Questions over Labour MSP’s £14,000 bus hire costs

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Labour MSP Frank McAveety has defended his expense claims after it emerged he claimed a staggering £14,300 to hire a bus in order to meet local constituents.

Mr McAveety, the Labour MSP for Shettleston, made the claims over a three year period under Holyrood’s ‘hiring for halls and surgeries’ category after submitting invoices from a vehicle repair company named Ferrymill Motors.

Newsnet Scotland understands that the bus is an ageing Leyland Leopard commonly in service in Scotland in the early seventies and eighties.  It has been stored at the First Glasgow Larkfield depot on Victoria Road.

Mr McAveety, the MSP for Glasgow Shettleston, apparently used it from 2007 to 2009 to travel around the area meeting constituents.  The silver and purple bus was decked out in livery identifying it as a mobile surgery for Frank McAveety, MSP.

When Newsnet Scotland questioned the Labour MSP over the costs, he claimed to have used the bus “primarily for community events and for access to and for constituents”.  However Mr McAveety declined to reveal exactly what these ‘community events’ were.

In May 2007, Mr McAveety claimed £4,700 and submitted an invoice from Ferrymill Motors.  The next expense claim for the bus came 17 months later in October and was for £4,406.25.  In May 2009 Mr McAveety claimed a further £5,198.  Mr McAveety claimed that costs had been higher in recent years due to “an unavoidable change in garaging facilities” and he was currently looking at alternative facilities to “garage and secure the bus”.

A Freedom of Information Request (FOI) to the Scottish parliament revealed that the payment of £5,198.00 included sums of £190 for road tax, £80.00 for MOT and £500 for fuel.  There are no breakdowns provided for the earlier years or any mention of garaging costs.

The same FOI request revealed that the Scottish parliament had no knowledge of who owned the bus, when it was used or who has used it since 2006.  Holyrood’s Head of allowances said the expense was allowed under the ‘Hall Hire/Surgeries’ category “As the bus is hired to enable surgeries to be held within Mr McAveety’s constituency,”.

Newsnet Scotland also understands that the colour of the vehicle was changed to silver with a purple skirt when Mr McAveety took possession.  However the current DVLA record has the colour of the bus as blue.  If the vehicle colour has been altered, then by law, the DVLA must be notified.

Ferrymill Motors, according to their business website, is a body shop repair company and seemingly shows no sign of being a coach hire or storage business.  Just prior to the 2007 Scottish election the company part funded a newspaper advertisement expressing their support for the Union.

Kieran McCahill, their Managing Director, signed up to a press statement that read: “We are the businessmen and women committed to the future of Scotland.  We believe Scotland’s best future for investment, jobs and prosperity is being part of Britain and we believe that the break-up (sic) of Britain would damage Scotland.”

In 2005 Mr McCahill was one of 70 invited guests who met then Labour leader Tony Blair in McGregor House in Southbank Business Park in Kirkintilloch for a ‘meet the people’ question and answer session.

Mr McAveety’s £14,300 claims for hire of halls for surgeries over three years is significantly higher than for other MSPs.  His claim of £4700 in 2007/08 was more than three times greater than that of the next highest claim which was £1410 by Cabinet Secretary John Swinney and will raise questions over whether the use of taxpayers’ cash was appropriate in terms of “value for money “ and “efficiency and effectiveness” in line with para 1.1.2 of the Members’ Expenses.

As well as continuing to run the bus Mr McAveety also holds two surgeries a month at Parkhead Library, Bridgeton Library, Gorbals leisure centre, Shettleston Library and Govanhill Community Centre.

Mr McAveety defended the use of public cash for the bus and claimed that all expenses were approved by the Allowances Office.

He said: “It has been used primarily for community events and for access to and for constituents and is part of my commitment to working with my constituents .  The costs have been approved by the Parliamentary authorities and are within the overall cost envelope for office costs.

“Over the period of use for the bus over a number of years the costs have varied and only in recent years have costs been higher due to an unavoidable change in garaging facilities.  I have been in discussion with other facilities on how to garage and secure the bus and would expect that arrangement to be in place if elected after May 2011.”

The Labour MSP explained that the colour of the bus had been changed in order to “conform with the colour scheme of the Parliament”.

Mr McAveety attacked what he claimed were “factual inaccuracies” made by Newsnet Scotland.

He said: “I am surprised that you intend to write an article based on a series of assumptions and factual inaccuracies relating to the Parliamentary mobile bus.  I believe it may be best that you re-examine a number of the claims that you have made in your late Friday night e-mail.” He added: “if you wish to discuss further I believe it would be better than writing an article with significant inaccuracies.”

However despite being asked to detail the ‘significant inaccuracies’ Mr McAveety declined to do so.  He also declined to confirm who in fact owned the bus.

