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The nannygate allegations

Michael Crick | 18:42 UK time, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Caroline Spelman, the Shadow Communities Secretary, has been ordered by the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee to pay back £9,600 to the Parliamentary authorities.

This is for claims for money from her secretarial allowance in the period 1997-99 which she "inadvertently" used to pay her nanny.

The commissioner concludes that there was no evidence that it was a calculated breach.


  • Comment number 1.


    Against all the other amounts, she might as well keep it.

  • Comment number 2.

    In other arenas it is often said that "ignorance of the law is no excuse". That seems to be the line the police and the courts hold.

    For a politician it appears that ignorance or otherwise of the law can be an excuse as long as it is "not calculated".

    It is becoming more typical of life in the UK - one law for some and another law for others.

  • Comment number 3.

    Has Ms Spelman been up before the "Beak" for any financial transgressions ?

    If not, show her a yellow card and let's get on with life.

    However Caroline will have to watch her P's & Q's in the future.

    The "press" will be keeping a beady eye on her.

  • Comment number 4.

    Pathetic - anything to take the heat off NuLab over the real issues, it would seem.

    Or was this thread posted in the hope of generating some sympathy for the "official" unionist instead of the ersatz NuLab variety for a change?

  • Comment number 5.

    As you have yourself pointed out: "The commissioner concludes that there was no evidence that it was a calculated breach". The money having been paid back, that should be an end of the matter as far as I'm concerned.

    As newsjock says at #3 above, let's get on with life.

  • Comment number 6.

    In light of all else going on... down... an interesting set of priorities, but, I agree, still worth noting. They are all at it, if some perhaps a tad more than others.

    Still wondering why the previous attempt appeared and then got sidelined with so few getting a chance to notice and/or comment:

    Maybe the timing was felt to be inappropriate to make top news out of a forthcoming decision?

    Much better to wait for it to actually come out, and then make the most of it.

  • Comment number 7.


    I have posted, ad nauseam: our entire political system delivers precisely the 'wrong stuff' into governance. When it comes to politics the poor in spirit are, indeed, blessed - but we are cursed.

    EMBARRASS YOUR MP (dual 'loyalty')
    DEMAND 'QUANTIFIED ABSTENTION' (none of the above)

  • Comment number 8.

    #1 - "she might as well keep it"

    I disagree. She was not entitled to this money and she has to pay it back. If any of us had done this there would also be some sort of penalty to pay, and rightly so, as a punishment and as a deterrent, even if it wasn't "a calculated breach".

    The trouble with the system we have is that is no down-side for MPs, ministers or Lords. If they do anything wrong and get away with it then they've gained, if they don't get away with it then the worst that happens is that they pay back what they weren't entitled to and they might have to say a few words of apology. But words don't cost anything. Until we introduce a system in which wrongdoing is properly punished then MPs, ministers and Lords will carry on just looking after themselves while the country goes to ruin.

    But who's going to introduce a new system? It has to be Parliament of course. So it's not going to happen.

  • Comment number 9.

    A bit of a non story this. Cricks investigation and reporting of this matter is no surprise as he is a Tory hater.
    As he said himself, no one from the benches are saying to much as they are all a bit suspect. I want crick to investigate any financial irregularities from other MPs and he can start with Lord Mandy, as, we all know, is bent as a 9 bob note.

    I have this strange ability, i can look into the eyes of anyone, in person or through the tube, and instantly get into their soul, a hightened sense of intuition if you will, and gauge a persons character instantly and all the MPs that i heve seen, the only one who has passed my congruent, decency and honourable man/women test is that Labour MP Frank Field..the rest are all charlatens and crooks. Hazel Blears is one i can't figure out though, she's either a fool, a nutter, or an agent of satan...maybe all three!

  • Comment number 10.

    TOUR DE FORCE (#9)

    Oh Cookie! How did you get away with all that truth? While you are on a roll, you might explain irony to midiplay (#8).

  • Comment number 11.

    Baz, like Willy Wonker, never give away your formula, but to give you a frank Carson often said:

    its the way you tell em :)

  • Comment number 12.

    I read that she had been found guilty of paying a higher hourly rate (at nanny rates) than parliamentary secretary rates and had to pay back the difference.

    So I would have thought that this was evidence that she was employing the person as a nanny rather than as a parliamentary secretary.

    But the Committee claimed there was no evidence she knowingly employed the person as a nanny. Sounds fishy.

    Michael Crick - we haven't heard much from you recently. Hope you are well.

  • Comment number 13.

    Thank heaven that's over. Can we get round to the Home Secretary now?


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