Labour are cautiously upping their attacks on Miller because they cannot escape the fact that it was a Labour chaired committee that watered down the Standards Commissioner’s report. Once again the Barron of the Troughers’ Union has ridden to the protection of an MP. Not only has Kevin Barron recently blocked attempts by IPSA to reform the expenses structure, his own history is hardly a shining beacon of purity. Thanks to Sir Kevin, MPs can still claim:
- A £15 evening meal when Parliament sits after 19:30
- Hospitality tea and biscuits
- Hotels before 01:00
- Taxis home before 23:00
- Contents insurance for a second home
- Installing a TV in a second home
He blocked IPSA’s attempts to scrap the lot last year.
Back in 2009, Guido pointed out to Barron’s face that he was not fit to lead the Standards Committee given his own tendency to overclaim:
He called Guido a very rude word after the TV ding-dong but did nothing to change his ways. After selling his taxpayer funded home for for a £500,000 profit, Barron began charging the taxpayer £1,500-a-month to rent a three-bedroom London home (also called “contriving a tenancy” by benefit fraud investigators) owned by shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett. Last week Trickett was trying to clamp down on MPs’ outside earnings, but presumably not income channelled from public money.
To top it all off, Barron also employs his wife Andrea part time in his office. Which is nice little £15,000 boost for the family income.
You can see why Barron did not go public during the threats from Miller and her lawyers – the MP who marks other MPs’ homework is a trougher of the highest order. Labour are struggling with this story because they were in cahoots to undermine Kathryn Hudson. Barron could have blown the whistle at any time during the last year. Guido would never suggest the gong that Sir Kev got during the negotiations had anything to do with his unwillingness to rock the boat.