Sunday, 17 July 2016

Why should we pay so Neil Hamilton can live in England?

If we need proof that our National Assembly  is a third rate legisture  it can be seen in the row  that has blown up over a proposal that would allow Neil Hamilton , the National Assembly’s Ukip group leader, to claim expenses while continuing to live in his Wiltshire mansion.
The Wasting Mule reports that
Mr Hamilton, who was elected as a regional AM for Mid and West Wales in May, said he has no intention of moving from the home at Hullavington, near the M4 between Malmesbury and Chippenham, he shares with his wife Christine.
But under the Assembly’s existing rules, no provision is currently made to pay accommodation or travelling expenses to AMs who live outside Wales.

Now a letter to AMs from Dame Dawn Primarolo, a former Labour MP and UK Government Minister who chairs the Assembly’s Remuneration Board – the independent body that sets AMs’ pay and expenses - suggests there should be a rule change.

The letter states:
 “The Determination is based on the location of a Member’s main home, not their constituency/region. Currently, it does not provide for residential accommodation expenditure for a Member whose main home is not in Wales.
“The Determination is, therefore, based on an assumption that all Members have their main home in Wales. However, there is nothing in the Government of Wales Act 2006, or indeed any other legislation, which provides that Assembly Members must reside in any particular location either when they are elected or subsequently.
“As a Board we are obliged to ensure that all Members have the resources they need to undertake their role. It is our legal duty to put in place a system of financial support that enables them to carry out their work effectively. For this reason, we propose amending the Determination so that Members whose main home is outside Wales are eligible for residential accommodation expenditure.
“The Board will give effect to such an amendment by extending the Outer Area to the whole of the UK.”

The "whole of the UK"? 

Ridiculousness of course but how far away from Wales should this rule apply.

Plaid Cymru AM Simon Thomas, who also represents Mid and West Wales, said: 

“Of course it’s correct that Neil Hamilton is allowed by law to live in England and represent part of Wales at our National Assembly, but it does not follow that the Welsh block grant should be used to pay his expenses when he chooses to live in England.
“We have a Remuneration Board that can decide what expenses an AM should be able to claim. They are able to make a determination without reference to an outside authority.
“It seems to me reasonable that there should be an expectation that AMs should organise their lives so they are able to serve their constituents well – by spending part of the week in Cardiff Bay and part of it in the areas they represent. The proposal as it stands means that Neil Hamilton could move to Stornaway in the Outer Hebrides and claim expenses. That can’t be right.”

Ms Primarolo does not seem to have any Welsh credentials and her credentials seem be being a former Labour MP.

Id that part of her CV that impressed those  who appointed her .
Primarolo was created a life peer taking the title Baroness Primarolo, of Windmill Hill in the City of Bristol on 26 October 2015.[

At the time of her election, she was regarded as a hard left-winger and is still often referred to by the media as "Red Dawn", but became a New Labour loyalist and "absolutely loyal to New Labour",[ leading Andrew Roth of The Guardian to say she has "changed from 'Red Dawn' to 'Rosy Pink'"; as part of this change, she moved from support of CND, the rise of which originally encouraged her into politics, to voting for the renewal of Britain's Trident nuclear defence .

Ms Primarolo seems to not be of a mind that she's dealing with a "National" assembly not an appendage of local government. Sadly an attitude that is all to prevalent.

What other legislature allows people to stand when living outside his or her  boundaries  and even to continue to do so if elected?

We should not be expected to pay for Hamilton English  home and if he does not want to move to Wales  he should stand down.

We should also question whether we should  appoint oversight of our "National" Assembly  who seem to have no concept of what that means.

1 comment:

  1. Not sure what i found most astonishing about this story - the fact a kipper is shamelessly exploiting a national assembly expenses system he and his colleagues have spent years decrying or the fact his proposed remuneration was apparently okayed by someone with no political connection with wales.

    Surely if 'Herr Hamilton' wants to represent people in the welsh assembly the least he could do is find somewhere to live in wales? And perhaps even consider taking the revolutionary step of living in the region of wales - mid and west - whose voters elected him?

    As for dawn primarolo's role in all this how on earth did she get appointed to the position of chair of the Senedd's remuneration board? (a role for which she is no doubt well 'remunerated' herself)

    Were there no candidates with some political connection to wales who could have filled this lofty position? Or did the dame get the post because she was a one time nulabour luminary? (having previously spent much of her career posturing to the left of even jeremy corbyn).