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'Local Labour MPs blocked lobby reforms' - Simpson

March 24, 2010 12:27 PM

HousesofparliamentMinister for the East Midlands and local Labour MPs blocked lobby reforms, while Northampton North MP sat on her hands.

Monday night's 'Dispatches' programme contained a slew of allegations against MPs in the East Midlands, with former Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon (Lab, Ashfield), and ex-Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt (Lab, Leicester West), fingered in the joint Sunday Times-Channel 4 sting.

Research uncovered by Cllr Andrew Simpson, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Northampton North, has since revealed that, following a 2006 vote to tighten up lobbying rules, local Labour MPs, including Minister for the East Midlands, Phil Hope (Lab, Corby), voted for 'no change'.

East Midlands MPs in the 'no' camp included Labour's three Nottingham MPs and Ashfield MP, Geoff Hoon. Conspicuous by her absence, meanwhile, was Labour MP for Northampton North, Sally Keeble.

Commenting on the findings, Cllr Simpson, said:

"Northamptonians have been badly let down by their MPs in the past. In that sense, the 2006 vote to clean up lobbying was to be expected.

"Ms. Keeble should now explain why she stayed away and account for her 284 Labour colleagues who voted to keep the revolving door between Parliament and the private sector.

"What we now need is real reform of Parliament, including an electoral system that reflects people's votes, a legal right to sack corrupt MPs and an end to the unelected, expense-fuelled House of Lords.

"Parliamentary reform is not often top of people's concerns at the ballot box. But I hope this time Northamptonians will think long and hard about these issues when they come to cast their votes."