Hunter 2, Lib Dems 0


The Postage Queen of SW1A has been attracting less than welcome attention in
her local rag, the Ham & High:

MP's expenses claim leaves a long paper trail - politician runs up a £22,000 bill in just one month by Marijke Peters

MP Lynne Featherstone has been forced to apologise after running up a massive bill for a month's worth of House of Commons stationery just before new restrictions were introduced.

The staggering £22,000 order was revealed in an email exchange between parliamentary officials, who were concerned at spiralling costs before a ban on unlimited stationery claims was introduced last month.

The Hornsey & Wood Green MP was among those named in an email which said: "Stationery expenditure for the month was up nearly 100 per cent at over £126,000, with postage at £370,000 against a normal monthly total of around £200,000.

"It's quite alarming when you see that Lynne Featherstone spent over £22,000 in one month - the equivalent to three years of the new capped rate."

A cap on spending for stationery was approved last month, limiting MPs' allowances to £7,000 a year, with an extra £10,000 for newsletters and websites.

The decision was taken to try to stop them from using the free postal system to send party political propaganda to voters, in breach of Commons rules.

The Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh was accused of spending £50,000 on stamps and stationery last year and Commons sources claimed others used pre-paid envelopes - worth £1 each - to write their shopping lists on.

Ms Featherstone, one of the wealthiest MPs in Parliament, said a member of her staff ordered the stationery by mistake and she has now returned all of the excess.

She said, "I didn't know about this. Stationery is one thing I don't have to sign for and there are no prices on the order form.

"A member of my staff thought he was doing a good thing in getting some stationery before the rules changed and clearly had no idea.

"When you see my expenses at the end of the year they should be normal. I'm not someone who pushes the boundaries."

Last year Ms Featherstone was embroiled in another scandal after telling female councillors that one of the biggest perks of the job was being able to pay for a cleaner from their MP allowances.

Justin Hinchcliffe, spokesman for Haringey Tories, said: "She's been caught out and her excuse is lame. It's staggering how she admits she didn't know about this.

"This is appalling behaviour and she should know better.

"She has a terrible reputation for getting back to constituents when they write to her, so where did all this stationery go?"

15 comments:

David Allen said...

I love this: Lynne Featherstone as the 'Postage Queen of SW1A'! But, knowing the shamelessness of the woman, don't be surprised if she spins this as "acknowledged by even the Tories as a champion of our postal services." Just wait for splutterings of outrage too, from 'Mark Pack of N19' in defence of his queen, never revealing, as usual his very close connections to the She-Wolf of Hornsey!

Electro Kevin said...

How undedifying, Justin.

I make lots of negative comments about politicians but actually I'm full of admiration for the altruism of so many of them. A main reason for me not going into politics (appart from being a drooling dolt) is the amount of my time it would take up.

Lynne Featherstone (and the like) taint everything - if it is 'corruption' then it's not even clever corruption, for which I have a sneaking admiration (regrettably).

Matt said...

One thing that the H&H article did neglect to mention was that when Lynne realised the order had come through she had already arranged to return the over-order - that was well BEFORE any newspapers were involved, so it's not a case of being 'caught-out'.

Also, the envelopes used by Lynne's office (as with all MPs sticking to the rules) are all used for answering casework, responding when residents have contacted Lynne on issues, writing to ministers on their behalf etc. You can't have it both ways - you want to say that Lynne doesn't write back to residents (which is clearly untrue) but that she is still writing lots of letters to someone... do you think she's found time for some penpals or something??

Norfolk Blogger said...

Justin, this is all smears, half truths and innuendo. Really unedifying stuff and beneath you.

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

In one publication, LF says something like 'I didn't know the EXTENT of the order...' - in fact it's on her blog, yet she denies ANY knowledge of the massive order in the H&H. You can't have it both ways :-)

As for being slow at responding to constituents' letters, this was based on a number of readers’ letters that have appeared in local newspapers since her election to Parliament.

Her election victory was indeed based on smears, half truths and innuendo – orchestrated, no doubt, by Mark Pack. You’ll next be telling me that she didn’t authorise his election tactics…

Clearly, she’s the ‘know nothing MP’ – think Manuel in Faulty Towers!

Newmania said...

that was well BEFORE any newspapers were involved,

So what she knew she was caught. I exopect tghis money will in effcet have been spent on personal campaigning thinly disguised as Constituency work . If Pack has anything to do with it then we know its wrong . he is a proffessional " Mis representer "

Newmania said...

Who is the
She-Wolf of Hornsey ?

And what do you know about Meral Ece ?

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

Think David is referring to Lynne F? Meral Ece? An ex-Labour councillor in Hackney who jumped ship when she saw the way the wind was blowing. Not the sharpest tool in the box...

Anonymous said...

Justin

You seem good at digging up the dirt. What can you tell us against that slim ball Cllr Fiyaz Mughal

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

The son of an ex-Labour councillor - spends all his time at council meetings on his blackberry (plotting?). He has just had a pile of crap printed in Jewish News. Will do some digging, Annon.

Newmania said...

Thanks Justin

David Allen said...

Well, I suppose Matt may be right and perhaps Lynne just took her eye off the ball and was clueless as to what was going on in her own office. But what sort of staffer would be so shameless? When a Labour MP gets stick for spending £50k on postage in a YEAR, surely it is entirely noteworthy when another MP's office grabs £22k in a single MONTH?

Anonymous said...

Justin,

surely the title of your post should be:

Labour - 30, Lib Dems - 27, Hunter - 0

;-)

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

OR

Labour - 1877 (-505)

Lib Dems - 2171 (-246)

Hunter's Party - 5315 (+911)

You need to get out more!

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

Hunter has no objections to people who wish to post anonymously, BUT it would be nice to, if possible, put a face to a name!

:-)