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Sure and I've got a plumber who sometimes cooks for me, when he's not doing the garden. Don't they realise what damage they do to themselves with this puerile evasion? Do not insult our intelligence, own up & get it over with!

Sure and I've got a plumber who sometimes cooks for me, when he's not doing the garden. Don't they realise what damage they do to themselves with this puerile evasion? Do not insult our intelligence, own up & get it over with!

She needed a conversation with the chief whip to realise this set-up (assuming it's true) was a bad idea?

Sometimes I really wish more of our politicians had some intelligence to go with their raw ambition.

On the face of it, unlike the European Parliament cases, I cannot see why the BBC website puts this at the top of their page- it is a non-story. Story is 11 years old, a nanny is capable of secreterial work (or do Labour toffs and the BBC socialists not think so?), one would give work to one that is trusted (your child's nanny will sure be one of those), not a family member at all, MPs should have people doing secreterial work for them (almost all do).....hell, what is the issue here?

The attack dogs are loose! Good for them if they uncover misdeeds, arrogance and fraudulently done, deceitful acts at tax payers' expense. However this pales into insignificance when placed alogside RECENT and ongoing investegative Labour related matters.
Look at The Kinnock family and The EU. Peter Mandleson and London property and undeclared loans to building societies. All within much less than 11 years ago! If we really are to delve back over a decade, (and why not?)how about resurrecting Dunblane issues still hidden and clothed in secrecy?
If Mrs Spelman did use her allowances inappropriately, then own up and quit the front bench but become a Labour sleazebuster accordingly.
These tactics were always about to be rolled out and I bet midnight oil has been burning at The BBC and Downing street for weeks to find fuel to burn as a smokescreen to the almighty s**t our economy and Country has been driven to by this so called government.
Come on Conservatives, stand up and be counted now as the party of fairness, decency and openess. Particularly MEPs or anyone with a hidden past! For heavens sake we are squeaky clean compared to Labour and it's RECENT history.

There is a sense of a cleaning out of the Augean stables here. I'm starting to get a feeling that Cameron intends to keep all of these MEPs and now MPs in position. This wouldn't be enough IMHO. They need to be deselected (to say nothing of reported to the police).

There is a clear moral choice here - either Cameron is going to distance himself from corrupt practice or he is going to try to "manage" it and weather the media storm.

I wonder which he will choose?

I have always felt sorry for caroline spelman, especially when everyone on conhome attacked her for being useless, and although I'm sure this is nothing like embezling tax payers money into your own accont in the way our 3 MEPs have, she still needs to go.

It is hypocrisy for us to have a chairman demanding transparency from our meps and when we cannot eve expect the same from her.


This is disgraceful behaviour by Ms. Spelman. The public are on to these huge and blatant scams from Gorbals Mick, the 'Balls' couple, the Kinochios, the Conway trough and the latest from Brussels. This is embezzelment, nothing more she must not be allowed to even resign, she must be SACKED, out of Parliment, out of Westminster. No excuses like 'technical breach of the rules' (Since this is just breaking the rules, using a certain technical means).

Let's examine the politics of this!

The Government is in deep disarray having over taxed us and then wasted much of our money - in the region of billions of pounds each year!

Their response...dig around in a senior opposition MPs' affairs going back 10 years to try and find something to unsettle an Opposition party that is 20 points up in the polls and providing a robust challenge to their failing policies.

Caroline Spelman has worked hard and effectively through the long dark days of Opposition. We are talking about an arrangement that did not break the rules but left an ambiguous perception 10 years ago! Caroline wisely corrected this and the matter should be closed.

Her "case" is worlds away from MPs who systematically channel thousands of pounds over many years to family members who they know are not fulfilling anything like a reasonable level of work for their money. It is also somewhat different to paying thousands of pounds into a company that one is a Director of!

So, whilst it is unfortunate - let's have some sense and proportion in the way this "story" is evaluated. Yes, in retrospect Caroline would have perhaps done things differently and I am sure she would not enter into such an arrangement now - purely because of the impression it would leave. However, she broke no rules then, she sought advice as a new MP and made changes to deal with it.

The real story is how desperate the Labour Party are to drag up such a non-story to try and take the heat of an administration that
is failing to deliver the basics and is wasting billions of pounds of taxpayers money on policies that are not having anything like the positive impact on families' lives that they claim.

The BBC's coverage is frankly disgusting. This is not breaking news yet it has been the front story of the BBC for 24 hours with the MEP scandals also taking centre stage. One looks to Sky News and see's breaking news from the UK and around the world - by far a website politically grandstanding.

