UPDATED TODAY: DID TEATHER CHARGE TAXPAYER FOR PHONE CAMPAIGNING?
Scrapbook blogged last week on the continuing sleaze investigation into the office expenses of Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather. The former ‘Baby of the House’ shares her taxpayer-funded constituency premises with the political campaign wing of the local party, despite parliamentary rules that outlaw sub-lets and state that “claims cannot relate to party political activity of any sort”.
The rebuttal given to the local paper was that the arrangement was not a sub-let but a shared tenancy, which is permitted provided certain provisions are met:
“Sarah Teather MP does not and has never sublet her office to Brent Liberal Democrats or anyone else. She and Brent Liberal Democrats have a joint tenancy, with the division of costs agreed by a surveyor and drawn up by a solicitor.”
Indeed, this is backed up by the latest annual accounts submitted by Brent Lib Dems to the Electoral Commission: “Since December 2003 the local party has shared the tenancy of the office at 1 High Road Willesden with the Brent East MP Sarah Teather”.
Unfortunately for Ms. Teather, however, the same set of accounts show clearly that absolutely nothing was expended on rent for five years.* Perhaps this is some kind of special tenancy where the taxpayer picks up the tab for Liberal Democrat political campaigning?
This raises the question as to who has been lied to here.
Is it the Harrow Observer or the Electoral Commission?
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