Tower Hamlets Watch

Poplar & Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick ordered to pay back Public Funds & apologise to Parliament | September 20, 2010


Jim Fitzpatrick looking Glum Jim Fitzpatrick who last year accused the Tower Hamlets Conservative Party Councillors of mud-slinging in the run up to the election in thier accusations of mispending public funds. The accusations by the Conservative Party councillors was that he had been basically been misusing public funds, in that he had “used House of Commons provided stationery and pre-paid envelopes when sending unsolicited correspondence to constituents in July 2009.”

Tory councillor Ahmed Hussain and Peter Golds, the Conservative leader in Tower Hamlets, received mail from Mr Fitzpatrick. Mr Hussain said: “This is political campaigning, and I want it to be investigated. This is misuse of taxpayers’ money.” – MP ‘spent taxpayers’ money on coffee morning mail shots’ Evening Standard October 2009

Mr Golds detailed his accusation in a letter to the parliamentary commissioner for standards in September 2009.

After quite some time and some unnecessary delays and denials, the commission went on to confirm that the allegations by Mr Peter Golds had basically been correct, and that Mr Jim Fitzpatrick had actually been “in clear breach of the rules of the House” he was ordered to pay back the money for the envelopes, and assorted stationary. Not just the £24 he offered but the full £557 for sending out some 1,700 letters and envelopes unsolicited which is clearly in breach of house of commons rules & regulations, which had spanned a few years.

Although the commitee found that “the seriousness of the breach was well towards the lower end of the scale” they became more disturbed by the fact that Mr Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar & Limehouse has now been accused himself by the parliamentary “Commons standards and privileges committee” yesterday of delaying the outcome of their investigation into the Conservative allegations until after the election so that he could;

avoid the fact that he had breached the rules becoming public knowledge at a politically sensitive time

.

Please take the time to read through the entire committees investigation (Standards and Privileges Committee – First Report Jim Fitzpatrick), you will find evidence of Mr Fitzpatricks disregard for the commitee and his delaying of an official investigation into his conduct.

In Mr Fitzpatricks own evidence he admits to delaying the investigation for political gain;

“15. When asked why he had changed his mind about accepting rectification, Mr Fitzpatrick replied that, whereas he had told the Commissioner in May 2010 that the decision “was not influenced by the imminence of a general election” he would now say that the decision had not been “wholly influenced” by the imminence of the election.[18] Mr Fitzpatrick told us about a meeting he had attended during the election campaign, at which the complaint about his use of expenses had been raised by a political opponent but he nonetheless felt he had won the support of the meeting. He gave us to believe that if he had by then been found to have breached the rules “that would have been a very different issue.” – Mr Fitzpatricks Evidence

In the conclusions it shows that;

“20. It is clear from his oral evidence that Mr Fitzpatrick calculated that, if he accepted that he had breached the rules and apologised for that breach, the information could be used against him by his political opponents in the general election campaign which was then imminent. This, together with his view that the rules were unreasonably restrictive, caused him “discomfort” and led him to change his mind just two weeks before Parliament was dissolved—which was more than a month after the Commissioner had sent him a draft of the letter of rectification. Immediately after the election, Mr Fitzpatrick denied to the Commissioner that the imminence of the general election had had anything to do with his change of heart. However, he told us in oral evidence that this was not wholly true. ” – Conclusions of the committee

One of the committees recommendations are set out below;

“Recommendation

22. We are disappointed that Jim Fitzpatrick chose in the run-up to the general election to rescind his acceptance of an offer by the Commissioner to rectify what was a minor breach of the rules—which would have required only an apology, his agreement to transfer the expenditure to the correct account, and the repayment of £24. We recommend that Mr Fitzpatrick apologise to the House in writing, through this Committee, not only for the breach but also for his conduct, which had the effect of postponing the resolution of the complaint against him until after the general election. We further recommend that Mr Fitzpatrick repay to the House from his own pocket the entire £557 cost of provided stationery and pre-paid envelopes misused by him in the period 2007-09.” – Commitees Recommedations

So with his own mouth it looks like he’s admitting to playing the political game in the hope of securing his position within parliament, and on such a minor matter. If hes willing to waste taxpayers money, and then to delay an investigation into such minor matters then what else is he capable of?

These are the types of politicians we have running our local issues, can we really trust any of these people?

On another note, almost a week later and there has not been a peep from the East London Advertiser on this. Surely this is classed as local news, surely it deserves a mention on their website?.


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