Thursday, 18 June 2009

Bridget Prentice MP - some questions to answer


The 2006 edition of the Green Book states;
The Incidental Expenses Provision (IEP) is available to meet costs incurred on Members’ Parliamentary duties. It cannot be used to meet personal costs, or the costs of party political activities or campaigning.
It goes on to say;
You must ensure that arrangements for your office and surgery premises are above reproach and that there can be no grounds for a suggestion of misuse of public money.You must avoid any arrangement which may give rise to an accusation that you - or someone close to you - is obtaining an element of profit from public funds; or that public money is being diverted for the benefit of a political organisation.
This is a photograph of Ms Prentice's office and surgery premises at 13 Leegate that appears on her website;

The sign advertises the Lewisham East Labour Party, with a party symbol and party contact number. Beneath it are Ms Prentice's details. I estimate the MP's portion of the sign to be about 30% and the Labour party's portion 70%.

So what? Well, Ms Prentice claimed the entire cost of the sign and the lighting above it from the public purse;

She's redacted the address at which the sign was installed and listed the claim as 'BHSC Blinds' when the Beckenham company is actually termed 'BHSC Signs and Blinds' - evidence of doubt on her part? - but I am confident that if Mr Barry Holmes were pressed he would confirm the installation of this sign at 13 Leegate.

Now I reckon we are due back about £635 from Lewisham East Labour Party. What do you think?

She also claims the whole of the rent, rates, services and insurance on the premises from her IEP, as well as legal fees. If there is evidence that these premises are partly occupied and used by the local Labour party for party political purposes, rather than solely by Ms Prentice for her surgeries and as a constituency office in furtherance of her work as an MP, there may be a further case for reclaiming even more public money.

More later.

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