Mr McAveety’s response left some questions unanswered.

  • How often was the service used by constituents for surgeries?
  • What was the nature of the ‘community events’ the bus was ‘primarily’ used for?
  • If the bus is being leased then why is the taxpayer paying for the road tax and MOT?
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108 COMMENTS

  1. Good digging newsnet, keep it up.

    This is probably another case of Labour politicians looking after their own.
    I mean ‘their own’ in the sense that the company who own this bus probably (emphasise probably) donate to the Labour party or it could even be some family member who in fact are the owners of the bus/company.
    More investigation into this matter is certainly needed.

  2. Keep up the good work.

    Who owns the bus ? Surely the dvla must know ? Is changing the colour and not notifying the DVLA an offence ?

    Luckily (again) for labour, plod,the state broadcaster, the dead tree press,the allowance office,the electoral commission and the procuratot will all be looking the other way.

  3. morning all , “Mr McAveety defended the use of public cash for the bus and claimed that all expenses were approved by the Allowances office.”
    mmm where have we heard that old excuse before???
    excellent piece of journalism news net , it certainly wasn’t going to be done by anyone else.
    body shop repair company, printing company’s X2 whatever will be next???
    Sid

  4. [quote name=”Alx1″]Good digging newsnet, keep it up.[/quote]

    Seconded.

    [quote]Mr McAveety attacked what he claimed were “factual inaccuracies” made by Newsnet Scotland …
    However despite being asked to detail the ‘significant inaccuracies’ Mr McAveety declined to do so.[/quote]

    Speaks volumes.

  5. Now, had Mr McAveety detailed these inaccuracies, Newsnet would have been quite open in making a corrective statement.

    So why didn’t the good politician give us these details?

    Excellent article.

  6. I was surprised to see it was a bus he was claiming for, given his reputation I’d have thought it would more likely be a baker’s van full o’ pies!

    Partially off topic (well it’s sleaze and it’s yet again a Labour politician)-and I do apologise about the length of this post:

    Scotland’s Best read Paper (******************) has an article concerning a Glasgow Labour Councillor and his extremely liberal views of paedophilia involving nine-year-old children.

    An experienced WPC has made a complaint regarding the following –
    [i]”Councillor O’Rourke asked if force was used during the incidents. I told him , ‘No,’ and his was reply was, ‘So she wanted it to happen’.

    “I replied that she was a child and was unable to give consent. I also briefly covered the grooming process and its associated elements.

    “He began a rant on the age of consent and how it should be lowered, commenting on the promiscuity of children and their modern provocative dress sense, He further commented that you could walk into any high school and observe girls in short skirts coupled with their promiscuous behaviour thus giving weight to his argument about lowering the age of consent.

    “Councillor O’Rourke continued his inappropriateness when discussing the complainer, commenting on her chaotic previous lifestyle at the hands of her prostitute mother.

    “He hinted that she was not a typical innocent nine-year-old but was sexually older than her years and conveyed the attitude that it was not as bad to commit crimes of this nature on a child with this background.”

    The officer reported the matter to a detective chief inspector when she returned to work three days later. In her witness statement, she concluded: “I found Councillor O’Rourke’s comments alarming and highly inappropriate.

    “He had little understanding of child protection issues and again very little understanding of grooming and the process of sexual abuse.”

    At his home in Pollok, O’Rourke – who has been a Labour councillor since 1996 and sits on Strathclyde Police Authority – denied making the remarks.

    He said: “I have just received a phone call saying a complaint had been made against me but this is absolute rubbish – I would never make that type of comment.

    “I categorically deny saying anything like that during the hearing.

    “I have no idea why this officer would have complained that I made these remarks.

    “All I can say is, it’s her opinion – it’s certainly not mine. There were three of us on the disciplinary panel and I will have colleagues who will back me up.”

    Strathclyde Police confirmed they had submitted a report to the Standards Commission for Scotland.

    Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson said: “I am deeply concerned. There will be a full investigation.”

    Yesterday, Councillor Jim Todd, who was at the meeting, declined to comment. Councillor Jim Scanlon, who was also there, could not be contacted.

    Two years ago, O’Rourke opposed a vote to ban a lapdancing club from calling itself a “gentleman’s club” in adverts.

    And in 1997, a 38-year-old secretary alleged he regularly embarrassed her in front of others with his remarks.

    O’Rourke has also been criticised for expenses claims and overseas junkets.[/i]

    What is telling is how his colleagues have run for cover and are refusing to back him.

    Maybe he is the one bad apple…

    [b][Comment edited by Moderation Team 3.32pm 6 March 2011

    Please refrain from insulting a large segment of the Scottish population.][/b]

    • His later comments are quite amazing too

      [i]We phoned William O’Rourke at home yesterday when he said he wanted to check records of the meeting last month, adding: “I still deny it.

