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Monday, 1 February 2016

Danczuk - More Expense Porkies

As Zelo Street told its regulars a week ago, Rochdale’s nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk is experiencing a little local difficulty over his expense claims once again. Following a complaint over his claiming for dependent children - four of them - there was a discussion between Greater Manchester Police and Parliamentary watchdog IPSA, with the latter body agreeing to look into it, which they have now done.
The bad news for Danczuk is that IPSA have decided to open an investigation. As the Telegraph has admitted, Danczuk “claimed thousands in expenses for his four children under a living allowance scheme … But doubts have been raised about the legitimacy of the claims after suggestions that Mr Danczuk does not regularly have his two eldest children to stay with him in London, a condition of the thousands of pounds he is said to have claimed”. The MP says he has done nothing wrong.

That is, of course, for IPSA to decide. But do go on. “Under parliamentary rules MPs can claim up to £2,425 per child, per year, to help with costs associated with them living in rented accommodation in London during the week or at weekends and school holidays … But a source close to the expenses watchdog IPSA warned MP's' children must ‘regularly’ stay with them in order to qualify for the extra support for travel and other costs”.

And as the Tel’s source has put it, “If an MP knowingly claimed the allowance even if their dependents aren't regularly staying at the address that would be quite serious”. Danczuk’s claims include his two eldest children, who first wife Sonia Rossington says haven’t stayed overnight with him for some years, and even when his eldest son did stop over, it was only a one-off arrangement. Even his claims for his youngest kids are arguable.

So has “Rochdale’s MP” decided to keep quiet? Not a bit of it. He’s asserted “I have been doing all I can to get my two eldest children to spend time with me and my other children in London … All four children have stayed together and on numerous occasions and I had always hoped that would continue but it hasn’t”. Those claims, and Sonia Rossington’s, cannot both be true. Someone is telling porkies here.

Would Sir have an excuse for that? He certainly would: “This is the vagaries [sic] of a complicated family … This is an example of the complexities of real life and you can design as many rules as you want but this is just how modern families work nowadays”. He only did it because he has a Modern Family.

Meanwhile, the Manchester Evening News has bad tidings for Danczuk: “The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) today announced it would be formally investigating thousands of pounds worth of accommodation claims … But IPSA will also pass the issue to Greater Manchester Police if it has any ‘suspicions’ a criminal offence has taken place”. So he could be in the mire sooner rather than later.

Zelo Street understands that Danczuk has been on a charm offensive with his Constituency party lately. But if this investigation goes against him, that won’t matter much. The Labour Party nationally may chuck him out anyway. What a deserving fellow.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

And just think......Danksuck was at the forefront of the New Labour hoods who've attacked Jeremy Corbyn and who took the Murdoch and Rothermere shilling...

Don't bend over for the soap, Simon.

Oscar James said...

Dancsunk has a point: “This is an example of the complexities of real life and you can design as many rules as you want but this is just how modern families work nowadays" but I don't see him going into bat for the 100,000s of low income & unemployed falling foul of 1980's market economy Blairite/Tory regulations, rather he chooses to attack Jeremy Corbyn who wants to re-address the plight of the low paid/income with his 1980 policies.
Simon has however made me a believer in Karma.

anubeon said...

The rules and allowances he's accused of falling afoul were specifically designed to deal with and compensate for such 'complexities'. Danczuk clearly abused the spirit, if not the letter, of those allowances with the net result being financial gain for Him Personally Now (if I may slip into Zelo Street's house style for a second). Only an IPSA investigation (or ounce of common sense) can determine whether Simple Si did so willfully and with grasping intent.

This whole affair also bring into the foreground the folly of IPSA's continued toleration of parliamentarian nepotism with regards staffing. They ought to have nipped that in the bud following the expenses scandal. If MPs need staff, let them request them from a central government staffing agency; if their wives, girlfriends or snotty little offspring want a job, let them applied to said agency where they can be scrutinised by impartial bosses and assigned to an unrelated and impartial MP-come-line-manager!

Anonymous said...

Maybe a complete overule on politicians and MP 's employing friends and family would be welcomed by many?

Just as an overuling of cosy friendships between Media and politicians?