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SALFORD QUESTION TIME
 

Star date: 9th April 2010 

Hazel Blears Accuses Newspapers of Lying…

At a stormy public Question Time at Salford Arts Theatre last night, Hazel Blears accused the media of lying about her during the expenses scandal. The Salford MP said "There's an awful lot that's been reported in the papers that is simply not true."

Unfortunately Hazel didn't mention all the stuff that was true… over £8000 on furniture, over £50,000 on mortgage payments, over £1000 on fees for personal tax returns, over £200 on bath towels and over £1000 on food when Parliament wasn't even sitting.

Panel member Alex Halligan, representing the TUC, said "MPs, paid for by us, were basically taking the piss out of the ordinary people who voted for them…I didn't mandate my MP to rob the taxpayer blind"…

Full story here…


Salford Question Time Salford Question Time
click image to enlarge

SALFORD QUESTION TIME

Panel members:
Hazel Blears MP; Matthew Sephton, Conservative candidate for Salford; Cllr Norman Owen, Lib Dem candidate for Salford; Pamela Welsh, Salford Advertiser journalist; Alex Halligan, TUC.

Last night, at Salford Question Time the topic was Current National Affairs, the first question inevitably centred on the MPs expenses scandal and Hazel Blears was immediately on the defensive…

"I understood last year, and understand today, how angry people were…"

Audience heckler… "So why did you do it?"

"I will answer this fully, correctly, honestly and straight forwardly because that's the kind of politician I've been for the last 25 years…"

Audience laughter.

"The one thing I agree with is that the system was wrong, the rules needed to be changed…First of all, I have only ever lived in a small one bedroomed flat in London, secondly, I never ever flipped my home – there's an awful lot that's been reported in the papers that is simply not true and I understand how angry people were…"

Lib Dem panel member Norman Owen called for new powers to enable constituents to sack their MP… "MPs in all parties should be brought to book and the people who elected them should have the power to say `You've got to go, you're sacked'"…

Tory candidate Matthew Sephton said the expenses scandal was "shocking and disappointing", while Advertiser journalist, Pamela Welsh, called for more regular elections and added that she thought "a lot of people can be in politics a lot of the time for what they can get out of it – the pay isn't bad"

Alex Halligan, representing trade unions, added "MPs, paid for by us, were basically taking the piss out of the ordinary people who voted for them. Hazel was controversial with her expenses but she's apologised to the people of Salford – but we'd like our MPs to do what we mandated them to do, and  I didn't mandate my MP to rob the taxpayer blind."

On a further audience question about people being alienated from politics Alex added that the Labour Party in Salford is now down to around 420 members… "The Labour Party used to be the party of the people" he said "We need to take it back."

Hazel Blears sited the Chartists demands when they met on Kersal Moor for annual parliament and suggested this as an answer.

Other questions led to fiery sessions on ASBOS, the abolition of the House of Lords, climate change and the war in Iraq, as panel members declared it illegal and Hazel Blears said that "hindsight is a wonderful thing – the decision was taken in light of the best evidence out there at that time – we have to live with it…"

A further question was asked about the censorship of the Salford Star by Salford City Council…

Alex Halligan: "We need the Salford Star and we need it back now…"
Pamela Welsh: "They are a rival but they do an incredible job – the council magazine is crap."
Norman Owen: "Politics should not interfere with freedom of speech and freedom of the press…"
Hazel Blears: "For once this is something I can't be held responsible for – as far as I'm concerned the Salford Star can say what it likes. We live in a democracy and I defend the right of people to say what they want to say even if I don't agree with it. There's one thing I'd say about the Salford Star and that's that occasionally it's a little miserable…"

We would reply – watch this space for loads of fun and games before the election…

 


 

Don't vote for Blears wrote
at 02:28:51 on 05 May 2010
Blears has no morals. Do not vote for her. Maybe the labour born and Bred will see her for exactly what she is .......a LIAR
 
David Henry wrote
at 14:44:53 on 14 April 2010
I think Alice was referring to the local Labour councillors, mind you it's a bit like being seen in public with Tony Blair so no wonder they are keeping their distance. Lots of residents in Ordsall are telling me they didn't realise they had a councillor! So just as well there's a 'Hazel Must Go' campaign local candidate standing there!
 
Steve Middleton wrote
at 07:27:17 on 13 April 2010
To Alice Serle, There were 2 councillors in attendence from the Lib Dems: Claremont Councillor Mary Ferrer and Langworthy Councillor Lynn Drake.
 
