Sunday, 29 November 2009

Kevan Jones, Labour MP for North Durham.

Mr. Jones has done an excellent job of furthering his political career since being elected in June 2001, voting with the party whip on almost every occasion. He was rewarded for his loyalty in October 2008 when he was promoted to Under-Secretary for the Ministry of Defence. However, has his loyalty to the Labour party and the advancement of his career properly served the wishes of his constituents? Has he voted the way YOU would have voted if you sat in the House of Commons? Has he done, as all elected Members of the House are duty bound to do, put his constituency before the party? Thanks to www.theyworkforyou.com we can all find out!

With regards to his loyalty to the party, he has only 'rebelled' and voted against the party 20 times since 2001. From 2001-2005 he voted 914 times (73%) and only rebelled in 11 (1.2%). From 2005-present he has voted 950 times (82%) and rebelled 9 times (0.9%). According to www.publicwhip.org:

"Each political party has whips who try to persuade their members to vote for the party line. In return for loyalty, the part promotes them into desirable jobs and supports their re-election campaigns at the General Election"

If we now look at Mr. Jones history of posts held since 2001, I think we can see that he is held in high regard by the party whip. His high vote attendance and voting with the party whip, therefore less for his constituents, the higher he climbed the political ladder. You also have to wonder, if he is spending the lion's share of his time voting in the House (73 and 85%), when is he actually doing anything for his constituents?

Member, Draft Civil Contingencies Bill (Joint Committee) July 2001 - Jun 2004
Member, Defence Comittee Jun 2004 - Jan 2009
Member, Administration Committee Jul 2005 - Jan 2009
Member, Armed Forces Bill Committee Dec 2005 - Nov 2008
Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence Oct 2008
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Veterans), Ministry of Defence Jul 2009 - Present.

So there you have it, Mr, Jones has been a good boy and got well out of it in the process (Just how well we will discuss later). A process that lends itself to a cabinet full of gold-plated nodding 'yes-men' to the party leadership. So how did he actually vote on some key issues? Did the party line represent his constituents wishes? Or were they disregarded in loyalty to Tony and Gordon?

Very Strongly FOR the invasion of Iraq, Very Strongly AGAINST an investigation into the Iraq 'war'. AGAINST a UN resolution limiting justification for invasion. As I write, the Iraq investigation is underway and a former Ambassador has stated that there was legal, but not legitimate reason, as there was evidence Saddam had dismantled his 'WMD' 10 days before the invasion started. FOR government backing of airstrikes on Afghanistan.

AGAINST New Clause 25 of Section 53 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. This would have provided stiffer penalties to anyone employing a prostitute where they know, or ought to know, that the person has been trafficked, suffers violence threats or intimidation to perform services from a pimp, or uses prostitution as a means to aquire drugs. I would have voted FOR a bill that protects vulnerable people from sexual slavery and exploitation, wouldn't you?

AGAINST Ghurka settlement rights.

AGAINST Fuel duty being balanced against the price of crude oil. A bill was put before parliament whereby Fuel Duty would have decreased when oil prices rose, sharing the cost between the consumer and the treasury. It is suggested this would have made Diesel 5p/litre cheaper at the pump in 2008. Doubtless you do not consider the price of fuel when you have it on expenses.....

AGAINST Remote Rural fuel discount scheme. This bill made provision for people who lived in remote areas and relied on personal transport for life essentials (basic foods) to reclaim a portion of their fuel duty. Apparently Labour don't care that some people spend £5 on fuel to get £10 worth of bread, milk, eggs etc.

FOR increases in fuel and alchohol duty. Let's not risk that treasury income decreasing, they already can't afford the debt Labour has racked up, never mind a decrease in earnings! We might have to cope with falling wages and loss of income, but they don't!

AGAINST an investigation into the arrest of Damien Green. Oh no, we have not forgotten THAT one!

AGAINST the abolition of the 'John Lewis' list, AGAINST a transparent parliament, Very Strongly FOR ID cards, Very Strongly FOR Labour's anti-terror laws which allow people to be held for 90 days without charge.

On to expenses. I have already mentioned the 'John Lewis' list, which allowed MP's to claim for the cost of furniture for their second home. For the period 2001 - 2008 Mr. Jones has claimed £935,329 in expenses, on top of a not inconsiderable estimated income of £600,000 for the same period.

His 'service' this decade, not counting this final 2009-2010 period, has cost in excess of £1,500,000. As a constituent, I do not think I have recieved value for money. In 2010, Mr Jones must go.

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