Monday, 27 August 2012

Andrew Bridgen compares himself to David Taylor - the evidence

This week our local MP, Andrew Bridgen, has been in the news for his earnings outside of parliament.

In an article entitled 'I give voters value says county 'rich list' MP' the Leicester Mercury reported yesterday that in addition to his Westminster salary of £65,738 plus expenses Andrew also earns a substantial £7,773 a month as non-executive chairman of his company, AB Produce.

In return for working six hours a month chairing meetings and 'taking a few phone calls' Andrew earns nearly £100,000 a year on top of his pay as an MP, putting him in the top 20 highest earners in parliament.

Now some may question, quite rightly I should add, how can Andrew possibly understand the lives of those residents in North West Leicestershire struggling to make ends meet?

I do not believe he possibly can but ultimately that is a matter for the electorate to decide and for now as long as Andrew pays the appropriate tax on his income, which I am sure he does, then he is doing nothing legally wrong.

Where I do have major problems with Andrew's interview comments however is when he goes on to compare himself favorably against North West Leicestershire's previous MP, the late David Taylor.

Andrew says of David:

'He has set the bar high but I have looked at David's casework load in his last year and I do more.'

Now I must be clear that David was a personal hero of mine, indeed my first contact with David was when he undertook some casework on behalf of my eldest son, and that makes Andrew's self comparison with him, to me at least, appear somewhat crass.

It's not only an ill-advised comment it also doesn't convey the full picture.

If Andrew really wants to compare his work with David, let's look at the wider issues.

  • According to www.theyworkforyou.com in his last year David spoke in 231 parliamentary debates, in the last year Andrew has spoken in 85.
  • In his last year David received answers to 164 written questions. Andrew has received 41.
  • In his last year David voted in 87.69% of votes in parliament. Andrew has voted in 77.96%
  • In 2009, according to the staunchly conservative Sunday Telegraph, David was named in the top ten MP's for giving value to constituents*. Andrew has not been.
  • In 2007 David was voted 'Commons Backbencher of the Year' by his fellow MP's for his work as "an indefatigable campaigner, constant attender and independent–minded". I don't believe Andrew has been awarded this honour, perhaps he can let me know if I am mistaken.

Even Andrew's comment about doing more casework is open to scrutiny. According to one ex-parliamentary staffer I have spoken with an analysis or comparison of case work is somewhat difficult to undertake.

Because casework is not a matter of public record it is impossible to say that Andrew is comparing like with like.

For example a simple statistic relating to new caseload may not include long standing open cases or not reflect how, for example, a 100 signature petition is registered. Is it one piece of casework or 100?

I have no idea how history will eventually record Andrew's contribution to our community but I have no doubt that David Taylor was a man many many people in North West Leicestershire greatly admired and a man that most of us in public office can only aspire to emulate.






7 comments:

  1. To say you work harder than your predecessor is definitely crass let alone one of David Taylor's standing. An own goal by Andrew Bridgen.

    On the issue of weather somebody who gets paid so much money not understanding those struggling to make ends meet could be applied to the majority of the Labour front bench as well as the Governments.

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  2. Oops, wrong weather used in 2nd para 5th word. Should read "whether" #MyBad

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  3. Andrew applied to join the 1922 committe earlier this year. This is a committee elected by fellow MPs to recognise backbenchers who opinions and work are highly vaLued by their peers. Andrew failed to make the grade and was refused.
    Needless to say David Taylor was elected as was Heather wheeler our other local MP

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  4. Anonymous,

    The 1922 Committee is a purely Conservative committee I think you are being disingenuous when you say that Labour MP David Taylor was elected to it.

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  5. But he (DT) was elected backbencher of the year! Note - I had 2 letters from Andrew Bridgen this morning about the Post Office thanking me for contacting him - I didn't! If that's how he counts his casework you can understand it.

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  6. Never met Andrew but have spoken to him by email on a number of occasions. Did not see him during the 2010 election campaign, did not vote for him on that occasion either. Always remember stopping for a chat when he was canvassing in Greenhill Rd, a very good MP who I used as an example of what being an MP was about when I taught political subjects at college. Not so much a hero as an excellent model of an MP!! Mr B? No comparison!!

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  7. David Taylor served his time representing the people of NW Leicestershire by being a parish & district councillor before an MP. Mr Bridgen as gone too far too quick

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