- To make Gordon Brown change his mind and give us the referendum on the EU Constitution he promised.
- To vote for change - if you're sick of Gordon Brown's hopeless Government and Labour's Debt Crisis, this is your chance to show it.
- To support our plans to improve the NHS, for better school discipline, and to free our police from bureaucracy so they can get out and fight crime.
- To tell Gordon Brown we want a General Election - now!
Sunday, 31 May 2009
I will be in Halton during the week to continue to campaign on behalf of our MEP candidates and to meet with local people to discuss key local issues, including the vitally-important ongoing Mersey Gateway Public Enquiry (as well as how we can rebuild trust in politics, continuing my pledges on openness and expenses).
This week's elections are also an opportunity to put further pressure on Gordon Brown to call a general election. The country needs an election to give it's verdict on this incompetent government and morally bankrupt Members of Parliament.
Monday, 25 May 2009
Friday, 22 May 2009
Today, I am making a further "openness" pledge to the people of Halton; setting out further actions I would take (alongside my pledge on expenses http://benjaminjohnjones.blogspot.com/2009/03/my-expenses-pledge-to-voters-of-halton.html) to do my job as their MP.
I will continue to build on this pledge based on feedback as I believe it is vital that candidates and MPs listen to the electorate and respond accordingly if trust is to be rebuilt between voter and representative.
If I were to become the MP for Halton I would:
- Publish online my full voting, attendance, and speaking records from the House of Commons (and all written questions tabled and motions signed)
- Publish online a diary which details where I spent each day (and night) so that the people of Halton can see where I am working on their behalf
- Regularly update my website/blog so anyone can see what I work have been doing
- Publish contact details which include an "out of office hours" number so that constituents could contact me out of normal work hours
- Publish online my annual tax return/details of all my income (including any other jobs/paid appointments/work etc)
- Conduct regular polls/questionnaires of my constituents to find out their views on key issues- this help me decide how to vote in the House of Commons
- Hold regular surgeries at different times and locations in the constituency so it is convenient for my constituents
- Hold regular public meetings to discuss key issues concerning the people of Halton and account for my performance on their behalf- I would not make speeches at this meeting, but take questions and spend my time listening
The people of Halton have a right to know how I would behave as their MP, as I would work for them.
BEN Jones, the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Halton, said MPs have a mountain to climb to regain public trust in the wake of the expenses scandal.
Last week he delivered a five-point pledge to the electorate if he were elected to office.
He told the Weekly News this week: “The issue of MPs’ expenses continues to dominate the news and rightly raises serious questions about the culture of Westminster politics. I continue to despair that a number of MPs are still talking about the ‘rules’ and ‘the system’ rather than what is right and wrong.
“As I’ve said previously, we need a culture change in politics, which ensures that MPs claim only costs they legitimately incur to serve their constituents; not what they are ‘entitled’ to claim. We’ve been very badly let down by a number of MPs. I share the public anger over this shameful behaviour.
“My party wants to put responsibility at the heart of our society, we want to put thrift at the heart of our Government. So we’ve got to live by those values in politics and in Parliament.
“I’m glad to see that a number of candidates and MPs have made pledges on expenses and allowances to their electorates. I made my expenses pledge in March. I’m committed to playing my part in helping rebuild trust in politicians and politics, which has been shaken by this crisis. We have a lot of work to do!”
Thursday, 21 May 2009
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
I hope this is not evidence of appearing to support a popular campaign (i.e. jumping on a bandwagon) only to backtrack when no-one appears to be looking. I have written to the Home Secretary again today to continue my request for answers.
Sunday, 17 May 2009
I am glad to see that a number of candidates and MPs have made pledges or promises on expenses and allowances to their electorates. I made my expenses pledge in March (http://benjaminjohnjones.blogspot.com/2009/03/my-expenses-pledge-to-voters-of-halton.html) and am committed to playing my part in helping rebuild trust in politicians which has been shaken by this crisis. We have a lot of work to do.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
TOO many politicians are enriching themselves at taxpayers’ expense, says Ben Jones, the Conservative candidate for Halton at the next General Election. Mr Jones fired a verbal broadside against MPs who are milking the system and digging deep into the pockets of irate taxpayers. He’s announced a five-point pledge to win back the trust of an electorate fuming at the ‘snouts in the trough’ attitude of some MPs.
In his personal blog on his election campaign, he says: “MPs’ expenses have been in the news and the conduct of some MPs has attracted deserved criticism.”
Mr Jones says if he were elected, he would:
- Be completely open about all of his expenses and allowances, publishing full details each year;
- Only claim expenses for costs incurred doing his job as an MP, such as travel costs and office allowances;
- Provide receipts for all his expense claims;
- Not employ any members of his family; and
- Only claim expenses in relation to a second home if they were genuinely incurred.
He said: “The voters of Halton have a right to know how I’d behave as their MP and a right to know how all MPs are spending their money. Complete openness is the least they deserve.
“Recent events confirm my long-standing view that a culture change is needed in Westminster to regain public confidence in politicians when it comes to their expenses. I’m pleased that Sir Christopher Kelly has brought forward his committee’s inquiry but the time has come for more than a change of system and rules, but for a change in culture and approach.
“I’ve entered politics because I believe in public service. I want to make a contribution to my country and work for something greater than self-interest. The vast majority of MPs enter politics for the same reasons. But MPs now need to take responsibility for the mess that is parliamentary expenses and prove that is the case.
“Let’s be clear – MPs should claim expenses or allowances only when they incur a legitimate cost and have receipts to prove it, not because they are ‘entitled’ to claim them.
“The culture of claiming allowances because they are on offer and are seen as a salary top-up has to end. For those of us who only claim expenses we incur doing our jobs, the Westminster system is hard to stomach.”
They have warned that low pitch prices risk haemorrhaging council cash and increase the likelihood of council tax payers footing the bill.
The Tory councillors have demanded a new business plan to prevent ‘sky high’ increases in council tax.
In December they said a 50% site overspend could be followed by more cash losses.
Ben Jones, Conservative prospective candidate for Halton, said: “Some months ago Halton’s ruling Labour group refused to rule out the need for local residents to subsidise this site in the future, despite the fact that the Government plainly states that sites should pay for themselves.
“It is very disturbing that despite clear indications that the site is not presently meeting its targets to operate on a cost neutral basis, the Labour Party response is to avoid the difficult decision of addressing this matter now.”
A council spokeswoman said an early review would risk error and Travellers are being monitored.
She said: “The Traveller community is becoming more aware of the new transit site in Runcorn and occupancy has risen very quickly, with only two plots now vacant. “The site is part of a wider strategy to discourage trespassing on land. Since we opened the site there have only been two illegal incursions in Halton, which were dealt with immediately. This action would have been very difficult if the transit site had not been operational.
“In addition, it has avoided the unnecessary expense associated with managing the Traveller community – estimated at more than £100,000 a year in the past – and has reduced anti-social behaviour.” A site report will be released in June.