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RIVAL'S "GREAT SADNESS" OVER GODSIFF EXPENSES SCANDAL

01-06-2009

jerry evansroger godsiff MP

Jerry Evans and Roger Godsiff MP

Revelations about the expenses claimed by Birmingham Labour MP Roger Godsiff have produced a torrent of crocodile tears from his prospective Lib Dem rival Jerry Evans. Evans says he notes Godsiff’s discomfiture “with great sadness” – before plunging the dagger between his shoulder blades.

Godsiff is currently MP for Sparkbrook and Small Heath, but is expected to battle for Hall Green when his current constituency is abolished at the next election – with current Labour incumbent Steve McCabe moving “next door” to Selly Oak where Lynne Jones is retiring.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, Godsiff claimed for a variety of items, including a lawnmower, hedge trimmer, cushion covers and bath mats.

He also received more than £86,000 over four years on his “second home” in London, even though – as the Telegraph points out – this is “in the area in which he grew up and began his political career and where his wife and family are listed on the electoral roll.”

Godsiff’s relatively infrequent appearances in the Commons are contrasted with his £163,000 annual spending on travel, home, office and staffing costs.

Evans was quickly off the mark, issuing a prompt press release in the wake of the story, voicing his “great sadness” that Godsiff was caught up in the scandal.

Once the Uriah Heep act is over, Evans gleefull sticks the boot in:

“The Telegraph's investigations have shown what we have known for a long time, that despite it being claimed by ‘Rarely seen Roger’ that his "second home" is in London, his family are on the electoral register there, he grew up there, and it is patently his family home!

“As his main residence he ought not to have claimed £87,729 of Taxpayers money for it as his second home over the last four years. Will he pay it back? When is he coming to live in his own constituency as opposed to London or Sheldon?”

Evans continues: “Sadly, ‘Rarely Seen Roger’ is out of the country on a parliamentary trip (at whose expense is unclear), but when he returns, I ask him to explain to his constituents how his main home is in Sheldon, but his family are in London and how a lawn mower is an office expense."

The Lib Dem candidate promises that of he’s elected, he’ll use standard class on the train and stay in a B&B – although why our elected representatives shouldn't travel on National Express and sleep on a park bench he doesn’t say.

Roger Godsiff is currently out of the country, but we’ll publish his response as soon as we get it.

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