Robert Goodwill MP: Another Double-Dipper

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Robert Goodwill MP: Another Double-Dipper

Robert Goodwill MP:  Another Double-Dipper comes out of the woodwork

– by Tim Hicks

 IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

Readers of Real Whitby will no doubt have been shocked by the recent revelations of double-dipping by fourteen Scarborough Councillors, who have been receiving excessive allowances for Broadband from both Scarborough Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council and one, Councillor (Jane Kenyon), who has claimed for telephone calls and the rental of a telephone from the Police Authority, despite having an allowance to cover this from the North Yorkshire County Council.  (The full details can be seen here):

As a result of the investigation by a number of Real Whitby journalists, the Councillors have been criticised in the local and national press, which resulted in the widely anticipated COVER-UP by Scarborough Council.

The North Yorkshire Police Authority adopted different tactics. I was unlawfully prevented from carrying out a Public Rights Inspection under the Audit Commission Act to review Councillor Kenyon’s expenses by Ms Judith Heeley, the Police Authority Treasurer, which would have revealed the existence of Councillor Kenyon’s claims for telephone calls and resulted in her double-dipping activities being exposed.

There has also been intimidation.

Some Councillors sent offensive emails to me and Councillor Kenyon abused her position as Chair of the North Yorkshire Police Authority to make a complaint against me to her Police force friends, to try and have me arrested for harassment.  (See here for details).

It is interesting to note that only one person has spoken out publicly in support of Councillor Kenyon and that was fellow Conservative Robert Goodwill MP, himself exposed in a Private Eye article as well as adverse press comment over his practice of buying cheap economy-class airline tickets and pocketing the difference between the price and the amount he received to pay for the flight.  Clearly an immoral act.  Indeed, based on a previous case with which I am familiar, I am of the opinion that if he had done this while working for a commercial organisation he would have lost his job for it.

However, it is only the tax-payers’ money and so the same standards of scrutiny and accountability seemingly do not apply.  The full sordid details of this scam can be found by following this link . As you can see, it causes him no pangs of conscience, indeed he is proud of it.

I was not therefore very surprised to discover that he has been involved in yet another financial scandal and is again accused of enriching himself by abusing his Parliamentary expense allowance.

The Yorkshire Post has revealed, on Friday 19th October 2012, that Mr Goodwill has also been double-dipping (follow this link), although in a much more sophisticated and skilful way, and on a much larger scale than the double-dipping practiced by Councillor Kenyon.

The public record shows that Mr Goodwill received a tax-payer subsidy in Mortgage Interest Payments and service charges to provide him with the means to own a second property in London, so that he had accommodation while he worked in Westminster as an MP.

It now transpires that having been given a second home by the generosity of the tax-payer which is certainly adequate for his accommodation needs as an MP; instead of living in it and thereby avoiding any further accommodation at the expense of the tax-payer, he has rented it out to obtain rental income from it (the first ‘dip’).

Then having deliberately given up his tax-payer funded accommodation in London to profit from it, he claimed £1,451.67 per month in expenses to rent a second set of accommodation for himself (the second ‘dip’) paid for by the tax-payer, thereby betraying the trust of the tax-payer by incurring extra expense to enrich himself from both the rental income on his tax-payer provided second home and from his parliamentary expenses.

Being rather old fashioned, I still believe in the principle that public figures have a duty to set an appropriate example.  Although (unlike Councillor Kenyon) he has not apparently broken any laws, it is clear from Mr Goodwill’s conduct and remarks that he is a person that does not subscribe to these views and has very limited concepts of morality and integrity.  This may explain why he had no qualms about supporting his fellow double dipper Councillor Kenyon’s conduct.  Birds of a feather etc. etc.

The good name of Scarborough and Whitby has now been dragged through the press in connection with allegations of corruption and abuse three times in the last four months as a result of the actions of Mr Goodwill, Councillor Kenyon and their fellow double-dippers on the two Councils.

They have all let their constituents down very badly and betrayed their trust.

As a result, grave reservations must now hang over them concerning their judgment and suitability for public office.


About the Author:

Website Admin for the Real Whitby Website. All authors of the Real Whitby Website have access to publish on the website. Individual authors will usually sign off their articles with their own names.

9 Comments

  1. Bob Roberts October 21, 2012 at 11:33 am - Reply

    How long to the next elections ?
    Hopefully this will all be remembered by the electorate come the day, however the British public by and large will get duped next time just in the same way as we have been duped time and time again by BOTH mainstream parties, by that I don’t claim any kind of immunity for the inept, out of touch, living in la la land Lib Dems.
    Surely there are individuals out there who are honourable and are able not to just take up politics both at local level just to fill in time in their retirement, or to supplement their already well paid jobs, people who actually care about the people in our society, care about jobs without getting their own snouts in the trough as consultants/advisors and care about this green and pleasant land as much as it can be.
    WHERE ARE THEY?

  2. Nigel Ward October 21, 2012 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    My attention has just been drawn to an article on the local Labour Party website by Cllr Colin CHALLEN – a former member of Parliament and presently a Member of the SBC Standards Committee. Colin has highlighted the collusion between Officers and Councillors. Perhaps readers who would not readily take my word for it will believe one who is ‘on the inside’, so to speak. I quote the entire article:

    http://labour4scarboroughandwhitby.net/?p=205#more-205

    “New Standards Regime – fit for purpose?”

    by Colin Challen

    I write in a personal capacity as a member Scarborough Borough Council’s Standards Committee, and as someone with experience of Parliament during the MP’s expenses scandal, when a lot of lessons were learnt the hard way.

