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We don’t need another Jacqui Lait in Hastings & Rye

May 24, 2009

2009_0502May0007Nick Perry, the Lib Dem parliamentary campaigner for Hastings & Rye, has responded to the publication of Labour MP Michael Foster’s expenses, and hit out at his Conservative opponent, following the revelations in the national press about Tory MPs’ claims.

Nick says, “I am pleased that our MP does not have expenses skeletons in his cupboard. With respect to Michael and his staff, we should be able to rely on MPs’ honesty and diligence as a matter of course. I have never had questions about Michael’s probity. It is his voting record up at Westminster that I have questions about.

“Let me be clear that I completely understand the public’s disgust with our MPs. Especially in this time of recession.

“Some of the Conservative MPs’ claims take the biscuit. And we now hear that our former Tory MP Jacqui Lait may be deselected in Beckenham due to controversial expenses,” said Nick.

“Whilst this scandal is a tragedy for our democracy, I am pleased that the electorate are beginning to see that the change in the Conservative Party is only skin deep.

“We do not need another Jacqui Lait in Hastings & Rye,” he said.

Last week Nick made a position statement on the expenses scandal. He also called for all the candidates for the Hastings & Rye constituency to go public with their views on MP expenses:

Nick said, “I am glad that the Liberal Democrats in Parliament have fought so doggedly for total transparency on MPs expenses. We have made a number of proposals for reform which I hope will be taken up by Sir Christopher Kelly and his team. Nick Clegg has committed our party to accepting the Kelly recommendations in full.

“Personally, I strongly believe that an MP’s primary residence can only ever be in their constituency. MPs who represent constituencies outside of Greater London should be supported financially to secure accommodation in London (as the job requires), but there should be no possibility of them making a capital gain out of such accommodation.

“I would prefer MPs to be prevented from buying houses at the taxpayer’s expense. The most cost effective route should be prioritised.

“Finally, there must be root and branch reform of the way that MPs’ staff are hired, and their offices, run. These matters should not be part of the expenses system at all. The processes must be totally fair and transparent.

“It is my hope that the Kelly recommendations will cover all these points.

“You, the electorate, have a right to know the priorities of your candidates in Hastings & Rye as we approach, ever more quickly, a new Parliament,” said Nick.

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