Thursday, November 15, 2007

Is it appropriate for a Labour MP to use taxpayers' money to attack the Lib Dems?

I have been attacked by another Labour MP in Gateshead. I think it was Dennis Healey who once described being attacked by Geoffrey Howe as like "being savaged by a dead sheep." I think this is one of those situations! David Clelland is the Labour MP for Tyne Bridge. He lacks the charisma of Geoffrey Howe and certainly doesn't have the ability to issue a quiet knock out blow, as the former Chancellor did with Labour's new friend, Margaret Thatcher.

Readers may recall however that a few weeks ago I took issue with Mr Clelland after he claimed that it was in the national interest that Labour should be in power (despite his constant whinging about how his beloved Labour government was letting down the North East). You can read my original post here: David Clelland and the national interest.

On Mr Clelland’s website, he defends the arrogant view that equates the national interest to the interest of the Labour party. It is frankly what you would expect from the likes of the Labour party in the North East.

Presumably, to take Mr Clelland’s argument to their logical conclusion, he should be arguing for a one party state with Labour being the only party allowed for, to have other parties in power would, under Mr Clelland’s somewhat disturbing analysis, be against the national interest.

You can read Mr Clelland’s attack on me on this link: Clelland website. People visiting it will be able to see the rather childish defacing of the Lib Dem logo.

However, perhaps readers could tell me whether launching a personalised attack on a councillor and attacking another party on a website funded through an MP's Parliamentary Allowance is an appropriate use of taxpayers' money.

I simply ask at this stage out of curiosity. So I took the liberty of looking up "The Communications Allowance and the use of House stationery" issued by the House of Commons Department of Finance and Administration in April 2007. In section 7 on page 27 it specifies that MP websites financed by the Communications Allowance cannot be used "to advance perspectives or arguments with the intention of promoting interests of any person, political party or organisation you support, or damaging the interests of any such person, party or organisation."

I was just wondering whether political attacks on opponents and the defacing of opposition logos fits the above requirements.

So just to be helpful to Mr Clelland, I have kindly raised the matter with the Director of the Department of Finance and Administration in the Commons, just so that Mr Clelland can rest assured that he is operating within the rules.

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