      “I would need to find the minute first of all.

      “It’s so long ago actually, you know, and I don’t know if I’ve been taken out of context or not, I don’t know. It’s not something I would say, you know, in the context that it’s been described, that’s for sure.

      “I’ve already told you, I have not admitted to anything, OK, full stop.

      “I will check the minute of the meeting and we’ll see what the minute says.

      “You can’t do that at the weekend.

      “I don’t know if they’re verbatim, I don’t know. Well, there is always notes taken at a meeting. I’m not saying it’s a minute, I’m saying it’s notes and I would have to check these notes.

      “I can hardly even remember the details of this case, quite frankly.

      “When was this case, do you know? I don’t remember saying anything even closely related to that.

      “It’s up to the people who were there to have their opinions, I’ll have mine.

      “I would certainly like to know who you spoke to certainly.

      “That doesn’t mean to say what they’re saying is true.

      “Surely I will have some redress.”[/i]

  7. Why wont McAveety reveal what the events were? Very sinister behaviour indeed.

    I think McAveety has been using this bus for labour party business.

    Come on McAveety spill the beans or are you hiding something.

  8. Is this one of the buses used by Labour at elections, to pick up the old folk and have them taken to the polling booths?

  9. I would just like to say how refreshing it is to see some investigative journalism happening in Scotland. I think that there will be a lot of this kind of behavior happening among the comfortable Glasgow Labour MSP’s and councilors.

    Keep it up Newsnet. Fantastic work!

  10. Early Ball,

    “There is no mention of Labour in the O’Rourke article. Funny that.”

    Err, there is:

    [quote]At his home in Pollok, O’Rourke – who has been a [b]Labour councillor[/b] since 1996 and sits on Strathclyde Police Authority – denied making the remarks.[/quote]

    [My highlighting]

  11. Great piece Newsnet! Labour looking like they are a lot less than clean again!
    I read the O’Rourke article! It took a lot of reading to see that he is a labour councillor though! No surprise there!

  12. McAveety could have bought a bus cheaper.

    Click for full details of 1989 Daf MB 230 PLaxton Paramount 3500 51 seater
    1989 Daf MB 230 PLaxton Paramount 3500 51 seater
    £5,500 + VAT

  13. On the day the Lib Dems finish their party conference. I think it’s worth reminding everyone of what Michael Moore said when he gave evidence to the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee on 16 February. He said if the Scottish Parliament voted against the Scotland Bill he would abandon Sewel convention of the Scottish Parliament and force the bill through from Westminster. Again this sets a precedent if Westminster does this once it’s sets a precedent to do it again anytime. The Scotland Bill also has legislation to allow Westminster to begin meddling in all devolved matters once it is passed. Here is a link to the details of his statement from the Devolution Matters website:- http://devolutionmatters.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/westminster-legislation-and-the-sewel-convention/
    This is an attack on devolution itself as is the whole Scotland Bill and it’s serves as a reminder the Lib Dems are an active participant in the process.

  14. Isn’t a Scottish Secretary supposed to protect Scotland’s interests in London. So why is that useless blob doing the opposite? Maybe the people who voted for him need to look at what he’s up to.

  15. [quote name=”colin8652″]talking of Moore has anyone else saw the story from Perth yesterday where the lib dems had to get security guards to sit in the auditorium so that Moore had someone to deliver his speech to.

    Talking of the lib dems – their party political broadcast with Charles Kennedy was quite good news. He went on at great lengths how as a Shetlander the Scottish head prefect of the UK party understood why decisions needed to made nearer to home and not in a central place far far away. Excellent, another convert to independence from a place far far away. If independence is not in their manifesto can someone get them for trades description porkies?

  16. I’m loving Newsnet Scotland. This is the kind of dirt digging the likes of the Herald and Scotsman should be doing rather than trying to prop up the Labour Party. More articles like this please!

  17. I would love to know just how many miles this antiquated bus travelled as a mobile constituency office ?. Suspect less than a few hundred. About 100 a mile then. Darn expensive project. How many people visited the ‘surgery’ precious few I suspect. Scary, but no surprise. Excellent investigative journalism Newsnet. A dying breed resurecting Pheonix-like !. Wonderful.

  18. [quote name=”Vakov2000″]Moore said … he would abandon Sewel convention of the Scottish Parliament and force the bill through from Westminster. Again this sets a precedent if Westminster does this once it’s sets a precedent to do it again anytime.[/quote]

    I agree 100% that this is a very serious matter, confirming the L-D shift away from federalism, despite Scott’s emulation of dour Iain’s supposed arms-length relationship with his London masters on the BBC Politics Show just now.

