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Gay Tory MP Nick Herbert defends expenses claims

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  1. Simon Murphy 13 May 2009, 2:26pm

    I look forward to Nick Herbert suppporting marriage equality in the future. He is not married. He is in a 2nd rate Civil Partnership. If gay people had equal marriage rights then the Telegraph could not have singled him out this way.

  2. Robert, ex-pat Brit 13 May 2009, 2:47pm

    Simon, this only proves that the Telegraph is homophobic. As I’ve already posted on the Ben Bradshaw story, the Telegraph never refers to straight spouses of political figures as boyfriends or girlfriends. I would suspect this is the mindset of straight society at large. There is no way the DT could avoid acknowledging a same sex couple if they were allowed to marry, they’d be hardpressed, but I suspect even then, they’d ridicule them in another way by calling one of them “the wife”. Its homophobia, plain and simple. Maybe they’d like it if we called straight homophobes “breeders” (breeders of ignorance and bigotry who bring children into this world willy-nilly and teaching them to hate), a derogatory term used by American gay activists. Its quite obvious they are in abundance at the DT and elsewhere in the media and society in general.

  3. I thought he was the Justice Secretary. Are standards on this site slipping?

  4. Straight people love to be called Breeders! Its a sign of virility!

  5. Pete & Christopher 13 May 2009, 5:10pm

    No, Chris, he is Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Cameron promoted him in January this year. Before that he was Justice.

  6. vulpus_rex 13 May 2009, 5:38pm

    I don’t want to trivialise this thread, but does anyone else think Nick Herbert is quite hot?

  7. Mihangel apYrs 13 May 2009, 9:05pm

    I await SMC’s views on this article with interest

    Sauce for the goose…

  8. Sister Mary Clarence 14 May 2009, 12:35am

    Well here it is apYrs …. firstly, can someone explain to me how the f**k he managed to get a mortgage for £465000 on a salary of £65000.00.

    If he told the mortgage lender that it was only him going to pay the mortgage, would they have included his partner’s salary in any calculations?

    As this is his ‘second home’, does he need it to be such a grand home? What purpose is the ‘second’ home serving?

    Why has the partner come in on the mortgage (which he must have to secure such a large mortgage) for Ben’s ‘work’ address, its not as if they are going to use it to make a few quid on the property market …. surely?

    Another couple of robbing little f**kers in my view, getting a leg up in life on the backs of taxpayers. All the more disgraceful that he is trying to claim homophobia to divert attention from the real crime of abused of office.

    There are people all over this country still experiencing genuine homophobia, and the only thing these two are suffering is greed and guilt.

  9. Mihangel apYrs 14 May 2009, 7:50am

    SMC thank you very much for that. While I may disagree with your political views, I cannot fault you for your impartial contempt for these little porkers. In fact your anger at their venality does you proud.

    You demonstrate that while political differences can (and have) led to heated “discussion”, political ethics (if not an oxymoron) are not tied to any one party.

  10. Sister Mary Clarence 14 May 2009, 11:27am

    Thank you apYrs, I would have hoped that the Tories had tried to show a bit more integrity, but its very lcear that they are all as bad as one another.

    Lifted the expenses rules from the BBC website:

    You must ensure that arrangements for your ACA claims are above reproach and that there can be no grounds for a suggestion of misuse of public money. Members should bear in mind the need to obtain value for money from accommodation, goods or services funded from the allowances.

    You must avoid any arrangement which may give rise to an accusation that you are, or someone close to you is, obtaining an immediate benefit or subsidy from public funds or that public money is being diverted for the benefit of a political organisation.

    You should avoid purchases which could be seen as extravagant or luxurious.

    How Nick Herbert can possible imagine he is within them (or any of the others for that matter), I cannot understand.

    The only words that need to be coming out of his mouth at the moment are, “I’m very sorry”.

