Labour MP for Erith & Thamesmead

Teresa Pearce MP

Archive for October, 2009

MPs staff why they need real employment law. 4

Posted on October 28, 2009 by Teresa Pearce

Its suggested that new rules would forbid MPs from employing their spouses and  I can understand why this is being considered. However it doesn’t tackle the real problem of  MPs paying members of their household out of the public purse as if it only applies to family what about housekeepers, nannies, cleaners and chauffeurs? Forbidding the employment of spouses is missing the real issue which is not “who” is employed but how they are employed and what they actually do.

We need to tackle the problem of people having “phantom” jobs. For instance a nanny being paid for parliamentary work because she takes phone calls and of course there is no need to go into the Conway debacle. What needs to happen is that staff working for MPs do so under a proper contract with the Commons Office and are annually appraised.

That way the public can be sure the person is actually doing a real job and the member of staff has equality with other people in the same job. This will make sure that parliamentary staff  are treated with equality and that MPs can not be tempted to use their staffing allowance to fund their domestic arrangements. MPs offices are often staffed by young politically committed people who are over worked or underpaid or by interns who are nt paid at all. This is a disgrace which must stop.

In the business world H M Revenue & Customs carry out Employment Tax Reviews and one of the avoidances they will look for is a family member on the payroll who does nt actually do a real job but is paid a salary . This is more often found in small family businesses than in large corporates and that is because a large company is more likely to have a separate HR function and an equal opportunities policy which ensures that the people are appointed on their ability to do the job rather than who they know or who they are related to.

Once again this debate highlights the need for the Parliament to move into the 21st century and to operate less like a club and more like a modern business. One of the arguments often used for MPs having second jobs is that it keeps them in touch with the real world but if that’s the case then I don’t understand why they leave those “real world” practises at the door when they walk back into the commons.

If we are serious about “cleaning up” politics then we need to look at the role of the fees office and set up a real finance & HR function. In any other walk of life employees from the cleaner to the chief exec have rules and policies they must adhere but Westminster still seems to operate under the old system of “must not question the word of a gentleman” and therefore there is no rigour in the expenses and allowance systems. The real change that’s needed is to have a modern parliament that acts like any other large accountable organisation not like some Victorian smoking club.

Question Time Comments Off on Question Time

Posted on October 12, 2009 by Teresa Pearce

I have been following with interest the debate regarding the invitation to Nick Griffin to appear on Question Time. There is the view that allowing the BNP on the BBC gives them status and credibility the other side of the argument is that they should be given the airtime so that their views can be challenged and exposed.

My position has always been that if Labour leaves a vacuum then the BNP will fill it. This is what we have seen happen in many of the areas where the labour core vote has felt ignored. I think that there is a long list of policies that have been delivered to help those who would be described as the traditional labour vote, such as the National Minimum Wage, Sure Start, Tax Credits, Winter Fuel payments for pensioners, outlawing racial discrimination in public functions, increasing child benefit, rights to 4 weeks holiday pay, free travel for pensioners, introducing NHS Direct, and more…BUT those voters feel they are ignored. So making sure that as Labour politicians we engage fully with those communities is paramount so that they can see the delivery of those policies is a result of Labour being in power. Focus less on Mondeo Man & Worcester Woman and get back on the streets and into the flats talking to Woolwich Woman & Thamesmead Teen.

The BNP have targeted the areas where voters feel no one is listening to their concerns and fears. They have told people that they will speak up for them. This has resulted in the BNP winning elections at local and european level. It is for that reason that Labour must appear on Question Time with the BNP. There is a large group of people in this country who voted for the BNP (not because they are racists, although some of course are) because they felt no one heard their voices, to ban the BNP would effectively say to those people that we ignored you and now we continue to ignore the party that is claiming to speak for you. It would play into the BNPs twisted argument that they act for the underdog when nothing could be further from the truth. The BNP is the party of targeting and scapegoating the underdog, lying to the public and inflaming and inciting social division and unease.

The BNP go door to door telling people whatever they want to hear, whatever you are against they will be against it too. They say they will pull out of Europe, stop working with other countries for common good, bring back national service, end immigration, if you are are a family who have no jobs or security they will invite you to blame your neighbour. They say all these things without challenge and without the truth ever getting in the way of their propaganda. Let’s shine a light on them and expose them and their tactics for what they are:  anti freedom, anti liberty, anti progress and anti democracy.

It is no good saying that by allowing them on the BBC gives them credibility as for the growing minority in this country that are minded to vote for them they are already credible. They already have members who are receiving tax payers’ money as elected councillors or MEPs.

Trying to deny them the “oxygen of publicity “ has failed so we need now to bring them forward to show people that a fascist in an ill fitting suit is still a fascist.

I have said in the past that I would never share a platform with the BNP. I no longer stand by that statement. By refusing to acknowledge that the BNP is a party that has won votes then we ignore those voters and it’s that very perception of being ignored that gave the BNP a foot in the door in the first place.



Happy Independence Day 1

Posted on October 01, 2009 by Teresa Pearce





Today 1st October 2009 is Nigeria’s 49th Independence  Day.  So I wish all our  Nigerian members, their family and friends and all our african members a  happy day and I hope they have good celebrations.

↑ Top