Thursday, January 24, 2008

Not a public servant it seems!

Common sense seems to have prevailed on the MP's pay review, a below inflation rise of 1.9% fulfils Harriet Harman's suggestion that they show "the same discipline in terms of pay increases as other public sector workers". One MP who will not be happy, however, is Conservative MP for Torbay Anthony Steen, he has claimed that MPs are treated like dirt and, in a report in today's Western Morning News is quoted as stating:
"If people want a democracy you have got to value them, and how much you are paid is linked to how much you are valued. If they are going to treat MPs like dirt, pay them badly, and have a filthy old time and struggle against every possible obstacle, we end up with a civil service mentality."
He also railed against travel allowances:
"There needs to be a more realistic provision to enable MPs to take taxis to and from London train stations. It is neither reasonable nor practical to expect Members of Parliament who are not in the prime of youth to carry heavy cases on the Underground. While I believe taxi fares can be claimed from the office cost allowance, if one visits one's constituency most weekends this could reach £1,000 each year."
The article did not get massive response but clearly his constituents are not happy about his attitude either to public service or him wishing to be set apart.
  1. L Crawford writes "I am disgusted that an MP supposedly representing Devon could make these comments when there are serious issues in the county surrounding low incomes and unaffordable properties for local people"
  2. Adam points out Mr Steen "For 2006/7 Mr Steen claimed an additional £148,885 (Ranked 100th out of 645 MPs). This includes a £22,110 claim for "additional costs allowance" (joint 1st place on this!). "
  3. Daz tells him "this man is meant to be a servant of the people, me in fact, so I tell him this - WALK!!!!!" remembering Steen was also caught illegally parking in a disabled bay earlier this year.
They go on, the clear message is that his comments seem to have not gone down well among those who he is meant to be representing; perhaps this indicates that the MPs constituency service role is increasingly important and that there is a law of censure at play in local as much as in national politics and that the public will reject statements and claims that do not fit with their model of the role of an MP.

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