Saturday, November 12, 2005

Presumably one of the homes is where the cat lives


My local free rag, the Chiswick, reports an update of sorts on the issue of my soon-to-be MP, Ann Keen and her husband Alan (MP for the next-door constituency), specifically with reference to their housing situation.

The Keens own a house in Brentford, which is Ann's constituency. They also own a flat in Covent Garden. Fair enough so far - most MPs have to maintain accommodation in central London because their constituencies are too far away to get back to each evening after business at the Commons.

The trouble is, Brentford station is approximately nine miles from Westminster. The journey time is under fifty minutes. It's the same kind of journey many of their constituents have to make on a daily basis. The Keens somehow qualify for housing expenses to mitigate against having to make this arduous journey. Since 2001, they have (according to the Chiswick - article not online, for some reason) claimed £130,288 - probably not enough to buy the flat, but certainly enough to afford the rent. Ironically, the Keens have not broken any rules in claiming this allowance.

As I reported way back in May, Alan Keen promised to account for this indulgence. No explanation has been forthcoming, but Ann Keen was reported in the Chiswick as saying:
I welcome the publication of all MPs' expenses and the need for transparency in public life. This is why I fully supported the Labour government's legislation which allows these figures to be accessible to the public and I have at all times operated within the rules of Parliament.

Well, I'm glad that's cleared that up, then.


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