I reproduce below MacShane’s contribution to the debate on the £2billion of cuts just announced, to the pre-election gimmick give aways that had been announced in the months, weeks and days leading up to the election. I have already commented on the cynicism involved in these when none of them had been budgeted for nor would have survived post election even if Labour had won!
Commons Hansard. 17 Jun 2010 : Column 1048
Mr Denis MacShane (Rotherham) (Lab):
“In 1979, the then Government started destroying South Yorkshire’s industry, and the right hon. Gentleman is truly an heir of that Government. Does he realise that the name of liberal democracy must hang its head in shame in Sheffield, now that Sheffield Forgemasters has no future? His right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister can now send back his Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority travel allowances, because he will never be welcome in Sheffield or South Yorkshire again.”
This largely synthetic rant by MacShane at first listening appeared to have nothing to tell us about him that we didn’t already know. Thanks to the BBC however for repeating it ad nauseam, in their Parliamentary coverage it gradually dawned on me that there might be more here of significance than immediately apparent.
He started quite calmly but gradually got more excited until he explosively spat out the words “IPSA travel allowances” and finished with an angry flourish aimed at Clegg, the Deputy PM and Member for the Hallam Constituency, in Sheffield.
Firstly, he would be well advised to check his facts before making statements such as, “now that Sheffield Forgemasters has no future”, alarmist nonsense of course, but potentially damaging nonetheless, if it becomes believed, as a result of this little intemperate, but now recorded, piece of stupidity. MacShane has a duty to rectify the impression that these words convey without delay.
Secondly, is Denis a little upset about the new allowances regime perhaps? He has certainly been unusually careful to stay out of the limelight on this area of debate, currently raging at Westminster, as greedy Members find out that they will not be able to get away with it in the future to anything like the extent they did before.
We already know that Denis has unfinished business to be held to account for, regarding his use of our money in the past. His previous accounting has been lamentable, apparently designed to conceal rather than reveal the true position. The questions that remain concern similar accusations that now four Labour members, including one sitting MP, Eric Illsley are undergoing criminal justice proceedings currently.
I don’t need to remind readers that this is a very serious position for a sitting Member to be in and should be remedied by the only reasonable response in current circumstances, full and open disclosure!
MacShane must now, if he is to retain any credibility in Rotherham or even be welcome here, openly account for his expenditure and put this issue to bed once and for all.
The alternative is for further barrages of questions based on detailed study of the facts that are in the public domain, further erosion of confidence, inevitably resulting in serious attempts to recall him, as soon as that right is available to his constituents. Already angry at Labours betrayal over the last 13 years, constituents want proper answers to their perfectly reasonable questions and will not give up on this issue until the have satisfaction.
It is not rocket science that Denis is being asked to do, it is not a difficult or even particularly arduous task to perform. Locally he even has a model to follow, John Healey, the Labour Member for Wentworth & Dearne has been publishing his information for years and I am sure would advise him if he needs help.
Worth keeping an eye on:
Kevin Barron’s appreciation site. Politics in the Rother Valley