Long before the campaigning for the 2010 General Election got under way there were persistent but credible rumours circulating that a South Yorkshire MP was having great difficulty explaining his expense claims.
Enormous pressure was brought to bear for him to stand down and not to contest his seat. A replacement was already said to have been lined up for the Labour NEC to impose upon the local Party. Alas this damage limitation exercise never got to be implemented due to the arrogance of the sitting MP concerned and the incompetence of the Wakefield based Regional Labour Party.
There is much ‘unfinished business’ of this nature still to become public about MPs past behaviour regarding their expenses arrangements. Previous postings have criticised both Kevin Barron and Denis MacShane in this respect and for their complete refusal to account for any of their past behaviour. This is in flagrant breach of their leaders own instruction to them to be transparent about their use of public money, before the election, not afterwards.
I was disappointed when Eric Illsley was unmasked as the MP in question, but not, unfortunately, surprised.
The special kind of arrogance and greed, that this grubby little episode will end up uncovering, is endemic in the political life of South Yorkshire. Dominated still by Labour, definitely not ‘New’, but an amalgam of those with a very traditional ‘Old’ Labour agenda but now devoid of any principle or concept of public service.
Labour Groups on the Councils of South Yorkshire now act as self perpetuating elites, with their own interests coming before that of their constituents or the ‘people’.