Saturday, 13 April 2019

Chris Bryant MP or property owner.

If Rhondda Labour MP Chris Bryant was to lose hi seat, he may well find employment as a presenter on a program like Homes under the Hammer as it emerges he made £649,500 in gross profit selling two London flats the taxpayer helped pay the mortgage interest on.
According to Wales Online
"When the rules changed preventing MPs from claiming mortgage interest, the Rhondda MP rented out the penthouse he owns for around £3,000 a month and claimed £84,350 from the taxpayer to rent a different property to live in himself.

Campaigners have demanded MPs who have made profits from selling homes they've benefited from taxpayer support to run pay back the cash.
Mr Bryant insisted that he had not profited from the taxpayer as he had owned a home in London before he became an MP and had paid the deposit on it himself.
Mr Bryant's windfall came to light as part of a Mirror investigation into the profits MPs have made from their taxpayer-subsidised homes a decade on from the Westminster expenses scandal".

One could wonder how he could afford to assord to byy a house in London After leaving the priesthood in 1991, Bryant made a radical career move and began work as the election agent to the Holborn and St Pancras Constituency Labour Party, where he helped Frank Dobson hold his seat in the 1992 general election. From 1993 he was Local Government officer for the Labour Party; he lived in Hackney and was elected to Hackney Borough Council in 1993, serving until 1998. He became Chairman of the Christian Socialist Movement. From 1994 to 1996 he was London manager of the charity Common Purpose.

In 1996 he became a full-time author, writing biographies of Stafford Cripps and Glenda Jackson. He was Labour candidate for Wycombe in the 1997 general election (where he lost by 2,370 votes), and Head of European Affairs for the BBC from 1998.[ His selection for the very safe Labour seat of Rhondda in South Wales in 2000 surprised many people given Bryant's background – gay, a former Anglican vicar, and someone who had been a Conservative as a student. He says of his surprise selection "I fell off the chair, and my opponents certainly did". Fifty-two people applied for the candidature and a local councillor was hot favourite to win.[2] He retained the seat comfortably at the 2001 general election with a 16,047 majority, one of the largest in the country.

Wales Online continues 
These are the properties on which politicians reclaimed thousands of pounds in mortgage interest payments at public expense under the discredited old expenses system.
Under parliamentary rules they are entitled to keep the money. But with trust in politicians still low after the expenses scandal and the ongoing Brexit shambles, critics told the Mirror that if they want to regain trust they should hand the money to the Treasury.
Former chairman of the Committee of Standards in Public Life,Sir Alistair Graham, said: 
“People should not be making a profit. It was there to help them meet their public ­responsibilities. You should not be profiting out of special taxpayer funds.“You should repay any gain you made over that period."It would need to be carefully ­calculated but Independent ­Parliamentary Standards Authority has done this before and they can do it again."I don’t think anything will restore trust, it’s at such a low ebb, but it’s the right thing to do.”
Former MP, journalist and ethics campaigner Martin Bell added: “It’s an open and shut case, of course they should pay it back.
“I have always felt MPs should set an example. But there was a feeling then that MPs were charging the maximum they could. There was a fill your boots attitude.”
The idea that MPs should become property magnates using Tax Payers money , to make a profit out of a system which is aimed to provide them with affordable accommodation in what is increasingly expensive part of London  seems abhorrent, especially as new rules were supposed to prevent such abuses no matter how legal they are.

I have long advocated for the Civil Service to administer MPs accommodation by buying decent homes in the London area for MPs for them to live in as long as they are elected and it to pass to they successor.

London MPs who can commute may if there are late sittings could have hotel accommodation  near to Westminster payed for.

The constituency accommodation, should largely be up to the MPs . If they want to represent the people of a constituency then they should live there  , though some may need help initially renting . You can only wonder how many MPs main family home is not in the constituency  but elsewhere?

Every MP will tell their constituents that it is an honour to represent them, but for far to many it is just a place on the map, they have no connection  with the area and will leave as soon as they leave parliament.

The same thing could be said about the devolved legislatures and maybe the above example should be started there. 


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