    More worrying is that on the Scottish Government website, there’s a clear statement about the [i]Sewel Convention[/i] at [url]http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/Sewel/KeyFacts[/url]. Worryingly, on the UK parliament site, there’s a snippet on Sewel: “[i]The Sewel Convention applies when the main Parliament legislates on a matter which is normally dealt with by the Scottish Parliament as part of its work. This will happen only if the Scottish Parliament has given its consent[/i]”

    This is followed by a link to [i]Further information[/i] in a PDF, which is a single statement that it has been moved, giving a broken link.

    Moore seems to have been less efficient in his own office, as the Scotland Office still currently have a clear statement on Sewel similar lines to the SG one. See [url]http://www.scotlandoffice.gov.uk/scotlandoffice/10182.html[/url]. It will be interesting to see if that disappears when Moore gets back to his day job.

  19. Once again NS comes up with the real stories,not the usual party press releases(mainly labour)
    RE-CURLY BILL POST.
    If this story takes legs and cant be avoided by the media you can expect the media to go full steam ahead against the snp with smears and lies.
    They wont care if they are true or not,as long as they can get enough headlines of SNP BAD.
    Because the readers of the red tops will just read the headline and go on to the sports or the celeb pxxh.

  20. I traveled to school on a similar bus & that was 30yrs ago. Maybe he wanted to be a bus driver when he was a wee boy & now he’s got his own,wonder who his clippy was any ideas?

    Great article that gave me a good laugh,the thing that bothers me how many others? Who are supposed to represent us are wasting our money in such a way.

    SAOR ALBA

  21. Surgery! You could fit a full size operating theatre in there!

    Intriguing questions do arise.

    One of these is the pattern of invoicing from Ferrymill Motors. I am sure that they have good reason for invoicing in the way that they have, but in these days it is, perhaps, unwise to do so in a manner that might give rise to suspicion that a firm is issuing invoices to a politician “on request”.

    Note the pattern of invoices –

    In May 2007, McAveety paid Ferryhill Motors £4,700 for Hall Hire/surgeries (ie the bus). Since the details aren’t shown we don’t know how long that contract was for and whether it included any upfront costs for that pretty livery.

    Let’s assume that it was for a 12 month period and not just a creation that appeared for the 2007 election campaign – if so, it cost the Scottish taxpayer £392 per month.

    The next payment to Ferrymill Motors for the bus came in October 2008 – a massive 17 months after the first payment (Ferrymill are no doubt understanding souls and didn’t bother submitting a further invoice to McAveety before then). That payment was for £4,406.25 – an average of only £258 per month – perhaps the fancy livery wasn’t involved this time.
    October 2008 is an interesting date, because that’s when the old MSP Expenses Scheme ended and the new one began

    (Lost the will to live yet? bear with me – there’s more to come!)

    Under the new Expenses Scheme, MSPs allowances were differently categorised. With the separation of the former Member Support Allowance (MSA) into the Office Cost Provision (OCP) and the Staff Cost Provision (SCP), virement was only permitted one way from the former to the latter. That left a number of MSPs in a difficult position due to contracts that they had signed under the old arrangements. McAveety was one of these – he claimed.

    In May 2009, those cruel capitalists at Ferrymill Motors invoiced McAveety for £5,198 for a mere 7 months (average £746 per month) – that’s even worse than the PFI schemes McAveety is so keen on! Fortunately, McAveety was granted additional funds by the Parliament for that financial year.

  22. Well done Newsnet Scotland; that is becoming a well-worn phrase around here, long may it continue:-)

  23. O’Rourke’s story is front page Sunday Mail (don’t buy it, was up getting eggs!) and in the Daily Record website.

    Why not the BBC? Not a trace.

    Curley bill – what’s with the description ************** with regards to the readers? My father reads that very same paper, but has not interest whatsoever in bigotry and is also an SNP supporter. Comments like that are unhelpful.

    [b][Comment edited by Moderation Team 3.35pm 6 March 2011

    Reference to removed remark taken out.][/b]

  24. I have to admit that I am puzzled by McAveety’s response to Newsnet –

    [i]“Over the period of use for the bus over a number of years the costs have varied and [b]only in recent years have costs been higher due to an unavoidable change in garaging facilities[/b]. I have been in discussion with other facilities on how to garage and secure the bus and would expect that arrangement to be in place if elected after May 2011.”[/i]

    The Scottish Parliament Corporate Body reported McAveety’s claim for additional expenses in [i]SPCB(2009)Paper 75[/i] that

    [i]”He had for a number of years hired a bus on an annual basis for the purpose of undertaking mobile surgeries within his constituency. He has to date been able to meet these costs within his expenses provision. The cost of hire this year has increased by approximately £800 in relation to last year.”[/i]

    To be precise – £791.75 was the difference between the two invoices, but the time periods covered are dissimilar as I showed previously.

    So the [b]hire[/b] cost has now somehow transmogrified into [b]garaging facilities[/b]?

