Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North MP Joins Calls for Martin to Step Down

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North MP Joins Calls for Martin to Step Down

Article excerpt

Byline: William Green

ASENIOR Labour MP last night said Commons Speaker Michael Martin should quit as part of a new "package" to tackle the expenses scandal.

Durham City MP Roberta Blackman-Woods, assistant to Regional Minister Nick Brown, spoke out as Mr Martin tried to hang onto his job amid mounting criticism of his performance of the expenses crisis.

And she criticised claims made by some of her colleague as going "well beyond what is necessary".

Her comments came as a top Labour insider demanded by-elections in constituencies where MPs are suspected of committing fraud.

Referring to Speaker Martin, Dr Blackman-Woods, pictured inset, said: "My view is his going has got to be part of the new package, which is a new system for MPs allowances, new scrutiny system, new transparency." The Labour MP also opened her claims to The Journal and published additional details of expenses for her second home in London on her website, where she has already published some information for several years.

She paid for a television and kitchen items from her own pocket, describing them as "not essential" to her job.

That will raise further questions about why other MPs did leave the taxpayer to pick up the tab for such goods.

Her main home is in Durham and she bought a small one-bedroom flat in London to use when in Westminster during the week after being elected in 2005.

She claims mortgage interest but not capital payments on the London property.

"I believe this arrangement represents good value for money for the taxpayer because if I were to rent my property, given its location in central London, it would cost pounds 1,800 per month.

"But I currently claim only around pounds 500 per month for mortgage interest payments," she said.

The MP also claims for council tax and utilities for her London flat, while covering all bills in her Durham home.

She added: "When I bought my flat I also bought the following items which I thought were essential: a bed, bedding, a bedside table and two small sofas." She has claimed pounds 479 for a mattress, pounds 649 for a bedstead, pounds 299 for a bedside cabinet, pounds 1,574 for two small sofas and pounds 200 for bedding. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.