Wednesday 14 October 2009

Full speed day and Devine update

It's been a full-speed start to the parliamentary session and the pace shows no sign of slacking today. Plenty to do including trying to chase down these rumoured payback figures of up to £30,000 being asked of two Scottish MPs.

There's Scottish Questions, the last before the Glasgow North East by-election, so we expect it to be quite shouty. That's followed by Prime Minister's Questions which will have a sombre beginning with the names of 37 war dead to be read out. After that I escape for a couple of hours to visit the London Olympics site with the Scottish Secretary. He's a good sprinter but I reckon I could take him on anything over 800 metres.

It's been a chaotic couple of days with Sir Thomas Legg, the man hired to give the expenses scandal a quiet burial, opting for a viking funeral pyre instead. There's lots of anger among MPs, some of it directed at him, some at Brown and a lot at Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, for opening up the scar of home flipping all over again.

Not all the anger yesterday was directed at Sir Thomas. Jim Devine, the Livingston MP barred standing for Labour again over his expenses, expressed his bitterness at being cleared by the auditor while being "briefed against" Labour officials.

Mr Devine, who was questioned over claims for £2,326 to install shelving and do repair work at his constituency office, and £2,157 in electrical work at his London home, was cleared in a letter from Sir Thomas.

He claimed the letter vindicated his innocence but Labour officials pointed out that he had been deselected over irregularities in his incidental expenses provision and not the additional costs allowance (ACA) that Sir Thomas was investigating.

Mr Devine hit back that the electrical work was carried out under ACA and insisted that the shelving issue was being investigated by the Metropolitan police at his behest.

"I was delighted with the letter I received and I am very disappointed that party officials in Scotland have been briefing against me. I have police inquiry which I requested and when that comes to a conclusion I will take action," he told me.

"I was hung out to dry on a false agenda and here we are again when I get a clean bill of health, I am briefed against by Scottish Labour."

No comments:

Post a Comment