  11. Brian Burton 14 May 2009, 12:17pm

    The HOMOPHOB David Skinner from (Gay Cure) is peddling his sicko advice and abuse to us. How can he/she do this to our Gay Community when we are the essence of purity!

  12. Andy & Steve 14 May 2009, 5:12pm

    As a constituent of Mr Herbert I have emailed him as follows:

    “Dear Mr Herbert

    Having just read the piece in the Telegraph pertaining to your rather lovely Arundel home and the less than lovely PAAE claim for the complete amount of interest payable under your mortgage I am disgusted to read that you have been exposed as just another snout in the trough.

    Given that you represent Arundel and South Downs and that your home is in Arundel, how on earth can it be justified that you charge taxpayers for the mortgage payments in full for your constituency home in Arundel?

    To quote the Green Book:

    “PAAE is available to reimburse Members for the additional
    expenses necessarily incurred in staying overnight away from their
    main home for the purpose of performing their parliamentary
    duties.”

    In case it had escaped your notice, there is a mainline railway station in Arundel – commute like the rest of us have to, unsubsidised by a bottomless pit of public money!

    And please don’t use the “Parliament sits late sometimes” hogwash:

    Monday: 2.30pm-10.30pm
    Tuesday: 2.30pm-10.30pm
    Wednesday: 11.30am-7.30pm
    Thursday: 10.30am-6.30pm
    Sitting Friday: 9.30am-3pm

    The last direct train back to Arundel from Victoria is the 22:32. So at most you would need to spend two nights a week, Monday and Tuesday, in London. Therefore, the majority of your nights are (or could be) at home, in Arundel. If you chose to maintain a second home in London as a crash pad, good on you. Just don’t expect the taxpayer to subsidise such a blatantly unnecessary and completely voluntary expense.

    So, just how does this all fit with you claiming for your mortgage interest payments on your main home? You cannot possibly get away claiming that your house in Arundel is your second home and that the flat in London is your main home, or is that exactly what you have done?

    I suppose your thinking could have been “nice Tory safe seat, get a nice house – charge out the mortgage for as long as I’m an MP… ten years later I’ve got a desirable home and half a mortgage thanks to all those mugs paying tax on minimum wages”.

    I could understand all the money grubbing by you and your colleagues if your salary was so miserly as to be tantamount to usury BUT you get an enormous (by comparison with the local or UK average) salary of over £64,000. Hardly chicken feed in and of itself.

    But that’s not enough for a Member of Parliament is it?

    No, you then have to live for free in a £490,000 house, even having the bare faced cheek to charge out the Stamp Duty and Survey fees to buy the place. This despite the fact that you share the house – but you are an MP, so bung in a claim for 100% of the mortgage interest, normal rules of common sense and ethical behaviour don’t apply to you.

    And then there’s the bothersome matter of actually doing your job. £64,000 is obviously nowhere near enough to warrant actually paying for a season ticket to London (like your constituents) – no, you are an MP and therefore get to charge out all your travel expenses (the majority for commuting by car – hardly glowing credentials to become Shadow Secretary of State for Environment in January) to the taxpayer, your constituents.

    In short – your behaviour is absolutely disgraceful. It is tantamount to blatant profiteering at the expense of the taxpayer and, in any other circumstances of allowances and benefits – could be construed as fraud (no doubt Jason can advise you on that).

    I expect to read, in the coming days, that you have decided to pay back the outrageous claims on your main home in Arundel as they are, by any measure, outside both the letter and spirit of the Green Book definition of “expenses necessarily incurred in staying overnight away from their main home for the purpose of performing their parliamentary duties”.

    The sackcloth and ashes wearing and mea culpa in Arundel High Street this weekend must remain a voluntary choice for you.”

    I have since had a holding response from his PA but no explanation as to why he thinks it’s OK to gouge us for a “second home” that’s actually IN HIS SODDING CONSTITUENCY!

    This story may have a mildly homophobic undertone (it’s the Torygraph after all) but that doesn’t excuse this albeit gay Tory shafting us with the bill for his constituency home.

