He Works For Me…

…and he’s paid enough to do so. Who do I mean? Why my MP of course.

Thanks very much to the excellent They Work For You site, where I managed to dig out this information. Unless otherwise stated, all of the information comes from the Dave Anderson page there.

My MP is Dave Anderson (Labour, Blaydon). I’ve no axe to grind with Dave: I contacted him once over something and his office got back to me with the information I was after. I have just picked on him because he is my MP, so I guess I ought to know what he’s voting for or against … and how much he is costing the taxpayer to do so. (Sorry, Dave!)

His voting record shows the following…


  • Voted very strongly for introducing ID cards
  • Voted very strongly for Labour’s anti-terrorism laws
  • Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war
  • Voted very strongly for equal gay rights

Hmm. As far as I am concerned that is three misses and only one hit. This sort of thing is very useful, particularly in the run up to an election in actually checking up whether or not your politicians have been representing you exactly as they claim. What is also interesting to know is whether they regularly rebel, or, if like Dave your MP…

Hardly ever rebels against their party in this parliamentThey Work For You: Dave Anderson

Apparently the five topics he has discussed most are Industrial Diseases, Probation, Education, Iraq and bees. Bees?

He appears to be quite an active MP — having spoken in more than the average number of debates, has taken place in 78% of parliamentary votes (again more than average), has replied within 2 or 3 weeks to a very high proportion of people who have contacted him via They Work For You, and his average speech is understandable to a 16 or 17 year old, apparently.

Expenses & Costs

What about expenses?

For comparison 1: the range of claimed expenses for 5 nearby constituencies was between nearby MPs claimed between £146,269 and £155,222 — so he’s in the middle of that range.

For comparison 2: the nearest Conservative MP, Peter Atkinson (Hexham), claimed only (only!) £140,949 in expenses — but on the other hand spoke in a less than average number of debates, and voted in only 71% of parliamentary votes. And strangely was strongly in favour of the Iraq war, and then strongly in favour of an investigation into how we went to war with Iraq (…erm, ‘cos you voted for it, Peter?)

Anyway, back to Dave…

Assuming he’s on the standard MP’s salary (a miserly £61,820) then he’s costing the country well under a quarter a million pounds per year, having only claimed £151,343 in expenses in 2007. Now I’m not an MP, but it sounds like an awful lot to me — £213,000 for an MP. If every MP cost this (and let’s not forget cabinet ministers and the like cost more) — then parliament costs the British taxpayer around £140 million per year.

Sorry?? Hmm… when you think that people (including me) complain that the Royal Family cost the taxpayer forty million per year — and they probably bring in more tourism than the average MP — then I can’t help but think that we need to similarly cap and reduce the country’s expenditure on MPs…

…but it’s okay because despite a specific review looking at expenses, our MPs against the recommendations of that review and have instead have voted to keep … well, their noses in the trough, frankly … by hanging onto the John Lewis list, not exposing their expenses to any external auditing and so on (source: BBC News). Well I’m glad they think it’s okay. It’s just a shame the rest of us can’t vote in six-figure expenses claims, isn’t it?

Now, I accept Dave’s working more than average, and according to the register of Members Interests, the poor wee lamb doesn’t even have any company directorships to fall back on, having only received a few flights to and from the middle-east in what sound like work-related activities in the first place, but still… three thousand pounds on stationery??

It’s Your Turn

To be honest, I’m not so bothered about that. I’d rather have an effective, overpriced government than a cheap one working badly. So what does concern me is the voting record of MPs. Are they actually earning the money we’re paying them? Are they actually representing their constituency — or are they just toeing the party line?

And as far as my vote is concerned, are they representing me? Do they stand up for what I believe in?

Do you actually know how your MP votes? Or what expenses they claim? Or do you just tick the box that you’ve always ticked? Look them up. Find out. Remember, They Work For You. We have a powerful, democratic voice: if your MP isn’t representing you…

…then make sure people who think similarly know his or her voting record, and ensure that after the next election, They Don’t Work For You Anymore.

Let’s make the buggers remember that they are in parliament to represent their constituents, not just the leader of their political party…

5 Responses to “He Works For Me…”

  1. mark fairlamb responds:

    did you vote for him?
    i didn’t and as it happens i agree with his voting patterns more than you do.
    just goes to show….,

  2. (Ex) Collegue Man responds:

    Other than gay rights I disagree very strongly with what he voted for then, ID cards possibly still has the favour of the majority, but thanks to David Davis hopefully this will get a proper discussion now not just tabloid headlines leading the sheep to believe we are at risk.

  3. JackP responds:

    …of course, the tricky bit is that you can only see the voting record of the incumbent; you’ll have to make your own mind up what the voting record of the people standing against them is likely to be — although my bet would be ‘a tendency to toe the party line’ in most cases…

  4. Laurence responds:

    Having never voted for a Conservative in a general election, despite living in True Blue suburbia, I was concerned to observe that I have more sympathy with my MP’s voting record than Dave Blaydon’s…:-(

  5. mark fairlamb responds:

    actually, i’ve only ever voted once - just to prove a point.
    back in 1997 when everyone knew labour were going to wipe the floor with the tories (especially in gateshead, where they always do) I voted conservative.
    does every vote count?

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