    Who in their right mind would hire a bus, but expect to provide the garaging facilities?

    As a former Principal Teacher of English one would expect McAveety to have at least a nodding acquaintance with the need to use language accurately.

  25. Another thought about McAveety

    The MSP Expenses Scheme gives an allowance for Members’ Support Allowances split into two categories – Office Cost Provision and Staff Cost Provision.

    Most MSPs transfer money from Office Cost to Staff Cost (quite reasonable). It has always been unusual to transfer money the other way round, but that’s how McAveety funded his bus – by hiring fewer people, he could get a big bus plastered with his name at “community events”. Was it there at the fitba match with the press, where he swore at the ref?

  26. “S3M-7718 Mr Frank McAveety: Bus Service Withdrawals in the East End of Glasgow—That the Parliament is concerned by the decision by First Bus to withdraw what it considers to be the vital 43 service in the evening and the 64 service after 7 pm on week nights and on Sundays; believes that insufficient consideration has been given to those adversely effected by the changes; is of the view that the east end of Glasgow cannot afford to lose any more bus services;…”

    Frank just get your old Alexander Blue Bird PE53 out ….. that would solve it and run it off your parliamentary expenses as ‘constituency services’.

    Maybe Frank’s a vintage bus nut?

    • [quote name=”Mad Jock McMad”]”Frank just get your old Alexander Blue Bird PE53 out[/quote]

      Good heaven’s man! Don’t you recognise that McAveety’s bus is an Alexander ‘AYS’ body on a Leyland Leopard chassis,with B53F seating?.!!!!

      The bus spotters who hang around the First Glasgow depot in Victoria Road, would put you right on that. Indeed, they probably have a record of every occasion of when this particular bus has entered/left the Larkfield depot.

      • Looked like the PE53 I used to work as an Alexander’s ‘clippie’ on the Perth Edinburgh and Leven High Road routes during my student holidays.

  27. Speaking of Libs what about this one.
    Do you remember Nicol Stephen saying he was standing down as leader of Lib/Dems to spend more time with his family who are based in Aberdeen and he spends most of his time in Edinburgh.
    He is now a Lord??? and will be spending his time in London,what about his family now,is this just another sign of hypocricy from the Lie/Libs.

    Good article by the way just keep digging.

  28. Surely who ever pays for the road tax and MOT is the owner.
    Frankie boy claimed for road tax and the MOT.

  29. Am I missing something? My MSP has surgeries in Kilmarnock and surrounding towns and villages. He hires out community halls and drives his own car to all of his surgeries.

    Frank McAveety is a Glasgow MSP and I imagine has a smaller constituency in terms of area. He does hold surgeries in area halls http://frankmcaveety.org.uk/advice-surgeries/ . So why exactly does he need a bus as a mobile surgery? In fact I don’t see any mention of the bus in his list of surgery times or venues, his photo gallery, YouTube channel or indeed anywhere on his site.

    I can see an MSP from a rural area where the population density was low having a bus but in Glasgow? It’s not as if someone with a problem can’t easily get to one of the halls listed. Even the traffic must cause problems not to mention the parking.

    Am I being totally thick here and missing the obvious?

  30. Yes, fittie. Looks like Frank McAveety got an old bus purchased, repainted, maintained, taxed, MoT’d and garaged all at the taxpayers’ expense. For the exclusive use of the Labour Party, of course.

    What a wheeze!

  31. Most of my extended family live in or near Frank McAveety’s consituency. None of them can ever recall seeing a McAveety bus at ‘community events’.

  32. From franks parliament contact page:

    [url]http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/msp/memberspages/frank_mcaveety/contact.htm[/url]

    “Office hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm. Plus additional times made available from the mobile parliamentary advice bus.”

    Glad to see a MSP working a 9-4.30 week and then hitting the road in his bus. I hope he is claiming overtime.

  33. Can I phone McAveety to arriva at my hoose
    on a dial a bus?

    McAveety will not disclose when the bus was ever used to visit his constituents in Shettleson or any other information on the use of this bus.

    Frank is not being frank.

  34. Is that a purple bus hiding away behind the building at Ferrymill Motors?

    [url]http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=G64+4BP&aq=&sll=55.941245,-4.208064&sspn=0.009133,0.038538&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Glasgow+G64+4BP,+United+Kingdom&ll=55.943572,-4.20524&spn=0.000571,0.002409&t=h&z=19[/url]

  35. What’s the chance of tghe likes of the Evening Times picking up on this? – diddly, I suppose.

    This all seems very curious. Anyone know if there is a mechanism for Holyrood expenses body to investigate this? How did the McLetchie affair get investigated?

  36. [Comment edited by Moderation Team 3.32pm 6 March 2011

    Please refrain from insulting a large segment of the Scottish population.)

