“They think we’ve all got our noses in the trough..”

On the Politics Show Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP, put forward a reasonable defence of his own expenses claims and of the principle behind the system of payments – although others will have to answer for themselves. He also identifies the real damage being done to the body politic and the need for reform there and here. But his defence of Sinn Féin MPs over the possible NI exemption clause – “[Sinn Féin] actually said to me ‘we want to be treated the same as everybody else'” – ignores the fact that the Sinn Féin MPs are currently being treated differently to everybody else..

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  • Silverline

    Was it not the Ulster Unionist Party that agreed to allow Sinn Fein along with the two governments under the Belfast Agreement to allow SF to get these expenses despite not taking there seats.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Shaun has been an all round good egg and surely one of the Labour partys best performers – although from a Nationalist viewpoint I would hate to see him go – if as expected El Gordo takes one up the political jacksie at the Euros and then dives on his sword, Shaun unfortunately could be promoted back to the mainland as he has played a blinder for the good guys.

  • “We’ve all got our noses in the trough..”

    I thought this was a direct quote/admission from Shaun whereas what he said was, “I think the public look at us right now – they think we’ve all got our noses in the trough …”

  • Pete Baker

    Fair point, Nevin.

    I’ll edit that quote to avoid further confusion.

  • MacBeth

    “Criminality is criminality is criminality”…Margaret Thatcher.
    Snouts-in-the-trough are snouts-in-the-trough.
    The two are synonymous.

  • AJJM

    Is this the same Shaun Woodward who claimed almost £100,000 to help pay the mortgage interest on a £1.35 million flat? Which is one of at least seven properties he owns? Even though he is the wealthiest member of cabinet?

    Good person to lecture on expenses then.

  • A Farmer outstanding in his own field

    Snouts were in the trough not noses so that makes everything hunky-dory.

    Test word going

  • Brian Walker

    A very adroit performance. You could hardly spot the kinks in the performance, he was so smooth. He’s the first cabinet minister to say “sorry” outright. He fires a little dart at the BBC’s bows,(“biscuits”) thus slightly undermining the presenter in the viewers’ eyes ( BBC – “rolling in a jacuzzi of money” is the subliminal thought from Shaun, himself a former BBC editor). He says it’s “awful, terrible” in general, but conforms to the cabinet’s ” line to take” in refusing to be implicated in criticism of any specific colleague. Is Jim right to say Woodward himself has nothing to answer for? “Shaun Woodward, the wealthiest member of the Cabinet, claimed almost £100,000 to help pay the mortgage interest on a £1.35 million flat which is one of at least seven properties he owns.” All within the rules of course. This was a bit glided over, I thought. To fulfil his duties, did he really have to buy a flat costing as much as £1.35 million, subsided by the public? Further disclosures may reveal that some Tory MPs did so; after all, you could pay off the mortgage in just over 10 years at the current rate and he claimed the maximum for the year for which receipts are available! Yes, the boy played a wee blinder. They should have him on the network. Just the right amount of Uriah Heep.

  • Expenses111

    The double and triple jobbing of the BBC should stop. Would love to know what the expenses of the 11 NI departments are.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    I put the blame directly on Ian Paisley senior. He started the ball rolling with McGuinness.

  • Silverline

    Ulsters my homeland

    sorry to disapoint you but it was the Ulster Unionist Party that agreed to allow Sinn Fein along with the two governments under the Belfast Agreement to allow SF to get these expenses despite not taking there seats.

  • Silverline, the decision was taken by the UK government. UUP influence would have trailed well behind the Irish government and SF.

  • blinding

    What is interesting about this issue is the smooth manner in which the politicians defend what has gone on.

    It brings one to doubt everything that they say when they can so smoothly defend what is wholly indefensible.

    Trust none of them they are all liars and thieves.

    Storm the Batille and ever so smoothly remove lying head from thieving body.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Have to agree. Shaun put in a sterling PR-formance.

    But it was odd for Jim Fitz not to ask him about the maximum second homes allowance claim, at a time when Woodward had been claiming rental income from London properties.

    Why not Jim? It’s a bigger issue than a packet of Family Circle biscuits! Or did Woodward’s skilfull ploy of turning the bickies back onto the BBC throw you?

  • you could pay off the mortgage in just over 10 years at the current rate and he claimed the maximum for the year for which receipts are available! Yes, the boy played a wee blinder. They should have him on the network. Just the right amount of Uriah Heep.