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Why is Adam Afriyie being touted for leader? Expenses.

28 January 2013

1:19 PM

28 January 2013

1:19 PM

The Adam Afriyie leadership stories this Sunday confirmed several things. First, there’ll be no shortage of candidates when David Cameron goes. A large tranche of backbenchers have become increasingly irritated at what they view as a magic circle of ministers, special advisers and journalists who, they claim, are deciding who is and isn’t considered a serious player in Westminster. A result of this will be a determined effort to bust this alleged cartel come the next leadership contest.

The second, and more important, thing is that the whole issue of pay and rations for MPs is still shaping our politics. Many of those most hostile to Cameron are those who feel that he hung them — or their colleagues — out to dry during the expenses scandal. They feel that he didn’t show them loyalty in their hour of need, so they owe him none.

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Afriyie has capitalised on this expenses discontent. As Chris Hope points out in The Telegraph, Afriyie — who has claimed no expenses himself — has set himself up as an MPs’ champion on the matter, as someone prepared to fight for the interests of parliamentarians on this matter. His push for flat-rate allowances has been extremely popular with MPs who are fed up with the bureaucratic and, some say, demeaning system operated by IPSA.

I doubt that this, his back story and business success will be enough to carry Afriyie to the leadership: his fellow MPs tend not to regard him as that strong a media or Commons performer. But this chatter, and the reason for it, does tell us something about the mood among a certain section of Tory MPs.

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  • Magnolia

    This publicity will do nothing but good for the Conservative Party.
    We badly need something to counteract Chuka and why shouldn’t Adam have a more prominent media role.
    I believe that all of our black and ethnic minority MPs should be out there on the TV, on the radio and in print talking about how the Conservative Party will rescue the country and improve the life chances and living standards of all.
    It’s like the old Heineken advert.

    • Wessex Man

      Go and have a rest.

  • Daniel Maris

    Well pushing for flat rate allowances shows the bloke has some sense. I’ve seen him on TV and he seems perfectly articulate and good at making his point. What’s not to like. Could he possibly be worse than this lot (37 U turns, triple dip recession)?

  • ButcombeMan

    “Flat rate allowances for MPs”-Why?

    What possible justification can there be?

    1000s of public servants entitled to allowances for being away from home, even long term in London, manage to claim and mostly honestly, what they are entitled to. They even claim reduced rates for staying with relatives (Jacquie Smith!).

    1000s of self employed individuals and employees have to account for their expenses properly, on a monthly or weekly basis with a simple claim form.

    There is no justification for MPs being differrent, this is public money.

    I know nothing about Afriyie, but if he wants MPs treated differrently to senior public servants from whatever organisation, I do not want to know.

    The proposal is crooked.

    • Daniel Maris

      “Away from home” says it all. The point is that MPs need to be “away from home” for a large part of the year. That is the justification for flat rate allowances, probably on a “distance from London” sliding scale.

      • ButcombeMan

        Similarly with many public servants, they get paid allowances by the night away from home,there is no reason for MPs to have any vastly dissimilar arrangements. A complete flat rate on annual terms would breach tax rules and would necessitate special arangements for MPs. No such arrangement is justified.

        The current cry is for a pay rise for MPs unrelated to the real world experiences of other public servants. MPs pay should be and historically was, related to a fixed rank in the Civil Service, that should continue. It has been complicated by departmental flexibility on pay rates, but the principle is still easy to perpetuate, based on a basket of salaries in two or three Departments There are no grounds for differrent arrangements.

  • James Strong

    And of course he’s being put forward by racists.
    Anybody who treats anyone either better or worse because of the colour of their skin is a racist.
    Lefties and fellow-travellers who say ‘Look at me, I support a black man because I’m not a racist’ should be challenged on it.
    We really are nowhere near colour-blindness, are we?

  • HooksLaw

    Whistle up the tumbril.
    Clearly you are bored Mr Forsyth and want to stir up another frenzy of anti politics anti MP frothing from the resident wolf pack. Anything to drum up business.

    (MPS upset with Cameron over expenses? Come off it. In any event they have more to fear from the electorate on that one. Like I mean is this Afriyie, or any other, going to seriously be able to make any changes that are likely to put more money in MPs pockets? No. Ergo the whole story is cobblers)

  • James Strong

    This story makes me want to vomit.
    This man has the suppoprt of some MPs because he is a champion of parliamentarians and their expenses?
    They really are scum aeren’t they.
    What about his talents as a decision-maker, a motivator band a leader? What about his priorities for the future direction of the country? Not important, he’s going to look after the troughers.
    They really are scum aren’t they.