    Sincere apologies. And to your pa too, enneffess.

  37. [quote name=”lurker1″]Is that a purple bus hiding away behind the building at Ferrymill Motors?

    [url]http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=G64+4BP&aq=&sll=55.941245,-4.208064&sspn=0.009133,0.038538&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Glasgow+G64+4BP,+United+Kingdom&ll=55.943572,-4.20524&spn=0.000571,0.002409&t=h&z=19[/url][/quote]

    Na IT,S A DIRTY RED ONE.

    • The judge delayed sentencing for four weeks for reports. That should make sentencing around 10th March.

  38. Maybe the reasons why he would not correct the “assumptions and factual inaccuracies relating to the Parliamentary mobile bus”. Is that they are worse than what has been reported, so they miht be wrong right enough.

    It’s going to stop being news that Labour MP’s/Councillors are upto no good, and the news will be when they find someone being open and frank about what they are doing/done.

  39. Off-topic albeit related to Labour’s woes…..

    The Grauniad has a brand new article telling us that Labour are all out of step bar dour Iain with their: [b]Labour admits ‘tough’ penal policy failed to stem reoffending[/b] at [url]http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/mar/06/labour-penal-policy-failed-reoffending[/url], telling us that “[i]Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan is to argue for a change in party policy on prisons[/i]” in a speech to a [i]Fabian Society/Prison Reform Trust event[/i].

    Can’t wait to hear him change tack at FMQs.

  40. Not mentioned in McAveety’s parliament page in 2009. Way Back Machine has some older versions.

    http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20090227054036/http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/MSP/MembersPages/frank_mcaveety/contact.htm

    I checked the date in the HTML and it was yesterday but so was Eck’s. I can’t see a way to find when the bus section was added but it wasn’t there for all of his bus rental period.

    WayBack Machine didn’t have a record of McAveety’s personal site but it will start checking it now.

  41. and there lies the difference between the tory’s and labour.
    as the cries go out around holyrood

    Taxi for Mcletchie BUT
    Bus for McAveety
    all that’s missing is
    bike for Harvey!
    Sid

    • This site has credited the Greens with not claiming for tea and biscuits. We can now further credit them with not claiming the [i]”combined savings on Income Tax, National Insurance and potentially VAT contributions of up to 50% of the value of the bicycle and cycle safety equipment can be achieved.”[/i] which using the bike to get to work that the MSP Expenses Scheme would have entitled them to.

  42. The Indi has an extensive article on the Gadaffi donations to the LSE and claims that Gadaffi’s son had his thesis written for him by someone else. In addition, the article gives chapter and verse on other UK universities which have accepted substantial sums of money, quoting the amounts, from regimes which suppress their own populations. The list includes some Scottish unis’. This seems to me to cast a shadow on institutions that are happy to accept the money and on the personalities and politicians who take up rectorships in the full knowledge of the background to these donations.

  43. Just another thought.

    Can Macca drive a bus?

    if not, then

    who drives Macca’s bus?

    Who pays the driver?

  44. I didn’t get the tax breaks on buying a bike because the council didn’t have a scheme in place. I asked them a number of times. I also contacted Patrick Harvie who said he would get onto it.

    I gave in and just bought a new bike in August.

    I’d quite like an old LRT Routemaster, and they were for sale quite cheaply in 2006, but the memsahib said no.

  45. Slightly off topic: I notice that the franks website is produced by [url]http://furber-consultancy.com/[/url]

    This company has also done websites for Jim Murphys, Andy Kerr and Ken Livingston.

    The MD of furber consultancy is a “campaigner and an activist”, worked as a Media Officer for Ken Livingston and has also stood as a Labour candidate.

    [url]http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ben-furber/28/144/34b[/url]

    Presumably public money was spent on franks website.

    Where is the openness & transparency? conflict of interest anyone? Jobs for the boys?

    Why do the Scottish Parliament allow these arrangements to exist?

    • [quote name=”lurker1″]Why do the Scottish Parliament allow these arrangements to exist?[/quote]

      If you notice, the comments by MSPs (and MPs) when questioned about their expenses always include a statement like

      [i]”The costs have been approved by the Parliamentary authorities and are within the overall cost envelope for office costs.”[/i] (which is what Newsnet tell me was part of McAveety’s response).

      They like to give the impression that their claims have been subjected to forensic enquiry before approval. This is wholly misleading. The job of the staff at the SPCB is to ensure that there is an appropriate invoice for the claim and that it fits in with the appropriate head of expenditure, and that there is sufficient balance left to meet the claim.

      The total responsibility is on the MSP to certify that the claim is appropriate in terms of “value for money “ and “efficiency and effectiveness” in line with para 1.1.2 of the Members’ Expenses Scheme (as this article points out).

