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Typical... Brown tongue and his colleagues adding further to the destruction of honesty and integrity in politics. No surprise, it just underlines my contempt for them.

What an absolute disgrace, albeit nothing more than you'd expect from this morally bankrupt excuse for a government! Have they no shame?

For them to carry on as they do about Conservative Party funding by Lord Ashcroft, ignoring the fact that they are bankrolled by the unions and then using taxpayers' money as a further mouthpiece for the Labour Party is double standards. I should hope that they will be refunding the money spent on these publications to the public purse but given the track record of this administration, I'm not holding out much hope...

Just watching the Andrew Marr program. How long can the board at the BBC continue the policical journalists there to effectively campaign for the government? This isn't paranoia, today on the program reviewing the papers we had Anthony Seldon (cosy Blair biographer, very bosy and irritating to listen to), Baroness Kennedy (Labour) and the political editor of the Sun (Labour supporter). Last week we had Harriet Harman and Alex Salmond on. The clear emphasis of the show when it challenges government is as Labour supporters would. I'm going to research BBC political shows more closely over the next week and will report back.

They are also writing to 17-18 year olds new on the electoral roll on House of Commons paper with a lot of guff about overseas development aid and the like (no doubt using model letters sent out from HQ).

How do you know what things are paid out of the parliamentary allowance?

Is there any requirement to state that on the leaflet/website?

Agreed - it was total tripe. Mention of the EU making it impossible to control immigration from the EU, but no mention that the EU is also in charge now of non-EU immigration (and wants more of it!).

Oberon Houston, did I miss something or am I correct that the Clydeside trot Helena Kennedy was the only person on the programme not wearing a poppy and that the Beeb tried to disguise the fact by conducting the whole Sunday papers review using a wide angle to disguise the fact. If Helena is against the poppy appeal I think we have a right to know.

Although very annoying I know, this abuse of tax payers money will help bring an end to this crowd of freaks.

That works to temper my annoyance.

Message to the Editor
There was a MORI poll which has put us 5% ahead. Do please post a diary entry on it :)

"Just watching the Andrew Marr program. How long can the board at the BBC continue the policical journalists there to effectively campaign for the government?"

Not forgetting the carefully choreographed question Marr asked Hain, inviting him to call the Conservatives racist, which he duly obliged.

My opponent has sent out thousands of letters on HoC paper across Stockton South telling residents "what Labour have done for the area".

Her targeting isn’t great, the Assoc president received a non-descript one and one of our Town Councillors got a "dear labour voter" letter!

It is however a disgraceful abuse of taxpayer's money.

Sorry, VoteDave, I was a bit slow with that survey - 'tis now up. Back to the thread now please! It's about Labour's abuse of the communications allowance btw - not the BBC!

Realcon (10:26) and Jamesw (11:25) - please send me via snail or email copies of such letters and I'll draw them to wider attention.

'It's about Labour's abuse of the communications allowance btw - not the BBC!

One and the same surely Editor :)

This is no surprise. It was voted as a save our seats allowence and is being used as such. It would be interesting to see if any Labour MPs are using any other colour than red on their 'non political' allowence.

Yet another blunder from calamity Kelly. Can't Labour see that this woman brings them nothing but bad press? Ruth Kelly is like a little girl trying to reach the light switch, she can't reach it so she then climbs on top of a stool, and then proceeds fall off the stool. Blunder heaped upon blunder. In many ways she is the embodiment of the Labour government.

Editor: what's your postal address?

It is to be hoped that Conservative MPs have not transgressed either, or taken up the offer of tax payer's cash, especially if we wish to end this state sponsored propaganda.

This has been emailed to me by a Conservative MP:

"I attach a copy of the official guidance to MPs from the Department of Finance and Administration of the House of Commons. It's at this web address.(There are also detailed guidance notes on newsletters and on websites, that are accessible on the parliamentary intranet).

As you will see, the guidance makes it very clear that literature and websites financed in whole or part from CA may not be used for party political or campaigning purposes. (From memory, the specific note on web sites says that we can have one link from a CA-funded site to a local Party and to a national Party site, but that's it).

We are supposed to declare on home pages and on newsletters if that resourse has been funded from allowances. The guidance also urges MPs to clear the text of newsletters in advance with the DFA. I would be astonished if Ruth Kelly's and the others cited in your piece had been vetted and passed by the Commons authorities."

I've emailed you my address, Realcon.


Scanning the pamphlet provided it seemed to me that there was no obvious discussion of what happens (I might have missed it) if an MP breaches the guidelines. It might be helpful if you could tell us what might happen to MP's found in breach?

