Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Telegraph's Andrew George story was codswallop

You only have to read Andrew George's response on his website:


The Telegraph clearly didn’t want a number of critical facts to get in the way of their story:

Fact 1: We purchased nearly 1/3 of the flat ourselves and bought half of the furniture and fittings without making a claim from taxpayers' money.

Fact 2: My daughter was living in a student hall of residence elsewhere in London throughout the period of the claim the Telegraph refers to. Before that she lived elsewhere in London - not in my flat.

Fact 3: They didn't tell their readers that they sent a snooper around to my flat for the whole morning but failed to get a picture of my daughter leaving it.

Fact 4: I have long argued that MPs should not be able to "profit" from the allowance regime and that we should be required to sell our flats back at cost and give back furniture so that Parliament could build up a portfolio of furnished flats to rent back to MPs.

Fact 5: As I own 1/3 of the flat anyway I believe that it is reasonable for me to allow any member of my family to visit or stay in the spare room at any time.

At the time of the one piece of evidence the Telegraph built their story on - the receipt for house contents insurance - my daughter was living in student halls of residence. That information was given to the Telegraph but they chose to present a story implying that I only bought the flat for my daughter. Before she was in her hall of residence she lived elsewhere in London - not in the flat.

In recent months she has come to live with me in the flat and I hope that she will continue to for as long as possible - certainly for a few more weeks until she returns to Cornwall.As the Telegraph discovered to their disappointment, she doesn't stay at my flat all the time - hence the failure of the paper's snooper to get the picture of her at or leaving the flat yesterday, as they obviously hoped.

Frankly - especially as my wife and I own 1/3 of the property - there is nothing wrong with any member of my family coming to share the flat with me and to stay in the spare room for as long as they wish. Many MPs confide in me that they have members of their family staying with them. From now on my family will come and stay with me at the flat more not less. We should encourage families to be together.

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