Given that more than 5,000 constituents had signed a petition calling for her resignation and polling indicated 81% of Tory activists wanted her out, it was clear to expenses-embattled Julie Kirkbride what she must do: say she would resign, wait a few months for things to calm down and then change her mind!
- Conspiring with her husband, fellow disgraced Tory Andrew MacKay MP, to claim full expenses for both their London and Worcestershire homes. This meant that all the couple’s accommodation was paid for by the taxpayer.
- Employing her sister as a secretary even though she lived 100 miles from her constituency.
- Allowing her brother to live rent free in her (taxpayer funded) house.
- Worked again with her husband to manipulate the system, both claiming nearly £2,000 in travel costs as “spousal travel”.
CCHQ were planning an open primary to be conducted by a postal ballot. There’s detailed background over at ConservativeHome:
The reality is that CCHQ have enabled her to pursue her change of heart. They have delayed and delayed starting the Bromsgrove application in order to accommodate Ms Kirkbride’s belief that – with time – local voters would be more forgiving towards her than at the height of the expenses crisis. The consensus in Westminster is that David Cameron promised to try and save Julie Kirkbride’s career at the time he forced her husband Andrew MacKay to step down. He was unable to do so because of the strength of public feeling at the time.
This is taking the piss.