A Salford Star Exclusive

Star date: 15th October 2009


Hazel Blears claimed over £1000 for food when Parliament wasn't even sitting…She bought three tables at a cost of over £1000...

In this Salford Star Exclusive, Hazel reveals how "I was told by existing MPs `These are the expenses, basically divide it by twelve and that's what you claim every month'..."

She adds that the system "enabled you to claim things that are utterly bizarre and that no reasonable rational person would have agreed to pay for..."

Yet the Salford MP is told to pay back just £225 for a shelving unit as a result of Sir Thomas Legg's review of MPs' expenses..

Full story here...

Hazel Blears Expenses Hazel Blears Expenses Hazel Blears Expenses
click image to enlarge

Back in June, when Hazel Blears had to face a re-selection meeting of the Salford Labour Party following the expenses scandal and her ill timed resignation from the Cabinet, she told the gathered party members that she wanted to re-build her reputation "to be a down to earth bread and butter champion of the people of Salford"…

A "bread and butter champion" Hazel certainly is. During the expenses years 2004 to 2008 she managed to claim £9620 on food, including over £1000 when Parliament was in recess.

In August 2004 she claimed £200 for food during the summer recess, in August 2005 she claimed £200 and in August and September 2006 she claimed £500. Hazel also claimed up to £250 a month for food during Christmas and Easter breaks when Parliament wasn't sitting for the full month, putting the full amount at way over £1000.

Under the rules for MPs' cost allowances, receipts do not need to be produced for food, and at the reselection meeting Hazel admitted how the expenses system worked…

"When I first went into Parliament I was told by existing MPs `These are the expenses, basically divide it by twelve and that's what you claim every month'…That's what was the established culture. And that was wrong…It did develop into that culture of entitlement rather than what was needed in order to do your job...

She added: "It enabled you to claim things that are utterly bizarre and that no reasonable rational person would have agreed to pay for…"

In just two years (2004-6) Hazel spent £8378 on furniture, including three tables at a total cost of £1095…

"The requirement of ensuring value for money is central in claiming for accommodation, goods or services" the Green Guide to MPs' allowances states "Members should avoid purchases which could be seen as being extravagant and luxurious."

At the re-selection meeting Hazel apologised for her claims, saying "if they were extravagant then I am sorry" and she called for more transparency in the system. Unfortunately that transparency doesn't reach to her own website where she has posted all her expenses claims with great big black blocks blanking out a lot of information, while other receipts are completely unreadable.

We can't, for instance, find a receipt anywhere that shows an amount of £225 for the shelving unit, and we still can't work out why she has had to pay back the cost of this particular shelving unit when there was lots of expensive furniture, wine glasses, tables, chairs, beds, TVs and a £59 pair of scales to choose from.

Hazel told the meeting way back in June that when the review of MPs' expenses was made public "I'm sure it will turn up some surprising issues and that might be an opportunity to undo some of the damage that has been done."

It looks like it's working the other way…


Coming soon…Hazel threatens to sue as she claims her reputation has been damaged "by the constant repetition of things that are untrue…"



