Anyone who doubts that the political class are akin to pigs with their snouts in the financial trough of taxpayer largesse should reflect on the news that Jack Straw, the Leader of the Commons, will propose handing every MP a communications allowance - which could be worth around £10,000 a year. MPs are expected to approve the plans, which are set to cost taxpayer's more than £6.5m a year and then agree how much to pay themselves in meetings behind closed doors.
I fully agree with th observation that Straw's proposals are an admission of failure by Commons authorities who have seen postage expenses serially abused by Labour MPs in marginal constituencies - who have been accused of spending taxpayers' money on party propaganda.
Eighteen Labour MPs spent more than £10,000 on postage last year and 11 of them were fighting to save their seats. Under the plans, all MPs will get the 'communication allowance' for newsletters and other political information on top of the existing postage allowance.The amount they can spend on postage will then be capped at £7,000. However most MPs will just claim the maximum allowance, meaning the total bill could rise to around £17,000 for each MP, rather than saving money.
And of the 20 MPs who claimed more than £10,000 in postage costs, who are the WORST offenders?
1. Andrew Dismore, Labour, Hendon, £25,146 -
2. Siobhain McDonagh, Labour, Mitcham & Morden, £22,339.
3. Bill Rammell, Labour, Harlow, £18,267.
4. Liam Byrne, Labour, Birmingham Hodge Hill, £18,212.
5. Jacqui Smith, Labour, Redditch, £16,458,
Socialism in action - spend spend spend - just so long as it is someone else's money.