Play the world’s smallest violin for Mark Simmonds MP

What planet does the MP for Boston and Skegness actually live on?

What planet does the MP for Boston and Skegness actually live on?

MP bashing can certainly go too far at times. Cynics enjoy lamenting our MPs for being ‘all the same’ when it reality they aren’t. Many work incredibly hard for their constituents and they really could earn more money outside of Parliament.

That said, what on earth is Tory Foreign Office minister (now ex-minister) Mark Simmonds thinking?

Simmonds quit his job at the Foreign Office yesterday over what he called the “intolerable” expenses rules that had apparently forced him to choose between his family and his parliamentary career.

Despite receiving a rental allowance of £27,875 a year, plus £2,500 for each of his three children, plus £89,435 a year (he also employs his wife at a cost of £25,000 of public money) Simmonds maintains that he cannot afford to house his family in London:

“The allowances that enable members of parliament to stay in London while they are away from their families – my family lives in Lincolnshire in my constituency – does not allow me to rent a flat that could accommodate my family. So I very rarely see my family and I have to put family life first and every single parent listening to this will hopefully understand,” he told the BBC.”

According to the Guardian, a spokesperson from the expenses watchdog Ipsa pointed out that Simmonds had never actually tried to claim for a flat, but had instead claimed thousands of pounds in hotel fees.

The paper also reports that last year Simmonds was the most expensive MP in Lincolnshire after it was calculated that he had claimed £173,436.96 in expenses.

Which all begs the question: what planet does Mark Simmonds actually live on?

Seriously though, last year one million people had to use a food bank to get something to eat. This year most working people are still getting poorer as inflation continues to outpace average pay. Simmonds also just happens to be a member of a government that is demanding disabled people pay a bedroom tax or move out of their social housing; and yet here he is demanding his own ‘spare room subsidy’ so his children can stay in a second home during the school holidays.

The sheer sense of entitlement is the thing that grates the most. Simmonds goes on to say:

“Of course if MPs want to get into the business of travelling extensively from Westminster to the outer reaches of London to rent a flat then that’s up to them but that’s not the lifestyle I want and it’s not the lifestyle I have chosen for myself or I want for my family.”

In other words, instead of getting on the tube or the bus like the rest of us, Mr Simmonds believes it would be perfectly kosher for the taxpayer to subsidise a ‘lifestyle’ that includes a top piece of Westminster real estate. It’s a bit like saying that driving a car has become ‘intolerable’ because it isn’t a Porshe, and then expecting people one low and middling salaries to chip in to make things more bearable.

Sorry, but this isn’t hardship. Nor is it ‘intolerable’. It merely ever-so-slightly annoying, but no more annoying than the travails experienced by the vast majority of Londoners on a daily basis.

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8 Responses to “Play the world’s smallest violin for Mark Simmonds MP”

  1. Kryten2k35

    What a scumbag.

  2. Tim Mann

    He does not help the cause of MP’s that actually believe in public service.

  3. Nick B Scales

    Well UKIP should congratulate this moron for helping them win this seat given that Boston has already become a fertile recruiting ground for BNP & National Front mentality organisations. The Tories are out of touch as usual, a Labour majority is over ten years away unless the party finds a leader and policies with sound and stop pudding on the poor from a great height like SW Surrey Labour did to me ad I was too poor to get the restaurant and places they met in.

  4. Kay

    He would not contemplate accommodation in the sticks, but wanted a property close to Westminster. He would not contemplate dipping into his own pocket, because he feels that the cost of housing his family should be met by tax-payer funded expenses. The cheek of it takes my breath away.

    Incidentally, it’s a bit of a myth that MPs work hard for their constituents, in my experience. Maybe I’ve just seen the lazy ones?

    Office staff act as gate-keepers, filtering out most of the traffic by diverting constituents to other agencies. In the smaller number of cases where an MP can intervene, office staff take on cases themselves. I have been on the receiving end when constituents have made justifiable complaints or asked very good searching questions about my organisation. In my experience, the MPs role was to sign the letter. Once the complaint had been investigated, office staff did nothing beyond sending a copy of my report to the constituent with a compliments slip!

    Fat lot of good that was – especially when you consider that the constituent (a) could have cut out the middle tier of complaint (b) deserved better, because they were usually right and had got a poor deal out of the organisation that I worked for. Nah, I’ve never bought into that smokescreen of ‘working hard’ for constituents’. .

  5. John

    An insignificant politician making a significant contribution to the public purse by stepping down. How did his constituents ever vote for him?

  6. organic cheeseboard

    It’s not just cheeky and stupid, it’s also untrue. You can easily find a 4-bed flat/maisonette for rent within easily commutable distance of Westminster – in Kennington, in Vauxhall, in Pimlico, in Notting Hill (where Gove etc live) – he just clearly couldn’t be bothered to look; or maybe only wanted to live in a certain kind of place…?

  7. Leon Wolfeson

    Oh come on.

    Take one or two big government buildings near Parliament. Convert to nice flat’s for MP’s.
    Move the functions of said buildings to, say, Manchester or Birmingham.

    There. No, we don’t need to go back to an era where the Trade Unions needed to fund MP’s directly so working class men could be MP’s (in fact, that’s why MP’s salaries were introduced), but there are ways to substantially cut the bill which can and should be pursued.

  8. Cole

    It’s called a safe seat! And he was no doubt selected by a small bunch of Tory hacks.

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