Sick of Parasites wrote
at 10:01:24 AM on Sunday, January 12, 2014
Disgraceful. Blears should have been got rid off . In fact all these self-serving , shite-spouting career politicians at both local and national level should be got rid off . They are all taxpayer-milking parasites . Guy Fawkes was right .
Kenneth Mckelvey wrote
at 11:52:36 PM on Saturday, January 11, 2014
Personally Do not see why these politicos are given these extravagant expenses Councillors Lord Mayors MPs etc They are just doing a Job that they have chosen so why do they seem to want beside a great wage and pension holidays workers can only dream of these expenses that are bordering on Obscene/These are the same people who are t elling UK workers that the UK can only afford a 1% Pay increase for the next few years / BUT gave themselves an 11% rise in wages / Expences / and Pensions / Plus an increase in their Second Home Allowance /They are a disgrace/ But Having said that I would look at Mr Richard Cervate case of if selected to replace hazel /He will do the same thing as Denis Skinner and work for the UKs National Wage/ It's worth considering. I am same as all you people sick of seeing self serving Politicians?
Fabian wrote
at 12:51:51 PM on Saturday, January 11, 2014
We will NEVER forget this
A.P. wrote
at 10:24:30 AM on Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Just a reminder . This will haunt blears forever , and deservedly so . NEVER TO BE FORGOTTON . Stewart , WE ARE WATCHING YOU.....
RED DAVE wrote
at 12:34:46 PM on Sunday, October 02, 2011
Anthony wilde wrote
at 11:10:58 PM on Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Why just one candidate in Salford, why not have candidates to take over all the Salford council. The new party could be called. "The Honest Labour Party" voters shouldnt get mixed up with that lot in council now or the MP.
Disgusted of Lower Broughton wrote
at 8:35:51 PM on Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Andrew Behan-Worsley/Eccles CLP wrote: "I have written to Hazel asking her to stand down (No reply)" Ever get the feeling you're wasting your time mate? God, the Salford "Labour" Party are pathetic, aren't they? They give Salford a bad name, being so chicken-shit scared of their own bloody shadows. Blears should have been out on her arse months ago!
Steven North - Hazel Must Go wrote
at 8:34:14 PM on Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Hi Andrew (again) Just to say that I spoke to everyone last night and they felt it might be a good idea to share with you an open letter we have drafted and will be delivering to Hazel this week. It explains why we set the campaign up and what we stand for. We will be giving her an opportunity to reply. I will be sending a copy to the Salford Star once we agree on the final draft. I will also be forwarding it to all the other people who have contacted us. I'm not sure if we've got your email address so if you can send it to blearsmustgo@gmail.com I'll make sure you get a copy. Feel free to show it to who you like. Thanks, Steve
Steven North - Hazel Must Go wrote
at 1:47:36 PM on Monday, October 19, 2009
Hi Andrew You're right in the sense that it would be difficult for an independent MP to pick up enough votes to oust Hazel and it may be that the Labour Party will start to look for someone else to stand in her place. I will raise your points at our meeting tonight and let you know what the view is. Just to say though that the issue we have is that the Labour Party has already had a chance to do this. That the majority of their delegates voted to keep her obviously says something about them as well as her. Some of them turned up to our meeting in September to deliberately disrupt what we were doing. We allowed them to speak becauise we want to be democratic, and some did make valid points, but there were others who clearly saw their place at the meeting as a disruptive one. The Salford CLP is doing its best to make us look like opportunists who don't like Hazel because she's short or has read hair. This is unfair and hypocritical as they are accusinfg us of going below the belt. I used to be in the Labour Party Andrew and in all honesty I don't have any faith that the majority of modern Labour Party members really see Hazel's behaviour as much of a problem - such is the shift in that party. If they see sense and decide to oust her that would restore some of my confidence that there are still peope in that Party doing this for the right reasons. However, it is not for us to go cap in hand to them asking for their help when as far as I am concerned, those who continue to support Hazel with ful knowledge of what she has done have as much to answer for as she does. I've played my part in trying to turn that party into one that will genuinely represent ordinary working people again and I'll hold my hands up...it didn't work. I now think there is more sense in good people who want to get active setting up our own campaigns and relying on each other and the collective strengths of our communities to make a difference - either by pushing exisiting parties into doing the right thing or by replacing them all together. As I say though others may have different views and I will raise it tonight.
Andrew Behan-Worsley/Eccles CLP wrote
at 8:02:33 AM on Saturday, October 17, 2009
A quick message to Steve North (Hazel Must Go) I couldn't attend the second meeting with Martin Bell speaking but it is clear that an independent candidate would struggle to pick up enough votes to oust Hazel. I have written to Hazel asking her to stand down (No reply) I have written to my MP Barbara Keeley (the usual answer it is up to Salford CLP) I have contacted members of the Salford CLP who now wish they had voted Hazel Out. Keep up the pressure it is working but Hazel is one tough nut to crack. Why not a templated letter addressed to the Salford CLP saying that the constituents don't want Hazel to stand at the next election. I have even filled out the application to become a PPC at the next election stating I would like to stand instead of Hazel in a place I lived for 12 years just of Langworthy Road but just keep getting invites for interviews in Wales or down South. I'm sure this latest scam of claiming for food whilst in recess could be counted as grounds to hold another meeting with Hazel by the Salford CLP.
