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New row emerges over expenses story

December 24, 2009

The commentators on the local political blogs are very excited this  latest development of this ongoing story.  It plays out over several different pages on our site, so to help them understand the story, here is the important information in one place.

It all kicked off in our Hattersley Newsletter when we criticised Roy Oldham.  He had chosen to draw a comparison with the expenses scandal at Westminster, and had claimed the equivalent figure (for the 57 Councillers in Tameside) was just £541.   (You’ll see slightly different numbers; it just depends if the reclaimable VAT has been deducted).

As normal, his words were carried extensively in the local press.  You can see the Advertiser’s copy here.

The reasons why we believe the £541 figure is not valid in the comparison Roy Oldham CHOSE to draw, are covered in our letter to The Reporter which is reproduced further down the post.  But let me continue chronologically for a moment.

The issue cropped up again after the State of the Area Address, when the Conservatives group had put forward a motion calling for ALL expenses to be made public, not just the ‘out of pocket’ claims.   The following was how the debate was covered in the reporter:


We obviously have a right of reply when we are mentioned in a story, and The Reporter were kind enough to carry this letter in response:

As we have not been contacted by either TMBC or The Reporter, we can only guess at why The Reporter today felt it was necessary to issue their apology, which is reproduced below.

If TMBC are to take legal action, we have yet to be contacted.  We’ll let you know if anything arrives.  We now have to be careful not to escalate matters, but I’m sure its ok to say to that we would have preferred to hear about any planned legal action from TMBC themselves, rather than through the newspaper.

The blogging community can decide for themselves if they think Roy Oldham’s chosen £542 is valid in his chosen comparison with the Westminster scandal, and if his response, and that of the TMBC, are fair and reasonable.

We are confident in what we’ve said and are very happy for the original story to be fuelled by all this publicity.

Although both Rob Adlard (Staly & Hyde new PPC) and myself were involved in the initial row, it is just me, Peter Hayes who wrote the letter to the Reporter (and is writing this post!) and will apparently be the subject of any legal action.  As explained elsewhere on this website, I’ve been selected by the Conservatives to stand against Roy Oldham in May’s local elections for the Longdendale Ward (Assuming he stands for relection).

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