Thursday, November 05, 2009

Nadine Dorries and the Mystery of the First Home

OK, I admit it - I am a bit of an Agatha Christie addict. When I broke my leg I amused myself by watching endless episodes of Poirot. I like nothing more than a good mystery, with just enough of a hint of the solution to keep you guessing. In Nadine Dorries' case - its not so much guessing, it's more - do you really think we are that stupid? Like the culprit with the smoking gun crying "it wasn't me guv" - the hole she has dug for herself just gets deeper.

Wednesday night I missed the News at 10 piece about her. Here is this poor unfortunate MP travelling home to her SECOND home and complaining about it! She travelled all the way to her constituency - arriving home at gone 1am. Yes, she gets on the train in the morning with her constituents but they don't have to come home at the same ungodly hour as she. I do have some sympathy, I also often find myself arriving home at gone 1am which isn't that pleasant, especially this time of year on cold and dirty First Capital Connect trains, but I don't have an alternative.

Now, maybe I am missing something. There are some MPs whose second homes are near Westminster - this is because their first home is in their constituency, so that when they have a late sitting they can hit the sack relatively quickly. There are other MPs whose first homes are near Westminster. This is because their second homes are in their constituencies and so that they can not only hit the sack relatively quickly, but have their families with them when they are carrying out their parliamentary duties. Frankly, I don't care which way they do it, but whichever way, there is a logic.

Not so with Ms Dorries. To hear her bleating about getting home so late, when the only reason she gets home so late is because she has (unless she has changed the arrangement since it all came out in May) chosen to designate her first home as being absolutely nowhere near either her constituency or Westminster, beggars belief. Does she take the good people of Mid Beds for complete fools? Does she think they will all just accept that it is OK for her to take advantage of an antiquated system that effectively allows her to have a holiday home? She has apologised, but what has changed? If she is so concerned about arriving home late at night she could do what others do. Jacqui Smith got rightly lambasted for designating her sister's home as her main home - but at least she could argue she spent more nights there (which I thought was the definition). Nadine Dorries firstly tried to keep secret where her first home was, even admitting that she only spent the odd weekend and holiday there. By no stretch of the imagination is that a first home. So, to coin a phrase, you can't have your cake and eat it. If you want to get home at a Godly hour, then you need to use the second home allowance as it was surely intended. Otherwise as the saying goes - put up or shut up!.............Although, from the perspective of her prospective opponent maybe that is bad advice - carry on dear, carry on!!!

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