For once I agree with Peter Mandleson in his assessment of the behaviour of ex Labour ministers touting for business with Channel 4s journalists who posed as lobbyists looking for influence in Government. Although the irony of Lord Mandelson criticising others for using their political positions for personal enrichment is somewhat thick!
I watched Channel 4s Dispatches programme last night with some trpidation, because politics needs some more political sleaze like a hole in the head as we try to get people to vote in the forthcoming general election.
North East Stephen Byers came off worst in my opinion as he bragged of how he could help clients change legislation. Either he was grossly exaggerating his work or he really has done the things he claims. Neither reflects well on him. But equally worrying was the way in which Patricia Hewitt (former Secretary of State for Health) has gone onto the board of Boots and a body which provides private healthcare and has apparently used her influence to help her clients. Geoff Hoon also appeared somewhat desperate for work post April. Is suspect these people will now not be going automatically to the house of Lords and will see their earnings potential drop substantially.
Unfortunately all people interested in being involved in politics get tarred with the same brush. That upsets me because if elected I would not behave in this way. I'm not perfect but if I am lucky enough to be elected, I promise to:
*Not take any additional jobs for which I receive payment (although I reserve the right to continue to do voluntary work in my spare time)
*Not accept money from external agencies or bodies to fund foreign trips or other freebies
*To openly declare on my website any hospitality I have enjoyed
*To post all receipts of expenses and copies of forms submitted to the House of Commons on my website so everyone can see within weeks what I have claimed for
*Not to buy a flat in London and to get an economical place to stay that costs the taxpayer as little as possible
* To press for complete transparency of expenses in the House of Commons and for getting rid of people profiting from the expenses regime