Thursday, 25 October 2007

"So, where do you go to, my lovely?"

The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, MP for for Pepsico, Lloyds Pharmacy and, occasionally, Darlington, is revealed to have attained his rightful place at the top of at least one league table. No, obviously not for making the most speeches in the House of Commons (he's only made two in the past year!). And no, obviously not for voting in the House of Commons (he's only voted in 63% of the votes in the past year!).

No: our Alan, that selfless spokesman for the people of Darlington - despite his obvious distaste for mixing it with his fellow MPs in London - is top of all the MPs in claiming for rail expenses (almost £16000 in the past year), and equal first in claiming his living away from home expenses.

Where on earth does he go that costs over £300 a week, 52 weeks a year, in rail fares? He obviously doesn't spend his time in Westminster. Does Pepsico hold its board meetings in Penzance, or Aberdeen? Is he a closet train spotter, roaming the network searching for that elusive diesel engine last spotted in a sidings in mid Wales? Is he a fan of Thomas, or Bertie ("I can't smell a smell", said Bertie. "Can you smell a smell, Thomas?" "No, I can't smell a smell. We'll have to ask the Fat Controller.").
As Peter Sarsted sang, "So, where do you go to, my lovely?" I thought he resigned from Government to spend more time at home - well, he certainly doesn't spend more time in Darlington.

Here's the link to the latest annual report of MPs' expenses:

And here's the link to his Parliamentary record, where the figures are repeated:


miketually said...

This links in nicely to my first foray into politics:

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

Mike T. Have you invented this blogspot?

Mike B. That explains why he hasn't had the time to reply to my original e mail in early September and my two reminders this month. Although I have now had three acknowledgements.

Mike Barker said...

I wrote to him a couple of years ago about the threat to the free sale of vitamins and dietary supplements from the European Community. I just got an acknowledgement.
Funny, before he was elected he was in my shop every weekend. Haven't seen him for years since.
He really is the worst kind of MP. He uses his position to line his pockets, plays little part in the activities of Parliament and treats his constituents with contempt.
I have no time for the man.

miketually said...

"Mike T. Have you invented this blogspot?"

Yes, I set it up a couple of years ago as part of the MPs Weblogs campaign set up by Tim Ireland of - he'd helped Tom Watson and Boris Johnson set up their blogs and was trying to get other MPs and Cllrs to blog as well.

The blog got a bit of press at the time, in The Times, The Journal and on the BBC website. If the Echo had picked up on it, I'm sure more would have come from it, but I didn't think to contact them at the time.

I met with Alan's assistant and also with the man himself. He seemed interested, but I got the impression he'd lost a bit of faith in the internet after setting up his current site, which has lots of problems with it.

His assistant posted a couple of times after we met, but then he returned to cabinet in his Duke of Lancaster role and the whole thing fizzled out.

At the time I also emailed my three ward Cllrs about setting up blogs, including Nick Wallis, so maybe something positive did come out of it.

I'd consider bringing it out of mothballs, but I'm sure he won't be running at the next election. If he does run again, however, I'll definately get it going again.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

Thanks Mike B and Mike T.

I see there has been another transfer from Darlington to Bolton. I wonder what the transfer fee was and what his position in the team will be.

Anonymous said...

I hear the transfer is Kevin Dafty,off down Bolton to be the Magsters "lapdog" and possibly write some more cars off p1$$3d!

See she's still upto her old tricks, what a loss to the Education Village, how will they ever replace him?

Wonder if he can claim his rail travel back like Milk-em-burn.

Paul Leake said...

Rail fares of just over £300 per week...

According to National Rail the cost of a first class open return between Darlington and London KX is £310. I gather MPs are allowed to claim first class travel if they are doing work on the train (although how many pay it back if they doze off or visit the restaurant car I'm not sure).

Personally I'm more suspicious of the handful of MPs charging the taxpayer for 300 letters a day - the looks suspiciously either like mass mailing at the taxpayers' expense, or slave-labour on their staff.

miketually said...

A defence from Nick Wallis.

Mike Barker said...

Nick's defense is based on a comparison with Dari Taylor and Phil Willis, whose expenses were, apparently within a gnat's whisker of our Alan's.
But that's not the point. In facr, it's better that the guy runs up huge first class train bills than drives everywhere.
The point is: I know Phil Willis and I stood against Dari in the 2005 General Election, and they both work a damn site (sight?) harder for their constituents than Alan Milburn. They are active and visible in Harrogate and Stockton respectively.
Milburn sees his job as a chance to line his pockets by joining companies like Pepsico while appearing occasionally for set piece photo opportunities in Darlington. Perhaps Nick could give us some examples of how hard Milburn really works for his constituents.