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Regional lobby man hits back at sleazy MPs

A leading regional political journalist has angrily hit back at MPs who demanded to know how much he claims in expenses.

Matt Chorley, the Westminster-based London editor of the Western Morning News, was challenged to reveal his claims at the height of the row over MPs’ expenses this week.

Matt, who is currently chairman of the Newspaper Conference, made up of London-based regional press reporters, says other regional journalists at Westminster were asked to do the same.

Now he has launched a thunderous attack on the parliamentarians, accusing them of an “ignorant” attempt to divert attention from their own sleazy antics.

He wrote on his blog: “In recent days I have been asked, by MPs, to publish my modest expenses. Colleagues in the regional press have been challenged by MPs to say how much they earn.

“This disgusting, ignorant attempt to divert attention away from a culture of sleaze totally ignores the fact that newspaper journalists are not paid out of the public purse.

“What publishers pay or allow through expenses is their decision and comes off the bottom line. What MPs claim for lamps and feather dusters and fancy hotels and rocking chairs and mock Tudor woodwork and allegedly fictitious mortgages comes out of YOUR taxes.

“Attacking the messenger is not the answer. MPs must get their own (second) house in order before democracy is undermined for good.”

Matt likened his own lifestyle as a regional lobby journalist to that of an MP – “but without the perks.”

“My wife lives in Somerset but my job requires me to be in London, where I rent a flat (no moat) using my salary,” he wrote.

“I earn nothing like the salary of MPs, and sadly the WMN does not stretch to paying out for bath plugs, housekeepers or wisteria trimming.

“The system needs to change, of course it does, but the mentality of MPs of all parties is what needs the biggest shake-up. The reputation of politics is going to be harder to fix than John Prescott’s loo seat.”

  • Read Matt’s piece in full here


    Sara Bradley (22/05/2009 09:17:00)
    Why is it so hard for MPs to understand the public have a right to know about their expenses because they are paid with our money. Have they forgotten the House of Commons is supposed to work for and represent us? I heard an MP justifying claims for a London property used by his daughter by saying it was normal for a father to offer a bed to a daughter in need. True. But that doesn’t explain why you expect me to pay for it.