  • Wessex Man

    Dragged himself up after his father did a runner and and made a fortune, sounds like just the sort of bloke this country needs as PM. If I were a member of the Tory Party I would for him as party leader like a shot.

    • telemaque

      No
      The Tories vacillate between strong family types and patricians and he is neither

  • theknightirish

    Poor Boris. He doesn’t do anything silly for a few days and we decide someone else should be the next Tory PM. How fickle.

    • telemaque

      It goes to the destitution of talent on the right of politics at present

  • santry1947@aol.com

    “does tell us something about the mood among a certain section of Tory MPs”

    The usual lot of selfish no hopers all with an ax to grind, particularly the woman from a sink estate!

  • David Lindsay

    I am also available to become Leader of the Conservative Party.

    Fashionably touched with the tar brush. But not so much. And not so much as to be called anything other than David Alexander Stephen Lindsay.

    No estuary accent here. Nor any money made in trade, darling.

    Plenty of Tory MPs know how to get in touch.

    • Noa

      How much?

      • David Lindsay

        Don’t be coarse. I neither grew up on a council estate (I have very briefly lived in a council house, but only once my father’s new vicarage was being built), nor did I make a pile in IT.

        The rate for the job, as we trade unionists say. Ah, the forces of conservatism.

        • Noa

          Direct ain’t coarse.
          A Trade Union rate?
          So you want a substantial salary hike before proving your ability to do the job. Little to choose between politicians and Unionists then.
          And I’d prefer a demonstrably competent negotiator like Bob Crow to lead key EU negotiations than the weak pawed conciliators in Downing St or the FCO.

          • David Lindsay

            I voted for No2EU – Yes to Democracy. I was informally told, I am not sure how authoritatively, that I could have a nomination here in the North East. But I didn’t like the funny name, the abstentionist stance, or some of the company that I should have been keeping.

            However, with both the Conservative and the Lib Dem easily removable here next year – doomed, in fact – something fairly similar might not be any bad thing, in order to keep Labour on its toes by preventing, as now shows ever sign of happening, three seats out of three even under PR. Never say never…

            Anyway, I should be Bob Crow without the Bob Crow. I am sure that you know what I mean.

            • Noa

              Bob Crow without the…
              Well I’m not sure that I do, but why not David.
              Kissing babies and shaking the hands of the local Union brothers and sisters could be just the thing to keep ennui at bay, or keep one off e Bay at least.
              Or was it kissing Union brothers and sisters and shaking hands with babies? It’s been a while since I was on the stump…

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Are you available to bait lobster traps?

      I mean, not to apply bait, but to act as bait.

      • David Lindsay

        White lobster only? In that case, yes. But not otherwise.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Well, you’ll have to discuss that with the lobsters.

          • Daniel Maris

            Have you now been reduced to sub-Learian discourse on lobsters? There was a time you made intelligent contributions to energy debates. Sadly, no more. I am sure people pity you.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Well, here’s the thing. You wouldn’t know an intelligent energy contribution from an unintelligent, simply because you’re ignorant and uneducated.

    • CharlieleChump

      none will

      • David Lindsay

        More than one already has…

  • Noa

    What? MPs pay and rations is more important than the ‘in camera’ system operating to select the candidates for PM?
    Sadly I believe that you are right. The position of PM is no longer selected by elected MPs but by unelected hacks, wonks and party funders.
    If MPs have no real say they might as well concentrate on troughing, and like any other voter look to support the one who pays the best price for their vote.
    It is simply confirmation of another nail in the coffin of Parliamentary democracy.

    • HooksLaw

      The party leader is selected by the party membership.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Why? Obama mania and shallow tokenism probably. The bien pensant think it will somehow establish their non-racist credentials to clamour for the first “black” PM. The flaunting of non-racist credentials is now essential in order to pre-empt the suspicion or smear.

    Mind you, it might just be part of a cunning wheeze by the Cameroons linked to their “strategy” to engage with BME groups.

    • telemaque

      Nico
      You have it in one here
      Pure revanchist cynicism

      • Wilhelm

        White Liberals see Blacks as pets.

  • telemaque

    The only reason for this chap however is to counteract the electorate suspicion of the racial undertones of the Tory-UKIP continuum

  • the viceroy’s gin

    No, what the Speccie lickspittle’s inside the bubble tittle-tattle tells us is that the Cameroons want to paint this guy with an “expenses” brush.

    • Daniel Maris

      Your most intelligent comment in a very long while. Well done. Smiley face.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        And wouldn’t it be splendid if you were ever to provide an intelligent comment?

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