Richard Carvath wrote
at 1:49:55 PM on Friday, October 16, 2009
If I become MP for Salford and Eccles next May I will not be taking the urine a la Hazel. I will only claim the bare minimum expenses necessary for doing the job, and I will not be taking the £65,000 a year basic MP salary - but rather I will only accept a salary in line with the national minimum wage. I will live with the same sort of income that most other people in the constituency have to live on.
alan wrote
at 3:56:24 PM on Thursday, October 15, 2009
Don't know what all the fuss is about!Jealousy springs to mind who wouldn't buy three tables if they had all that cash to spend on food!
Simon wrote
at 3:55:38 PM on Thursday, October 15, 2009
Are there any grounds on which Hazel Blears might be considered unethical? Consider writing to Sir Thomas Legg and asking him to require her to produce receipts in respect of her unreceipted expense claims. The grounds for this might be a clause in part of the notes he recently released in connection with his ACA expenses review. If you're not familiar with this document you might be surprised that he has not asked MPs to show the validity of such as gardening and cleaning expenses. If you can find grounds for this then consider a press release at the same time. Some further background information below. In his note "ACA Review The Reviews Approach to the ACA Rules" Sir Thomas Legg notes: "15. 0n the other hand, the practice of the Fees Office before 2008-09 of not requiring receipts for a variety of expenditures less than £250 a month (£400 in the case of food) has been accepted for the purposes of the Review. However, where subsequent claims or other evidence suggest that such earlier payments may have been materially incorrect, the Review will request evidence to substantiate the earlier payments." The rules for MPs ACA expense claims required that MPs had incurred their claimed expenses. Indeed, MPs sign their expense claim forms "I confirm that I incurred these costs wholly, exclusively and necessarily to enable me to stay overnight away from my only or main home for the purpose of performing my duties as a Member of Parliament". The "fundamental principles" identified by him include honesty and so it is surely not unreasonable for every MP to have to prove they have made valid claims by producing receipts. The phrase "subsequent claims or other evidence" might be a reason to write to him if you have appropriate grounds. http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Politics/documents/2009/10/13/Leggnote.pdf The above is based on a letter I have written to Sir Thomas in which I have asked, "In the belief that this is now a matter of urgent public interest, I ask you to require all MPs to confirm the validity of their unreceipted expense claims by providing you with proof of expense."
Leigh Edmenson wrote
at 1:31:44 PM on Thursday, October 15, 2009
I am not surprised at all, at Hazel's or any of the other Mp's antics. It's one rule for them and another for the rest of us. I will be glad to see the back of the snivelling, snooty, shifty, grinning-like-a-loony-, ingenuine, self-satisfying little shrew! Good riddance I say, to bad rubbish. Let's celebrate the day! It WILL come! :-)
Marion Madden wrote
at 11:34:49 AM on Thursday, October 15, 2009
She is obviously an MP because it is a well paid job, as most of the other MP's are, not to serve the people of Salford. I keep reading statements from various MP's to the effect that "we don't want to return to the days when only rich people went into Parliament", to justify their getting even their groceries bought for them. I would likke to know why they think that because they become an MP theyneed to live in a much larger house, drive a better car, buy more expensive furniture etc etc. If someone is earning say £20,000 a year and then becomes an MP on a salary of over £60,000 they would instantly be much better off. Why do they think they need to move - they could be an MP from their existing home. They bought their furniture, food, Christmas decorations and hanging baskets from their salary before, why can't they continue to do so. Everyone else who has to move to another part of the country for their work can only claim overnight expenses, if they are lucky. We have friends who have had to move home during the week for work purposes and they have had to rent someewhere nearby as well as paying their mortgage etc on their family home. We saw Blears in Sainsbury's recently - wonder who was paying the bill.
Mr E.Carter wrote
at 11:17:36 AM on Thursday, October 15, 2009
Im afraid nothing will suprise me about this thieving little cow or any of the other pigs whoose snouts were in the trough. The only sad thing is that the Salford Labour party allowed her to stay in her job and get a nice severence pay off when she leaves. Lets see if she is honourable enough to had that over to charity ?. (I wont be holding my breath).
Steven North - Hazel Must Go wrote
at 11:16:55 AM on Thursday, October 15, 2009
Doing something because everyone else is doing it is a constant theme with Ms Blears. Other politicians don't have principles...so why should I? Other politicians tell their constituents one thing and then do the other...why shouldn't I? She has built a rather successful career, although admittedly much of it now lies in tatters by following other people's lead. Check her voting record on theyworkforyou.com - she has never once rebelled against the Government. She wasn't prepared to do it over the maternity ward, nor post offices. The bottom line is that she is the archetypal modern politican - most people have no idea what she stands for. Her views and her priciples seem to change to shape the prevailing wind. Is this what we want in an MP?
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