  46. I doubt if it’s illegal and the web page was actually produced and hosted.

    Having said that I sometimes have to hire… err busses… for school and if I knew someone with a bus hire company I would not be comfortable giving them the business unless they were cheaper than other quotations.

    Even then I would make very sure everything was above board and seen to be so.

  47. Again good digging by whoever at Newsnet Scotland.

    Re.

    [i]“Mr McAveety attacked what he claimed were “factual inaccuracies” made by Newsnet Scotland.”[/i]

    I am not surprised at this, I had similar comment made to me by Russell Brown M.P. (a couple or more years ago) when I wrote to him and about him to “The Telegraph” and just about anyone else who I could think of. I was looking for information he had promised me and monthly since then I emailed him, asking for the information and also what were the inaccuracies – rather strangely, the information arrived last month – not a twitter about the inaccuracies. I am currently engaging him yet again and have challenged him to reveal what part of my assertions/allegations were inaccurate. I do not hold out a lot of hope. (It is all to do with the Gary MacKinnon – the Pentagon Hacker case).

    • Drew –

      If you find any life on planet Russell Brown – let me know he and Elaine Murray can’t find their backsides with both hands and a map.

      I tussled with hime a couple of years ago about his claim that he got the new medical surgeries at CD and Dalbeatie built.

      I pointed out that it was a bit strange as he has no jurisdiction over NHS Scotland as the MP as the campaign had been lead by Hercules Fergusson and Alisdair Morgan …. not I think you could agree much to do with Labour or our MP!.

      Shadow for Defence … pah!

  48. [quote name=”Arraniki”]Just another thought.

    Can Macca drive a bus?

    if not, then

    who drives Macca’s bus?

    Who pays the driver?[/quote]

    If the bus is being used as a private vehicle, Frankie boy can drive it on a car licence. Think of it as a big motorhome.

    Oh hell, he might start claiming second home allowance on it now…….

  49. Off topic.
    Slightly!

    Would it not be more financially beneficial to the SNP if Brian Souter was to match pound for pound every pound claimed by labour in expences?

    Could he afford it?

  50. I have just had a thought(yes i do have them)
    Does anyone know what has happened to wee glen cambell?
    Are the bbc keeping him in reserve till the may election?i miss getting angry at his antics.

    • 1st of February he celebrated the Bell rock Lighthouse 200 birthday.

      The 9th he was sent home to Islay to comment the 150 p a litre petrol.

      The 21st he perorated about the advantages of the double summer time, particularly for Scotland in winter.

      Nothing since.

      Gosh! Do I love to use my grankid sticky darts on the telly screen when he shows.

  51. [quote name=”oldnat”]
    The total responsibility is on the MSP to certify that the claim is appropriate in terms of “value for money “ and “efficiency and effectiveness” in line with para 1.1.2 of the Members’ Expenses Scheme (as this article points out).[/quote]

    I wonder how often MSPs are challenged (by parliament) to prove these features? Multiple independent quotes would do it. I’m surprised companies with clear Labour links are not challenged as being inappropriate. (Computing for Labour is another example)

  52. [quote name=”robbie”][quote name=”Drew1314″]Breaking News.

    More dirty washing in Labour?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/8364597/Ed-Balls-and-Yvette-Cooper-referred-to-watchdog-over-childrens-expenses.htm%5B/quote%5D
    Yer link disnae work.[/quote]

    [url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/8364597/Ed-Balls-and-Yvette-Cooper-referred-to-watchdog-over-childrens-expenses.html]Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper referred to watchdog over childrens’ expenses – Telegraph[/url]

  53. I see that Major Eric Joyce MP has once again excelled himself with his Parliamentary expenses- this time £200,000. The most expensive MP in Britain.
    Incidentally, he also uses Jim Devine’s friendly printer- Armstrong Printing- who lists Margaret Brisley, Labour Councillor for Bannockburn, as one of its Directors.
    Why dont Labour just print their own money while they are at it!

    • Must be a Labour Livingstone thing, Bristow Muldoon (the former Labour MSP) used Armstrong Printing as well.

      Actually Muldoon’s claims look interesting.

      Expenditure Type : “Printing and Photocopying Charges” – Armstrong Printing Ltd Invoice date 23/3/06 – 4pp Newsletter full colour 35,000 per advice note No 0311 dated 23/3/06 : Cost £2,150

      Expenditure Type : “Printing and Photocopying Charges” – Armstrong Printing Ltd Invoice date30/3/06 – 5000 extra copies 4pp Newsletter per advice note No 0335 dated 30/3/06 : Cost £525

      35,000 is a very common number of Annual Reports to be invoiced for. Why did Muldoon order 35,000 on 23 March, and another 5,000 a week later when he had been the MSP for the last 3 years? Didn’t he know how many leaflets were needed? Did Armstrong Printing do another favour for his pal Devine?

