MPs' exes latest
SIR - With regard to your piece on St Albans MP Keeps Tight Rein on Expenses (Herts Advertiser May 14). I voted for Mrs Main or rather the Conservative Party which she represented in the last election and believe the expenses involved with regard to Mrs
SIR - With regard to your piece on 'St Albans MP Keeps Tight Rein on Expenses' (Herts Advertiser May 14). I voted for Mrs Main or rather the Conservative Party which she represented in the last election and believe the expenses involved with regard to Mrs Main bear closer scrutiny.
A look at the website theyworkforyou. com reveals that in the 2006/2007 period Mrs Main came joint first at the top of the league in additional cost allowance and in the same period �23,111 was claimed in additional expenses allowance, the details of which have yet to be released.
I feel it would be premature to talk about any tight rein in expenses until full details of expenses are known and only on that basis can the voters of St Albans decide where to place their vote in the next election some 12 months from now.
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SIR - I write in support of your editorial of May 21. In common with a large number of other MPs, Mrs Main has been the subject of criticism over her expenses.
The principal thrust of that criticism is that she purchased a second home in St Albans rather than travel to St Albans from her main home in Beaconsfield and that the journey from Beaconsfield to Westminster is slightly shorter than that from St Albans. The second criticism is that she allowed her daughter to use the St Albans flat. She has not "flipped" homes or claimed any extravagant items.
It seems to me that the purchase of the St Albans flat was perfectly reasonable in that it enabled her to become heavily involved with the people of St Albans and the many issues that had a major effect on their lives. It also seems reasonable for her to seek the company of her daughter.
The main point that I wish to make is that Mrs Main has fought long and hard for the people of St Albans. In particular, she has made and continues to make, enormous efforts to avert the disaster of the road/rail terminal. I have corresponded with Mrs Main a number of times and I have found that she has responded in a prompt and helpful way. In short, she has been an excellent MP and deserves support. I write as someone who was a lifelong Labour supporter until 2005 and who just wants to be fair.
R. F. COLLINS,
SIR - With the national news dominated by MPs' expenses, I was interested in your local take on the issue. You published quite a soft article about Anne Main (Herts Advertiser May 14) being in the middle of the pack on total expenses and you have put up on your website a somewhat more aggressive story about some specific claims by James Clappison.
I think that both stories miss some important points: MPs, like most people are subject to the temptations of human nature - if they are told that they can claim for gardening, TVs or cleaning the moat, many will. Why do MPs whose constituencies are within easy commuting distance from their place of work, need a second home when their constituents, many of whom make the same trip every day, don't? Why should MPs be able to make any profit at all on a second home, taxed or not. It may be an insecure job, but it does have a reasonable pension.
The real outrage is that many decent MPs of all parties who have been calling for radical reforms for many years have now been tarred with the same brush and the beneficiaries are likely to be extremist parties such as the BNP whose record for probity when elected to local councils is dubious to say the least.
Park Street Lane,
SIR - It seems as close as there is to a racing certainty that the future of our MP for St Albans is no longer tenable. The claims relating to her St Albans flat, as a single issue, are sufficient cause to undermine her credibility to the extent that to stand for re-election at the next general election must not take place on the grounds of conscience alone. Anne Main, like many other MPs, must assess their position and declare they will not put themselves forward for re-election.
Splendid work in our constituency, which I consider is there to be witnessed and acknowledged, is insufficient to justify any case for mitigating circumstances to apply where claims relating to a second home in the city appear to be quite outrageous, unfair and grossly excessive.
My expectation as a member of the St Albans community is that we need somebody from within our local community to act on our behalf in Westminster when the next general election takes place. Sadly, it seems, our current PM is determined to persist in this continued arrogant crusade to remain in office.
Gordon Brown's resignation is so long overdue. The man clings to his self belief concerning his suitability to lead the nation politically when he knows so well just how out of touch he is.
I hope the notification of Anne Main's intention not to stand again in St Albans is declared soon and does not drag on in the style of our arrogant PM.
Mile House Lane,
SIR - I am sure the recent media coverage surrounding MP's expenses has caused considerable distress to many sitting Members.
We are all aware that the 'rules' differ to what could be expected to be morally right.
I am sure many people within our constituency (including the Herts Advertiser) recognise the hard work that Anne Main does within St Albans but are also at conflict with the idea that she (and her family members) may be profiting from her position.
To encourage local closure to this issue and allow the focus of attention to move to more practical topics would she be able to perhaps consider the following question: Should she remain the MP for St Albans will she continue to live in Beaconsfield and claim for a second home in town?
Perhaps she could extricate herself from the 'rules', think with her head and inform us what she really thinks is right and what she will do.