A tough question here.
The Mail on Sunday stirred the pot this week by pointing out that Cruddas claims for a second house near central London (in Notting Hill).
Last year his claim for Additional Costs Allowance was close to the maximum (looking at the claims over the past few years, here it would appear that they vary along the same lines as interest rates and were lower before).
Derek Conway claims slightly more in total – and has done so in most of the past few years – not only for the London pad, but also for travel expenses. Of course, the main difference would seem to be that while Conway employs his wife and son (and the son is supposed to be working on a degree at the other end of the country), no-one has yet accused Cruddas of that.
This does shake my confidence in Cruddas a little. However, the fact that he sends his kids to a Catholic school does not particularly (I knew he was a Catholic, and that he supported faith-based schools which I may disagree with him on, but he is open and honest about it).
At the end of it, the fact that Cruddas is representing himself as more of a ‘Party’ candidate than as just another minister tied to New Labour is an advantage.
The advert on the right stays. For now.