Keen Green activist Keith Kondakor has for the second year running pulled his fine-tooth comb through the County Council’s member expenses. Last year he doggedly pursued Martin Heatley over the irregularities in his very large expenses claims (first class travel, curiously long journeys between home and Shire Hall, double claimed journeys). This year he’s obtained via a FOI request another year’s worth of claims by Warwickshire County Councillors.
Along with a very expensive hotel break (£2,500 for five councillors to spend three days in Bournemouth!) and I’m sure a few other inconsistencies, there’s one particular scandal.
It seems that Cllr Barry Lobbett is being told to repay over £600 he claimed for travelling around to do election campaigning. This is clearly a breach of the rules of councillors’ expenses, because election campaigns are not council business. I expect Keith Kondakor will be pressing for more action than just getting the money back and a symbolic rap on the knuckles, as happened with Heatley.
However, there emerges another question. What about Cllr Lobbett’s notification for election expenses? By law all candidates have to declare how much has been spent on their campaigns. So did he include this cost? Because if he didn’t, that would be another matter. If it puts the total over the allowed limit, then he’s in a serious breach of the rules.
June 19, 2011 at 21:48
Looking at the link Keith has kindly sent to me on facebook : http://www.greennuneaton.org.uk/wex/kkwp/?page_id=94 , I can see that the claims are from February 2010 up to the General Election (also local elections around there I think). The notes on the claims are for travel to the candidates photo call, for canvassing and for leafleting.
The results in the area where Cllr Lobbett represents were very close in the General Election. I’m still not sure if there’s a case that the 2010 elections and Cllr Lobbett’s (or any other candidates’) election expenses statements are faulty. But if that is the case, then this would be pretty serious.
Quite why the council paid these out is another thing. Don’t they read the forms before shelling out our cash?