I think that the fussing about MPs expenses is somewhat disproportionate. A silly ‘expenses’ system was introduced under Thatcher, in lieu of a recommended pay rise, specifically to disguise the fact that a pay rise had in effect been granted. The system was a heffalump trap, into which a number of MPs fell. The Telegraph prodded them with sticks for months. Faith in Parliament, as a consequence, has been undermined.
I appreciate that this is not a hugely popular view. However, I have a certain sympathy for some MPs who have been caught up in this affair.
But what can we say of David Wilshire?
Mr Wilshire…was forced to resign after paying more than £100,000 in expenses to his own company…
The Tory MP used his office expenses to write to all his constituents defending his claims and attacking The Daily Telegraph.
Voters in his Spelthorne constituency were surprised to receive a two-page letter, written on Commons notepaper and sent using taxpayer-funded pre-paid envelopes, in which he said that he was “devastated” at having to stand down.
A voter who emailed to protest at Mr Wilshire’s behaviour received the reply in which Mr Wilshire compared MPs whose claims were exposed during the expenses scandal to Holocaust victims.
Mr Wilshire wrote: “The witch hunt against MPs in general will undermine democracy. It will weaken parliament – handing yet more power to governments. Branding a whole group of people as undesirables led to Hitler’s gas chambers.”
Mr Wilshire knows all about “branding a whole group of people as undesirables“.
Wilshire introduced Section 28 as an amendment to the Local Government Bill at the committee stage. The amendment made it illegal for local authorities to “promote homosexuality or … promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality”.
The ban was eventually reversed by Parliament in 2003. Mr Wilshire was one of 76 MPs to vote against the repeal.
In 2000 Wilshire voted to prohibit teachers from introducing steps to prevent bullying on the grounds of homosexuality in a later Local Government Bill.
Mr Wilshire voted against homosexual couples being allowed to adopt children in 2002, against the Civil Partnership Bill of 2004, which granted a legal relationship for same-sex couples and against Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) in 2007, which outlawed discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities, services, education and public functions on the grounds of sexual orientation.
I note that David Wilshire lives in sin, with his “partner”. A woman.
So now Wilshire is leaving Parliament in disgrace. Boo hoo.