      Someone might want to do a little more digging.

      • Did a little more myself.

        2004-5 Muldoon claimed for –

        Printing and Photocopying Charges ARMSTRONG PRINTING LTD 31/03/2005 March 2005 £1,625.00

        He seemed to get by with a single order in that year.

        Interestingly, Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics says that the number of households in Livingstone was exactly the same in 2006 as it had been in 2005 – 38,146.

  54. As a mere English teacher and not a head of department, I find it interesting that the above quote, (if verbatim), and Frank’s webpage should illustrate such poor command of the English language. He seems unaware of the difference in meaning between ‘affected’ and ‘effected’ and isn’t very good at putting in apostrophes either.
    Also, if the WPCs complaint is found to have any basis in fact, it is deeply worrying that a person with his lack of understanding of child protection issues and liberal views towards pedophiles should have ever been in the teaching profession and is now a politician.
    Scary folk these NuLiebore sc*m.

  55. Dear Tom,

    I think Frank is being accused of being a bus expenses cheat. I think O’Rourke is accused of being in favour of lowering the age of consent to nine, which, if true, will end his political career.

    Your post rather ties the former into the latter. Why hit only one target when there are two up for grabs?

    I must have taken a sicky the day they explained apostrophes’.

    🙂

  56. [quote name=”lurker1″]Slightly off topic: I notice that the franks website is produced by [url]http://furber-consultancy.com/[/url]

    This company has also done websites for Jim Murphys, Andy Kerr and Ken Livingston.

    The MD of furber consultancy is a “campaigner and an activist”, worked as a Media Officer for Ken Livingston and has also stood as a Labour candidate.

    [url]http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ben-furber/28/144/34b[/url]

    Presumably public money was spent on franks website.

    Where is the openness & transparency? conflict of interest anyone? Jobs for the boys?

    Why do the Scottish Parliament allow these arrangements to exist?[/quote]

    I take it you haven’t heard of Computing For Labour?

  57. [quote name=”rgweir”]I have just had a thought(yes i do have them)
    Does anyone know what has happened to wee glen cambell?
    Are the bbc keeping him in reserve till the may election?i miss getting angry at his antics.[/quote]

    Have he not been moonlighting on Radio 4? Have to say he comes across a lot more reasonable there than on BBC Scotland.

  58. [s]http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-12664554[/s]

    Willie O’Rourke suspended from the Labour Party.

  59. Labour Bus Services. Circular service in play.
    Holyrood, to Ferryhill, to Armstrong Printing, to ME Printing, To Labour “Scottish HQ to Holyrood, and again.
    Surely not?

  60. [quote name=”douglas clark”]Dear Tom,

    I think Frank is being accused of being a bus expenses cheat. I think O’Rourke is accused of being in favour of lowering the age of consent to nine, which, if true, will end his political career.

    Your post rather ties the former into the latter. Why hit only one target when there are two up for grabs?

    I must have taken a sicky the day they explained apostrophes’.

    :-)[/quote]

    My bad for typing when very tired. The O’Rourke story broke in the Hootsmon today so it was obviously too big to be quietly swept under the carpet as these things usually are when it involves the unionist parties.
    Cheers.

  61. [quote name=”velofello”]Labour Bus Services. Circular service in play.
    Holyrood, to Ferryhill, to Armstrong Printing, to ME Printing, To Labour “Scottish HQ to Holyrood, and again.
    Surely not?[/quote]

    The big difference with that route is the incredibly high prices charged for the service, usually thousands of pounds per circuit. Troughing by omnibus! You couldn’t make it up.

  62. For anyone wanting a bit of light relief why not try this:

    [url]http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=198954160124448&set=a.133605829992615.18446.100000295962370&theater[/url]

    Some of the pictures/posters are really quite good!

  63. [quote name=”MAcandroid”]I contacted the webmaster and the link has been fixed !
    http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/briefings/snpc-02084.pdf%5B/quote%5D

    Thanks for your perseverance. I recall having been able to view that 2005 note at the time of the Calman interim report, and would recommend reading both that and the take on the Scottish Government version – [url]http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/Sewel/KeyFacts[/url]. The following para on P2 of the PDF is the key, I think: “[i]The Sewel Convention is just that: a convention. It is not enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998. However, it was embodied in the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK Government and the devolved executives, which was drawn up in 1999. The Memorandum gives a broad statement of principles for relations between the executive authorities in the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Memorandum is not intended to be legally binding, but it does represent a political undertaking.[/i]”

    That it is [u]not[/u] a [i]political undertaking[/i] from the current UK government is now patently obvious from the way the Scotland bill is being rammed through both Holyrood and Westminster, with all three commissioning parties now seemingly having collective amnesia over their original support for Calman’s proposals.

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