Monday 20 April 2009

Get real on MPs "holidays

Out at lunchtime for a walk and see the Standard bills are blasting "12 week holidays for MPs" at the public.
Come on. Get real. There's plenty of places you can argue for reform in Parliament. And trust me I can get really worked up about outrageous expenses claims. But this story about MPs "holidays" is rubbish as parliamentary correspondents know - because they work in Parliament and they have studied it a little. So it is totally disengenous to run this headline year after year.
MPs also work in their constituencies - so when the House is up, they are not on "holiday". On holiday suggests they are heading for the south of France on a yacht. In fact, you will find most of them back in their constituency office dealing with a flood of daily emails and queries from the public about the local loos, hospital or whatever it is that is the subject of the moment.
Let's all get a bit more truthful about this, and stopping conning the public with this kind of mis-selling trotted out every quiet news day as the summer approaches. Yes they will take a holiday, probably two weeks like the rest of us, if we are lucky.
If you are a political correspondent you have probably spent some time in a MP's office or with one, I would hope, and will know there is a lot of correspondence to deal and a lot of constituency events they are expected to attend.
So come on, Evening Standard and others, stop pretending, and deal with the real issues.

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