There’s no shortage of stories about MPs taking the electorate for a financial ride at the moment, but just below the parapet are those who have not claimed for anything absurd and who, legally, are squeaky clean. Their moral position is, however, less secure.
Everyone should take a look at their local MP and see what he or she has been up to. To pick on one randomly, just look at David Wilshire, the Tory MP for Spelthorne, on the Surrey/London border. A time-serving backbencher, he has achieved little in terms of career (which is probably better for his constituents) although proved an adequate local representative. His various records for presenting questions and speaking are below average. He is on no select committees.
But despite representing a borough within 45 minutes of Westminster by train (which many of his constituents use to commute) he annually claims the maximum of £23,000 for his second home. His annual costs are higher than any other MP in Surrey.
Wilshire has three homes. One in Spelthorne, another in Westminster and a third in Somerset. That’s his right, but why on earth should we pay for him to do so, and then also pay more than £7000 a year for him in travel costs?
Last year, career politician Wilshire cost voters more than £160,000 on top of his generous salary. His majority is safe, although slipping, and, like many other MPs across the country, he probably thinks that means he doesn’t have to worry about a few disgruntled voters.
So far he has not commented, presumably because, like so many of his colleagues, he sees no reason to have to explain anything to the ordinary voter. But come the next election, the likes of Wilshire will come under the spotlight and his silence will no longer be tolerated. Unless he can come up with some good explanations, he and his kind might find themselves with three homes but no job.