Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Message from Green Party leader Caroline Lucas on expenses row, grabbing MPs, extremism and positive alternatives

From Dr Caroline Lucas MEP, Leader, The Green Party

Harriet Harman (Times, 9.5.09) says the expenses row is creating "an anti-politics mood" amongst the public. But is it politics the public are against, or the behaviour of some self-serving Labour and Conservative politicians?

We shouldn't let her fudge the issue of exactly who it is that the public are angry at. And it's not about the the system, it's about the choices those MPs made to grab as much as they thought they'd get away with on a technicality.

Nor is it an excuse that we're not as bad as some other countries. Nor is there something inherently corrupting about politics - becoming an elected politician, entering a parliamentary expenses system, does not mean you'll automatically be infected with snout-in-trough disease.

But what is almost beyond belief is the way Ms Harman is using the supposed "anti-politics mood" to stir up fear of the BNP, for the sole purpose of frightening disillusioned Labour voters into voting Labour as a lesser evil. (Actually the best tactical vote in a regional list election is more likely to be a Green vote anyway, to ensure the Greens stay ahead of the BNP and deny them the final seat in the region.)

With an election in three weeks it's appalling that most of the talk is about apathy, cynicism and how anger at the government will feed far-right extremism. It really is time to look at the positive choices facing the electorate. Britain needs a new vision, and this week the Green Party will offer one as we launch our European election manifesto.

The elections of 4th June might yet signal a desire for positive change - a fairer economy, proper regulation of the banks, a real Green New Deal to create a million jobs to tackle the recession and the climate crisis. I think you'll find that voters looking for a progressive party in which to place their trust may well look to the Green Party when they cast their votes on June 4th.

Yours sincerely
Dr Caroline Lucas MEP
Leader, The Green Party
1a Waterlow Road N19 5NJ
020 7561 0282


  1. How much in expenses does Ms Lucas claim then?

    Does she refuse all those substantial euro payments she's entitled to?

    Or does she trouser them all (like the £180 a dayfor turning up) as the rules permit it?

  2. This is what Carolines MEP website says:

    'There is rightly much concern about the system of expenses for MPs and MEPs. The Green Group in the European Parliament has been in the forefront of efforts to make the expenses system fair, transparent, and protected against abuse.

    Caroline is an active member of the cross-party Campaign for Parliamentary Reform (CPR), which campaigns for reforms including:

    *introducing an efficient and transparent system for reimbursing members’ expenses
    *abolishing the parliament’s monthly lock-stock-and-barrel move to Strasbourg, which causes huge expense and disruption (see the report on the carbon costs of this monthly commute under Publications)
    *introducing transparent rules on the funding of political parties
    *improving working conditions for parliamentary staff

    The CPR has named Caroline Lucas the UK’s most pro-reform MEP, on the basis of analysis of voting behaviour in 40 votes on parliamentary reform since she was elected in 1999.

    Its all been there on her website for some time BB. If you want to know more go to:


    You can view her general expenditure for 2008 here:


  3. I've seen this link and Caroline's actual expense claims are not clear to me. In fact I find it all quite misleading.

    I'd like to see a simple gross amount detailing the monies Caroline's actually personally receiving.

    I woulld expect that to include: Salary, the Daily Attendance Allowance (that's the £180 a day), the travel allowance and the personal travel allowance.

    Although I have doubts about the way the monies are disbursed, I would accept that Caroline's secretarial and office expenses are not personal.

  4. Some of the info you want eg MEP salary, is available via the first link I gave BB. You could also contact Carolines office requesting further more detailed information (contact details available via the link I gave).

    There's little doubt that Caroline has been working harder than any MEP (and perhaps any MP too) for reform of the system. She's received recognition for this. The Green Group in the EU Parliament clearly favours big reforms eg on travelling (details via the link I gave).

    Whatever the system though, at present we'd still have MPs and MEPs who are unable to tell right from wrong when making claims - and they are our appointed lawmakers!! I urge voters to get rid of such MPs and MEPs and support individuals (of whatever party) with a decent personal ethics.

  5. Yes. But how do I know whether Caroline is able to tell right from wrong when making claims if she doesn't publish her full expenses (only snippets of them and vague figures)?

    It's another trust-based system of the type she's supposed to be against.

  6. Well BB, the links I gave show her salary, give details of the various allowances, pension scheme and general expenditure, plus a commentary. It also states,

    'The Green MEP Trust accounts have been verified by an independent firm of auditors and you can read their certificate for the year ending December 31st 2008'


    Seems like a lot of info has been made public by her. However, my preference is for total income and expenditure to be published. You may want to contact her office to ask whether/why absolutely everything is is/is not available.


Genuine, open, reasonable debate is most welcome. Comments that meet this test will always be published.