    He is elected (not by me, I hasten to add) to represent Arundel and South Downs. All he seems happy to do is live in London with his partner and pitch up once in a while in the constituency.

    He is a thoroughly ring wing Tory – which makes it all the more hypocritical that he’s bilking all of us for his lovely Arundel home – which most people in his constituency earning average incomes couldn’t even hope to afford (although they could if someone else was paying ALL the interest each month).

    Silly silly right wing man.

  13. Andy & Steve 15 May 2009, 11:40am

    At least we know now why Mr Herbert got the house in Arundel…. hubby just happens to be a top flight property lawyer….

    Can you smell the stench yet?

  14. thebritishlibrary 15 May 2009, 10:17pm

    There may be a case for reviewing levels of allowances, whether you should be able to claim mortgage interest etc, but while this is permitted, it would not be right to apply one rule to married couples and another to gay couples. The telegraph does seems to have picked on Herbert and bradshaw (guilty or not) because they have civil partners. This is disappointing, and a worrying trend, I hardly condone the actions of the Mps, but we have to be careful of certain responses.

  15. I am also gay, but that the MBs’ expenses scandal is an outrage for them all. What we must do is NOT let extreme candidates like the BNP take hold.

  16. Loveable Lefty 16 May 2009, 4:32pm

    I hold no particular brief for any Tories, and regard gay ones Tories with particular suspiscion, but it seems faitly obvious that the Telegraph has been pursuing its own agenda, part of which involves judging Civil Partnerships differently to marriages.

    Just one more reason to support full gay marriage.

    More generally, while there may be a handful of genuinely corrupt MPs, a lot of this is cobblers.

    MPs are expected to work rediculously long hours – mostly doing case work which should be handled by councillors if they had real power – so unless you live within the M25 you need two homes to do your job efficiently.

    I should add that I have no axe to grind never having been represented by an MP of my choice.

  17. Andy & Steve 18 May 2009, 1:19pm

    Loveable Lefty – “rediculously (sic) long hours”

    House Sitting Hours:

    Monday: 2.30pm-10.30pm
    Tuesday: 2.30pm-10.30pm
    Wednesday: 11.30am-7.30pm
    Thursday: 10.30am-6.30pm
    Sitting Friday: 9.30am-3pm

    Not really….. and why can’t they do as the rest of us do – work on the train home and at home ….

    Show me one other job that would subsidise a second home just because you live a little bit away from London. Herbert has been claiming FULL Mortgage interest on his CONSTITUENCY home (you know, the place he was elected to REPRESENT) and is, therefore, apparently happier in London AWAY from his costituents.

    That’s great for him, but hey – sod off and find a London seat, Tory Boy.

    Why the hell should people on minimum wage subsidise a man who earns ten time more than they in a £490,000 he apparently only regards as a second and therefore TEMPORARY home ?

    This has bugger all to do with homophobia – Herbert is the one that is behaving differently than a married couple – HE’S GOUGING THE TAXPAYER FOR 100% OF THE MORTGAGE INTEREST even though he owns only 50% of the property.

  18. Andy & Steve 18 May 2009, 2:15pm

    To put it another way….

    Two guys buy a house together 50/50.

    One guy loses his job and claims mortgage interest payments from the DSS for 100% of the interest payable.

    Result: Prosecution for benefit fraud and likely prison sentence.

    Please tell me how Herbert is ethically OK to charge taxpayers 100% of the mortgage interest whilst only being responsible for 50%?

    I note on his website that he’s pleading forgiveness for other MPs but not for himself. It’s evidently perfectly fine with David Camoron to charge taxpayers for a “second home” that is actually your constituency home because Herbert states “as it’s always been clear that we spend more nights a week in London than in West Sussex”.

    As I said before – sod off to a London seat then or don’t take the pee pee buying a lavish home in the constituency just charge out a night in a local hotel on the very very odd occasions you can be bothered to visit….

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