I hate the BBC with a passion and so does 90% of British people. Who was it that said TV licences were a thing of the 1950s?

I have never been a fan of Spelperson. She was a branch officer in my Kent consituency and how she ever made it into the House of Commons is an enduring local mystery on a par with the assassination of JFK.

This said, it's a silly error, but hardly earth-shattering. And 10 years ago? Come on, judge her on her record in her current role and her constituency work. This is a non-story.

I have only a couple of questions?

Why on earth is the British Taxpayer still paying for this propagandist rubbish from the BBC?

Clearly those involved in producing this story have nothing worthwhile to do so why are the BBC continuing to pay them?

Imagine the time they must have spent trolling through Conservative expenses to get this one story. It's pathetic.

In these times of economic uncertainty the BBC should be responsible and cut back on waste and those involved in this clearly are a waste.

Not wanting to waste more time with this non story, the BBC news has just stated that they (the BBC) have found that ''she paid for her nanny out of public funds''.

They did not use the word 'alleged'....they stated it as a fact- I am quite sure they stated that....although I find it hard to believe....

If I am correct, it would be expected that the BBC receive some calls from legal quarters in the next hour- what a violation and misuse of tax payer funded public broadcasting.

I absolutely agree with the low opinions here expressed on the BBC. However . . .

(1) The fact is that there does seem to be a prima facie case.
(2) Whining about how the media is out to get people and it doesn't really matter is what left-wing people do. Conservatives should be better than that.
(3) Even if the BBC is biased, Spelman et al have known this for years and done sod all. And in general I have little sympathy for someone I know from personal experience does not care if others are unfairly victimised.

If Spelman is being treated unfairly, then at least it might make her and other Conservative MPs think a bit more about others who are treated unfairly and perhaps stand up for justice a bit more. What goes around comes around.

Best post of the thread Alex Swanson. To put this at the top of the agenda today will confirm the view of so many that the BBC will always'get' the Conservative party if it can.They didn't do that with Hain (until the end) or Harman.
Having said that,this does not look good for Caroline Spelman. Unless she has a completely credible explanation she should resign.

I'm afraid this must be the end for Spelman - she has been caught lying and defrauding the system. We can do without this woman and nothing must get in the way of the momentum we are building towards success in 2010. DC - sack her this weekend - be seen to be tough

Heaven forfend the Beeb's senior management never misuse their expenses!

If we get in I propose a root and branch examination of BBC finances with particular attention to the expense claims of editors who push through this sort of bogus story.

At the end of the day this is pretty lame as far as sleaze stories go - it happened long ago, was stopped when guidance was offered and has recurred.

I also agree with Alex. If you'll excuse this lapse into the classics, the only way for DC to stop the public thinking "quis custodiet ipsos custodes" is to apply the principle "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion". And then to think gleefully of how our opponents would start quaking in their boots at the thought of Eric Pickles as chairman.

Hear, hear, Alex Swanson. What most depresses me about this is the political naivety of thinking she can tough this out, in the present climate, on the ground that it's quantitatively less sleazy than the sleaze she was meant to be rooting out. It is beyond belief that she (and now Osborne, who has foolishly weighed in on her behalf - presumably with Cameron's sanction) thinks this is a credible or sustainable position.

It is really tough on her, because by the Balls/Cooper/Smith standard it is relatively venial; but one cannot be "a little bit pregnant" and she is surely going to have to be sacrificed sooner or later. Why, therefore, keep it top of the news all bloody weekend, you damn fools? Do it now!

What an enormous non-story! Are the BBC and No 10 so desperate to shift the story from the Labour government's mismanagement of the economy etc that they fish around and try to make a big issue of something that happened 10-11 years ago. Just how many Lab and Lib-Dem MPs at all levels are so squeaky clean that they can shout about this issue?

"Are the BBC and No 10 so desperate to shift the story from the Labour government's mismanagement of the economy etc that they fish around and try to make a big issue of something that happened 10-11 years ago"

Yes - that's rather the point.

"Having said that,this does not look good for Caroline Spelman."

Because that's the way the BBC has spun it. Listening to Crick's report on Newsnight last night one got the impression that Ms Spellmanm had been paying her nanny from public funds for the last 5 years, an abuse Cameron has done nothing about. But later it became apparent that this took place a decade ago, then we hear it wasn't 5 years but one year, and the whips on hearing about it advised Mrs Spellman to separate the tasks, and now it was possibly just months.

