Money and Politics II

The local press have been giving Laura Moffatt a lot of hassle recently about her expenses, and the nearby Tories have not been avoiding the opportunity to crow about it.

However, as Skuds shows, there are two sides to the debate about the cost of someone’s work – the output. For example, Laura has voted in 89% of Commons divisions. That sounds a bit low to you?

Well, Nicholas Soames, who we remember fondly as our MP before 1997 (when he agreed with cuts at Crawley Hospital in a way that Laura has never done), manages 46% in his new capacity as MP for Mid-Sussex. Francis Maude barely manages to represent the voters of Horsham a third of the number of times that he could. Both claim lower travel expenses than Laura Moffatt, but should we be surprised if they don’t bother to exercise their votes, and so don’t need to go up to Westminster as often as more committed parliamentarians.

Why are these MPs absent so much though? Could it be that they have something better to do? Oh, it turns out that Soames and Maude are pretty active outside their jobs as MPs. Seems that Soames has five other jobs and Maude has eight. They presumably are spending some of the time that could be used for representing their constituents out earning money that they don’t need (the MPs salary is fairly generous). If they aren’t doing what they were elected to do, no wonder they don’t generate as much of an expenses bill. However, despite the fact that Maude votes about two-fifths as often as our MP, his expenses are proportionally much higher.

Laura costs more in expenses, but on a per-vote basis, Skuds’ figures show that Maude is far worse value for money.

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