Each week I buy the Kent Messenger. I like to know what is going on in Maidstone and it is a good local paper. It wins plenty of awards. Its journalists are nice people. Sometimes I even get mentioned in it. As an active member of my community I want to know what is in the paper each week because I want to know what is going on.
I buy the paper with my own money as does almost every other reader of it, except one.
On 20th Jan 2012, a claim was submitted for expenses (and was paid) which included 90p for "Local Newspaper costs" / "cost of newspaper which contains column written by MP" - a copy of the Kent Messenger. The claim was from Helen Grant MP for Maidstone and the Weald. There was no claim before this date or since.
So why does a single 90p claim for a paper matter?
It matters not for the 90p but for the attitude which underlies the claim for it.
It matters because it shows that Helen is buying the local paper for work, not because she cares about the constituency.
It matters because she has the affront to keep a receipt and then submit the claim for just 90p so that we have have to foot the cost of it.
Who knows whether she pays for the Kent Messenger now - she has a regular column and may well receive a copy for free now. Perhaps she misplaced her free copy in January and had to buy one instead - life can take some distressing turns occasionally.
What she did was wrong. It symbolises the worst of everything from the expenses scandal three years ago. Again I call on her to resign. If you agree, sign my petition at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/helen-grant-should-resign.html