The BBC has also spun the story via its headlines saying that Mrs Spellman has been using her Parliamentary allowance to pay her nanny, rather than how Mrs Spellman says, that she was paying her as an assistant, and she also worked for her as a nanny.

The fact that its Crick who has 'broken' this story says all about this issue, for Crick’s only job at the BBC is to door step the Conservative party, that he's only managed to turn up a story from a decade ago suggests he is hardly in any position to question anybody about tax payers getting value for money from his employment.

And I'm not a fan of Mrs Spellman.

Doesn't this story show the full extent that the BBC teams work with Labour's 'Dirty Tricks' Department? it must have taken a lot of (licence-funded) effort to go back at least 10 years of expense returns (for how many MPs?) to find something trivial to smear with. It was noticable that the BBC then led every news bulletin with this 'Sensation' and monopolised its News24 Headline Ticker with it.

How does this compare with claiming for people to clean windows and water plants? No mention of that on the BBC!

BUT we have got to get into government before we can do anything about BBC bias. In the meantime we cannot afford to give them this kind of red meat (okay, it is only veal but the point stands).

Where is Christianity 'discriminated against by Gordon Brown's Government' on the BBC? And some people deny there's bias.

This is ten years ago. Why do the BBC put so much effort into attacking Conservatives? Why aren't they looking into Mr Brown's expense claims? Or Ms Harman's? Or the 'Union Modernisation Fund' wheeze that the Labour Party are using to syphon money from the taxpayer into those empty Labour Party coffers?

The BBC is a disgrace.

I'm more cynical than most about hypocrisy and dastardly fiddles by politicians of all hues but presumably there is more to this story than is printed above?

Otherwise I just don't get it.

On the one hand the secretary was paid for secretarial services out of parliamentary allowance.
On the other hand, that same person was paid by Ms Spelman herself for childcare at other times.

My graduate daughter has been a secretary, loves kids, (so has also been a nanny, babysitter and tutor)and is now a production editor. Thus I don't see anything odd about such a pairing of interests & competencies.

Provided that the financial aspects were kept separate and the parliamentary element was proportionate to the extent of the secretarial services, what is unsavoury about combining roles?

This is one of the most abjectly and blatantly biased pieces of anti-Conservative propaganda from the BBC yet. It isn't news, it is history. They have consistently swept all the much more substantive charges of impropriety about Labour's funding under the carpet since Gordon Brown has been in office. They refused to publicise the huge Conservative poll lead because it wasn't a 'news' story. Yet they have blitzed the airwaves and their blogsite with this non-story. Caroline Spelman has absolutely nothing to resign about. All those suggesting she should are simply buckling under the pressure of BBC bullying. A line has to be drawn between genuine corruption and minor infringements that occur because of the abject mess of rulings on MPs expenses. It is entirely unclear, for instance, why MPs are permitted to pay for their Sky subscription from taxpayers money but not childcare by a woman in an all hours job. The entire issue of MPs expenses requires scrutiny. Meanwhile there are times to stand firm, and this is one of them.

spellperson has to go. Not because of this, because she is awful, just awful

This issue needs considering from two points of view (i) allegations of past misuse of public money and (ii) establishing clear and transparent rules for the future.

First of all, we are talking about taxpayers' money and therefore every penny spent - every penny - must be properly accounted for. Business people adopting best business practice would find nothing strange there - except that the principle has to be stated.

I would prefer that MPs had nothing to do with payment of their staff and the running of their office. There are perfectly legitimate expenses but best kept at arm's length from the MP. Could not all MP's expenses - when properly authorised - be charged to the HoD?

As for the Caroline Spelman type cases (there will be more), could not each case be properly considered by DC's Compliance Officer (or the shadow Whips) and then the appropriate disciplinary action (if any) taken?

"Quis custodiet etc" indeed or to keep it English, as Chaucer said: "If gold rust, what should iron do?"

I have complained to the BBC.

The following is what I wrote.

Many of you may wish to do the same.

''Why have the BBC not withdrawn this Caeoline Spelman story?....it clearly and strongly implies that she took tax payers money and paid her nanny with it....which, according to the evidence is probably (certainly?) not true.

Is not misleading the public, knowingly, a violation of the BBCs brief?''

I say this as someone who quit the Party after 20 years because of Dave's headlong push of it to the Left, but he has had a very unlucky week. After a blinding few successes that place him towards no.10, he has been badly let down by some seriously dodgy individuals.

