Thursday, February 01, 2007

MP to pay back House of Commons

BLAYDON Labour MP Dave Anderson is to pay back to the House of Commons the cost of using parliamentary stationery and postage after he sent a party political mailing to Labour members.

The letter was sent by first class Parliamentary mail on House of Commons headed notepaper to Labour members in the constituency even though the rules on use of tax payer funded stationery forbid its use for party political purposes.

In the letter, posted out on 10th January, Mr Anderson called on Labour to stay united during the forthcoming leadership contest.

He also asked people to support Labour candidates in the local elections to be held in May and launched a concerted attack on Liberal Democrat councillors in the constituency, describing them as “second rate”.

Mr Anderson’s letter was anonymously leaked to Liberal Democrat Councillor Dr Jonathan Wallace. He lodged a complaint with the Serjeant at Arms, the Parliamentary Officer who deals with services and facilities in Parliament.

Dr Wallace has now received a letter from the office of the Serjeant at Arms confirming that, after being investigated, Mr Anderson admitted his letter was not an appropriate use of Parliamentary mail and stationery and has agreed to pay back the costs incurred.

“Mr Anderson should be much more careful in future in the way he and his office use House of Commons facilities,” said Dr Wallace.

“It is a basic rule that the stationery and mail provided to MPs are for writing to constituents who have raised issues and concerns with them. They are not to be used for party political purposes.

“It is not meant to be a free-to-use system for Labour MPs to churn out attacks on opposition councillors or drum up support for Labour council candidates.

“I am surprised this was overlooked when this letter was written and signed by Mr Anderson.

“We are pleased that Mr Anderson has agreed to pay back the money his mailing cost the tax payer. Hopefully there will be no repeat of this incident.”
Photo: Dave Anderson, Blaydon's Labor MP, has had to pay back the House of Commons for using tax payer funded House of Commons stationery and postage to write to Labour members drumming up support for Labour candidates.

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