NOW that Tommy McAvoy's expenses are published, I can see why he was initially so keen to fight this!
His current strategy seems to be to brazen it out, claim he always wanted to declare his expenses and is keen to derail the gravy-train that he has been riding. He even has a go at the civil servants handed the poisoned chalice of trying to keep greedy MPs in check: what a nerve!
In the last four years, our MP has never "earned" less than around £80,000 per annum (current salary over £104,000), an astronomical sum to most, yet in that same period Mr. McAvoy claimed £15,555 on expenses for FOOD! Are we to believe that he would not normally eat if he didn't have to live in London for part of the week? An unemployed person over the age of 25 gets £64.30 a week to buy everything beyond rent and council tax.
Every single week for the last four years, Mr McAvoy has claimed around £10 more than that (average £74.78) merely for FOOD despite his massive salary. Our MP won’t even buy his subsidised House of Commons meal out of his own pocket!
Mr McAvoy says he was instructed by Parliament to transfer his main home address from Burnside to London. In fact, the instructions to MPs state: "The location of your main home will normally be a matter of fact. If you have more than one home, your main home will normally be the one where you spend more nights than any other.” Firstly, I don't see any compulsion there, and secondly, the same document indicates that claims for food are acceptable (at least in the eyes of those in the Westminster Club) if an MP is staying away from his/her main home. If Mr McAvoy claims London as his main home, then he surely can't claim food on expenses!
It also raises the question as to how Mr McAvoy can claim £1130 a month for mortgage interest on a house in Burnside while also claiming over £2100 a year in service charges (and land rental?) for his London flat. That is surely double-dipping and not only morally questionable but legally too! Mr McAvoy's claims for council tax are also somewhat strange, but difficult to fathom due to the lack of detail in the claims information.
The expenses scandal cuts across all the main parties that will be looking for people's support on June 4. Tories, Lib Dems, Labour and SNP: some claim for dredging the moat, others for interior design, some for expensive home entertainment equipment and others for paid-up mortgages.
Rather than voting for anyone representing this lot, why not consider a party that has a track record of its elected representatives living not on the inflated wages of career politicians, but on the average wage of a skilled worker? The Scottish Socialist Party list led by former MSP Colin Fox is such an option.