Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Sir Christopher Kelly takes the wheels off Levitt's gravy train

Details of the much awaited report into MPs expenses by Sir Christopher Kelly have started to emerge before it is published next week. And the revelations should give Tom Levitt cause for concern (that is if he seriously thinks he stands a chance of being re-elected). The recommendations so far revealed would affect Levitt as follows:

Second homes can only be rented in future, and not have the mortgage interest costs covered: as we know, Levitt has always claimed for his second home in Lambeth. Under the new proposals, if he remained an MP he'd have to sell that home within 4 years.

A ban on MPs employing family members: Levitt employs his wife, Teresa, as his 'Parliamentary Assistant' and also his stepdaughter, Victoria Fletcher, as a part-time junior secretary. If Mrs Levitt is as good at her job as Tom insists*, we wish her luck in her search for employment with another MP when Tom is dumped by voters in the High Peak next year.

One thing that won't change, according to the Telegraph, is the limited scope of the ongoing Legg inquiry in failing to examine the capital gains tax dodge that Levitt has taken advantage of. This is supposedly the doing of the new Speaker, John Bercow, who took advantage of the tax-dodge himself. Whether the Kelly report closes that loophole is another matter that should concern Levitt, as we pointed out last week.

In the meantime, there is a meeting of the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) this Friday (30th October), and we've no doubt that the capital gains tax issue will be on the agenda. Councillor Anthony McKeown, the secretary of the CLP and previously a Levitt loyalist, has already openly criticised Levitt over his behaviour regarding the Legg letter, which is presumably a bad omen for Levitt if not a move towards a Putsch. Will the CLP have the bottle to consider deselecting Levitt, as we have called for them to consider before, or do they wish to share his fate come the election next year? We'll see.

*when this link no longer works, try this screen grab

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    The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

    - George Orwell, Animal Farm