'Cottaging'


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