If he acts swiftly in all cases and, after assessing their defence, fires them if found wanting, his reputation should be ok. I'm afraid that applies to Spellman, too. She may be the last high profile woman after T.May's diasappearance, but that's no excuse for inappropriately usinf taxpayers' funds.

Like it or not this is embezlement - if not legally then certainly morally.

Unfortunately it seems pretty likely that every one of them has had their snouts in the trough.

The only way is an IMMEDIATE withdrawal of the expenses system.

Any new system should provide accomodation in London for only non-london MPs and those not provided with homes already. Expenses completely limited to necessary business expenses entirely in line with IR rules for everyone else and supported entirely by receipts. And audited by the IR.

Fraud should result in disbarrment as an MP, loss of any pension rights and prosecution.

"The BBC is a disgrace."

Yes the BBC is unique amongst broadcasters and newspapers in making this headline news.

But if the BBC is going to rake over decade old issues, then they are going to be kept very busy with this Labour Governments problems....


Only on ConHome would people blame the BBC for an MP robbing the tax payer.

If she reaslised her mistake, after confirming it with the chief whip, why didn't she pay back the money? That would have been the honest and honourable thing to do, and people would would give her full respect for doing it.

The story is that she realised she was in the wrong, but didn't address the stolen cash.

Its obvious she must go, not unless the flood gates are opened all MPs misdeeds from all parties are suddenly leaked into the media. Not only would that destroy the public trust in its democratic system it would force a mass cleaning of house to remove all the vile leaches.

Spot on maurice brady!

But for Eugene and M.Dowding and those shooting the messenger!

Mrs Spelman is guilty of, quite frankly, a crime. She has taken taxpayers money and used it for purposes she knew she should not have done. Why Conway and all the EU abusers have not been taken before the courts shows what contempt ALL politicians have for us! They use weasel words. Umps a Daisy!!! I ask you.

Mrs Spelman has let down Mr Cameron big time. She has let down the Conservative Party and she has no right to cling unto her position as Chairman. She should resign that AND as an MP. Then, perhaps, I and others may respect her.

The BBC have gone over the top, especially when it had to be dragged screaming to mention Hain and Mandleson. BUT and it is alarge BUT. Mrs Spelman is the one that does not deserve ANY sympathy at all.

My gardener answers the telephone and, indeed, has posted letters and parcels for me. Do I now call him my Secretary.


I think everyone is missing the big story here.

Which is that it is clear that MPs don't need secretarial allowances.

If Spelman's "secretary" didn't do anything other than answer a few phone calls and send a few letters, then why do any other "secretaries" need to do any different?

Nobody is suggesting that she had two secretaries, are they?

"Which is that it is clear that MPs don't need secretarial allowances."

You clearly have no idea

Why does she need a nanny? Why didn't she look after her children herself?

If that opinion is not fashionable, then the fashion should change. Society grow up.

If she wanted children, then the interests of the children come first.

I have been an MP's secretary and whilst I was never a nanny to my Member's children I did go to the family home on many occasions where I WAS very much treated as a member OF their family - but did often help to look after the Lively Brood!

greg, she might have had two secretaries. It's quite common for someone to employ a PA and an office junior - both in politics and in the general business world!

If she has been dishonourable - SACK her straightaway.

The BBC has published the fact that the nanny now admits she DID do secretarial work as well as nannying during the time in question! So please stop baying for blood now, all of you.

Might I interject at this point?....again!

As someone who voted for New Labour in 1997 because I could no longer stand the Sleaze & Corruption in the Tory Party........I was horrified to see New Labour turning into a more authoritarian, meddling, party of the far right; beyond that experienced even during the benighted Thatcher years - Yes! I really hate her for ushering in the 'greed is good' culture that we are now suffering from.

I now hate New Labour even more than the previous Tory Government (I never thought I would find myself saying that) and have warmed to 'Dave' as I see him rehabilitating the Conservative Party who now appear to be somewhere left of Labour whilst remaining right of centre...........what does that tell you about the Labour Party?

ALL politicians are currently seen as self serving and corrupt!
That's the default setting in the public's eye, guys!

If you Tories really want to change this viewpoint (& you've got a lot of baggage to ditch on this issue) you have GOT TO REMOVE all and every member who isn't squeaky clean.
You could do a lot worse than deselect every MEP and make them re-apply for their jobs; it would be a very clear message that Tory sleaze is no longer tolerated in the Conservative Party.

As an aside; it would go a long way to assuaging public ire, if the outgoing administration had all their dirty washing put on public display by the incoming administration..............if the contents of the Trough were to be made public in this manner, then all MP's would be less likely to behave like Pigs!

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