    A few months ago, most members of Scarborough Borough Council received a letter from Robert Goodwill MP – a close colleague of Andrew Mitchell MP (of ‘pleb’ fame) – lauding the new standards regime for councillors introduced by the government. The government abolished the national standards board, which was generally welcomed since the board was widely viewed as a case of overkill. But in its eagerness to undo a Labour ‘quango’ the government went in quite the opposite direction, leaving us with a standards regime for councillors that is both toothless and practically denuded of wider independent engagement.

    The first significant test of the new system in Scarborough came with the hearing of a complaint stemming from an allegation that eight ‘twin-hatted’ County Councillors who were also Borough Councillors from 2009 had received two sets of allowances to pay for the same thing – I.T. services . The total amount each year amounted to about £750 and it was alleged that to be given taxpayers’ money twice without necessarily having to have two broadband connections, etc. to justify the allowance was wrong.

    Prior to the changes to the system, a member could be suspended from the Council. The most the new Standards Committee can ask for now if a member has been found to break the code of conduct is an apology, and suggest the member be given some training. If the member refuses, he or she can be reported to their group leader, who can be called upon to in effect remove the whip – meaning the member could lose a chair or position on a committee. A reasonable person may say ‘big bloody deal’ and they wouldn’t be far wrong.
    This relates to a code of conduct – which stems from the ‘Seven Principles of Public Service.’ These principles set a higher expectation on behaviour than simply not breaking the law, or simply not being dishonest. As far as the former goes, that would be a matter for the police in any case. The principles start with the concept of selflessness, and finish with the concept of leadership. They assume that all public officials are leaders – and must be seen to implement the principles. During the Westminster scandal, many MPs despite having broken no rules found their pleas of ‘having done nothing wrong’ met with a hail of criticism. People expected a higher level of responsibility than merely obeying the rules – which were in any case seen as self-serving. Parliament now has an independent body to oversee things.

    In some ways we now have the reverse in local government. Councillors have been told that they can pretty much police themselves. Before the changes, the Standards Committee had several voting members who were not members of the authority. Now there are none. The new arrangements mean there is officially just one independent ‘advisor,’ who along with the Council’s Monitoring Officer can sift complaints before they even get to the Standards Committee. This function was previously carried out by the Standards Referrals Sub-Committee – a body with a wider membership.

    The Committee found that there was no evidence of dishonesty (or illegality for that matter) but I wanted the Committee to recognise the ‘Seven Principles’ issue – which meant that the strict legal defence of ‘I have done nothing wrong (by the rules)’ could not be the end of it.
    I certainly agreed with the conclusion that there was no dishonesty and the rules had not been broken. But does that necessarily mean that in the wider scheme of things – and in the eyes of the public – that the right thing had been done? The simple solution would have been for the Committee to suggest to the members involved that if they thought that the identifiable sums paid (I won’t go into the arcane details of how the sum is calculated and paid) were excessive, then the difference could be repaid. I know one member said his I.T. costs exceeded the level of the combined allowances. Fair enough – there would be nothing to repay. Another member insisted that she paid for all her I.T. needs out of her own pocket, which rather begged the question of what she spent the allowances on.

    Another issue which emerged out of this hearing was that a County Council official appears to have provided at least four of the eight members with a paragraph long statement which those members then used in response to the County Council’s own investigating officer’s inquiries. This would be like a detective providing you with the answer to his own questions, and clearly this has muddied the essential independence of the officer – councillor relationship. It is a matter which warrants further investigation.

    My view is that we do have a weaker standards regime – and that is a view shared by many on the Council. We therefore have to ensure that the Standards Committee at least seeks to uphold not just the rules, but the Seven Principles which underpin the integrity of public officials.

    • Tim Thorne October 22, 2012 at 8:39 am - Reply

      Isn’t there is a barrister connected to the Maginnis inquiries who also said it is fraud?

  3. jeffery davies October 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    theres no morals left they have none only greed for more and these are the people incharge of us it beggers belief that their money they get isnt enough for them and like oliver want more holding out their hands ,its beyond belief that they can and do this but to leave them get away with it is saying you dont mind whot they do ,if you got caught taking 10pounds from your office or firm you could be done but are they going to be nah its piggy time snouts in trough jeff3

  4. david clark October 22, 2012 at 10:39 am - Reply

    north yorkshire police and crime panel membership, Simon Myers,Neville Huxtable,Margaret Atkinson, Carl Les, Mick Griffiths, Eric Hope, Gillian Ivey,Brian Simpson, Fiona Fitzpatrick, Dafydd Williams,Prfessor Gary Craig,SantokhSingh Sidhu. Point of interest Simon Myers is a Barrister at law. ,
    .

  5. maria barton October 22, 2012 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Few weeks ago I attended a funeral in lincolnshire and after was talking to my neice from scarborough, I was horrified to learn of her situation and can see from your article, why so many are not getting the help they need. Wish I could help her and her boys more. Hopefully by my attending the demonstrations in London, things will begin to change for the better for us all. I live in South London.

  6. Jane Swales October 22, 2012 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    Accepting more money than they actually spent is so obviously wrong and in fact indefensible. And yet these people seem to think that as long as they have found a loophole (with the help of the very people who are supposed to monitor them) then the public will have to put up with it. What a despicable bunch of selfservers they are! Keep up the naming and shaming Real Whitby.

  7. David Clark October 24, 2012 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Chairman of the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel is Cllr Carl Les.

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