Rob wrote
at 21:45:31 on 12 April 2010
With the Hazel must go campaign run by Steve North, who I remember from the TGWU as the branch secretary who said I should not bother about union beaurocrats messing me about, losing my emails and denying they told me to reapply when I transferred, because that is just the way union beaurocrats are I don't think Hazel has too much to worry about. If the best the campaign can do is a coalition of lazy socialists and trade unionist I would rather have Hazel.
 
Mary wrote
at 20:28:47 on 12 April 2010
I attended the debate it was intresting to hear Ms Blears say that the lib dem councillors in Claremont refused a dispersal order in the ward 18 months ago. what a pack of lies there has never been any plans for such an order. Again the lady can't tell the truth trying to make others look bad, when she is the one with her hand in the till, never answers letters from residents. How many years has it taken her to remember where Salford is. God help us if she gets in again. Time for change. From local resident
 
Alice Searle wrote
at 17:49:21 on 12 April 2010
I was at the Question Time last thursday and it was very reassuring to hear that peole do care about democracy. All the questions indictated that Salford people are concerned and very angry about the lack of integrity shown by the MP they voted for. I also noted that there were no Councillors there which indicates a lack of commitment. Do they not want to hear what their constituents feel about issues? My other concern was that smaller parties were not represented such as the 'Hazel Must Go' candidate : David Henry. The National Chair for the Respect Party: Dr Kay Phillips, who is now a parliamentary candidate for Broughton in the General ekection, was at the meeting . She quoted [from The Lancet,] the obscene number of deaths from the Iraqi and Afganistan Wars, including the terrible disabilities that young soldiers will suffer for the rest of their lives. The financial costs also are enormous. At the same time, we are being asked to prepare for big cuts in public services, the consequence of bankers greed and these insane and barbaric wars. Let's get those, who represent us, to think about the consequences of their rash actions and listen more to the common-sense understanding of most people.
 
EM 3 wrote
at 09:22:58 on 12 April 2010
so Hazel Blears says the Star is miserable! Wake up Hazel, for many people in Salford, life isn't a great hoot and the Star is the only paper which allows us to talk about reality! Isn't this what you meant in the old days when you used to talk about 'empowerment' - people having a voice???? Then tell the council to fund this newspaper. When in print, this was the best voice we had. You would win many friends if you wielded your influence in this way, rather than wielding it for your rich mates.
 
Steve wrote
at 20:50:01 on 10 April 2010
As usual on the expenses affair Hazel takes the line 'the system was wrong, the rules needed to be changed'. It isn't about systems and rules its about decency and morals. Hazel thought it was right to make the claims that she did as it was within the rules - rules of course that Parliament made for itself. So it's moral and decent for an MP with a salary of over £60,000 a year to regularly claim £400 a month for food? What did she think her salary was for? There may be expenses involved in having two homes - but you can only eat in one of them at any particular time. It's Hazel's morals and decency that are in question not whether she stuck to the rules or not. And as a Labour party member her judgement and loyalty are open to question. Resigning as a minister and wearing the infamous 'Rocking the boat' lapel badge two days before a parliamentary by-election show poor judgement and no loyalty to the party. Why on earth did the Salford Labour Party not de-select her. I've always voted Labour but I won't vote for Hazel.
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 14:07:20 on 10 April 2010
Hazel, if you had you as an MP you would be miserable all the time.
 
ANT wrote
at 21:35:47 on 09 April 2010
Last night when the subject of the Iraq war was mentioned Hazel denied trying to block an enquiry by voting against it. I thought she voted strongly against any such enquiry.If thats the case do we have Hazel lying on camera? Can anyone give me clarification on this?
 
ant wrote
at 17:11:56 on 09 April 2010
Hazel remarked she only ever claimed for a small 1 bed flat.Why the did she need two flatscreen tvs and claim extensive costs for a cleaner? She has quite a trim figure but im sure she hasnt maintained this on eating £100 worth of sainsburys taste the difference every week. Incidentally apart from Hazels young student friends from the home counties where were the Salford labour councillors last night?Could they not take the shame of supporting her?
 
bent? wrote
at 16:12:02 on 09 April 2010
Hazel,s expenses? It,s like being mugged by a chipmunk.
 
Richard Carvath wrote
at 12:42:36 on 09 April 2010
Hazel Blears' remarks about expenses are on YouTube, as is Pamela Welsh commenting on 'Life in Salford'.
 
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