Is it the case that they would get a meaningless 'slap on the wrist' or are there meaningful penalties that can be applied (for example, a significant reduction in the budget for the next period or a successive periods - e.g. abuse it and lose it)?

All MPs have been invited by the Department for Administration and Finance to have any newsletters "vetted" to as to not break any rules.

On the face of it, it is easier for a Labour MP to keep within the rules, because rule number one says that you cannot be critical of the government.

Ruth Kelly could have said, the Government has done this and that for Bolton, but what she cannot say is Labour have done this and that. But of course, as everyone knows that Labour is the government, Labour still get the credit. Just goes to show she either does not listen to advice, or the advice she was given was crap!

The only way that a Conservative MP can criticise the government is to report anything that they have said in parliament (and give the source). So if he/she was recorded in Hansard as saying "The government have failed to provide proper health care in Warminister on Sea", those very words can be reported in a newsletter, as the newsletter is a vehicle for reporting what they have done.

If an MP does get caught out, the House authorities can demand that the money be paid back and this has happened in the past.

Some MPs have chosen to pay for their own website, so unless it says that it is paid for out of their Incidental Expenses Allowances, the chances are, the site is being paid for on a political basis. Most now do this, otherwise the site cannot be used during an election.

There is a lot of rot on our side about the use of the communications allowance. There is nothing wrong with the allowance per say, it just needs a little more policing. If you speak to a US politician, they would say that £10,000 is chicken feed.

Ken Livingstone has been doing far, far worse for years and nobody seems to stop him, so I think this is a storm in a teacup.

Comstock, Livingstone's era is about to end. People want change, they want to move on from 20th century politics. We are now moving into an era where the public service ethic has returned to the Conservative party. The feeling I get is that there is a great will to serve and give our people the public service they deserve. Don't worry about Livingstone, Boris will call time on him!

MPs should only be able to use taxpayers money for communicating with electors who have previously contacted them and only about the issue that the elector contacted them about. They should be specifically banned from using taxpayer's money for general leaflets and mailings.

Political campaigning ought to be entirely separate and entirely funded by the local party organisation. Then it can be as partial as the laws of libel and slander allow.

My father-in-law who is now in care because of deteriorating mental capacity, received a letter from his Lib-Dem MP on HoC paper with no specifics at all, just a reference to the most tenuous link to some previous concern about health issues - my deceased mother-in-law could not get free transport, I recall and he had contacted the MPs office about this. In return, he gets a general mail out about LD health policy!

It is simply electioneering at taxpayers expense and it should stop. (And yes, it has gone to CCHQ).

This is the tip of the iceberg. Significant numbers of Labour MPs are abusing their communications expenses on a regular basis through newsletters such as above but also large numbers of unsolicited mailings,


John @ 19.36. Yes we are seeing this. Basically what they appear to be doing is finding the remotest previous connection to a person (this looks to be the game using a database, although I suspect some recipients have not had any previous contact at all) and then sending letters en masse about various issues. Whole streets and nearly whole wards are getting this stuff, often posted first class and as you say on HoC letterheads and envelopes. This was going on before and now they have another £10K they have voted themselves for more of this abuse of taxpayers money. The truth is the only purpose of Labour nowadays is to stay in power at all costs and using any gerrymandering they think they can get away with despite the impact on democracy,


Whilst it may appear that IEP/Comm allowance literature is a juicy way of attacking the red menace, just bear in mind that there are many Conservative MPs with a long history of using these allowances in much the same way.

Who's to say that the filing cabinet of opposition parties in Conservative held seats are not being opened for re-examination of every previous leaflet put out by a local Conservative MP?

I hope that David Cameron will come back to this tommorrow once the Queens Speech announces a bill to "reform" party spending.

Labour complain that they are being outspent locally by that nasty man Lord Ashcroft as though people are so stupid that they will vote for a party based on how glitzy their campaign is-regardless of the actual issues.

To remove the Tory advantage (since nobdy is prepared to give monry to Labour based on the party's own merits) the government will propose to fiddle the rules governing party spending limits so that we cannot spend over a certain amount-but the trade unions will be able to put out as much propaganda for Labour as they like!

Surely with Labour MPs misusing their Commons expenses to promote themselves in the constituencies, and with figures out today showing that Labour is still spending MORE than Conservatives in the marginal seats, any bill to rig the party funding/spending system can be highlighted as another cynical move by a throughly cynical government!

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