We Need First Class MPs

Posted on: 22/10/2012

The Chancellor George Osborne has received some criticism in the last few days for
A) sitting in a first class rail seat when in possession of only a standard class ticket and
B) travelling first class at all.

I have to nail my colours to the mast. I am one of those people who believe that the whole MPs expense "scandal" was a storm in a tea cup. The total amount of money involved would build one mile of rail track and, anyway, the vast majority of the expense claims were made within the existing rules.

In short, much fuss about very little.

Turning to specifics regarding Mr Osborne's sojourn into first class, there is in fact nothing wrong with sitting in a first class seat though only in possession of a standard class ticket. Anyone is free to do so and can continue to occupy the seat on payment to the train conductor of the appropriate upgrade charge.

So our Chancellor committed no offence.

On a similar note, it is said that Mr Osborne or his aide tried to avoid paying for their upgrades by claiming there were no free seats in standard class. Once again, there is nothing inappropriate in asking for leave to occupy a first class seat without extra charge. Indeed, train operators often make first class seats available to all comers when there is over-crowding. So why not ask for such a "concession"? Any financial prudent person would do so - and the UK surely needs such a person at the Exchequer.

Turning to the point that some people have made that MPs should not travel first class, frankly, I regards this as nonsense.

MPs do deserve special consideration and, on long train journeys, this should include being able to sit in an environment where working in peace and quiet can be possible. This = first class. No one could concentrate on work in the noisy congestion of standard class.

There is a wider point: if we don't soon start again according MPs some respect, good candidates are going to shy away from the job.
We cannot let this happen, because serving the people of the UK is a crucial role - and we need the best people to take up the challenge.
First Class MPs = a better run country, which is vital for all of us.

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