Stourbridge News Column – Thursday 25th January 2018
Since my appearance on Question Time last Thursday, I have been very touched by the supportive messages left by friends and supporters. Sadly I was not surprised to have also received the abuse that has become the trademark of the far left on social media. A mix of abuse, lies and distortions is what people in public life can expect these days from the far left and indeed the far right in politics.
The biggest of these lies is that the Conservatives want to ‘privatise’ the NHS. The statement is never backed up by anything other than spurious campaigns and distorted data. But when a member of the Question Time audience (a Labour Councillor from Hampstead who had made the trip to Hereford…) popped up with the allegation, I defended my party and the Government vigorously. The NHS under the Conservatives will always be free at the point of delivery.
Those not routinely on Facebook may have also missed the following comment made by Trina Keane, Manager of Katie Fitzgerald’s in Stourbridge:
“Margot James expenses
1 Apr 2016 — 31 Mar 2017
I think we could all be millionaires and live in the Cotswolds if we could claim this from somewhere each year.”
I am always happy to defend my record. The figure you see above consists primarily of staffing costs – £131,605.44 to be exact. It pays for my four fantastic staff in my Worcester Street office and in my Westminster office – they care deeply about the people of Stourbridge and work tirelessly on my behalf. The remaining £28,845.15 is made up chiefly by office costs, such as office rent, utilities, internet bills and stationery. I only claim personally for mileage between London and Stourbridge and a portion of my work mobile phone bill. Together, this amounts to £2,621.55 – costs that wouldn’t be unusual to any business. I don’t claim for a second home, and I am set to underspend considerably on my office cost budget this year. Furthermore, none of this is a secret – it is all publicly available at www.theipsa.org.uk/mp-costs/. And as for my house in the Cotswolds, I bought it in 1999 after I sold my business, it has absolutely nothing to do with my work as your MP which started in 2010.
Mistrust in politics is more widespread than it has ever been, and I hope that through the facts, reasoned argument and debate, rather than trolling and shouting people down, we can improve our political discourse – and rebuild faith in our politics and democracy once again.
I will be in Stourbridge tomorrow for meetings with local mental health service staff and an advice surgery at Chawn Hill Church. I am also delighted to be joining Google in Stourbridge in the afternoon, where they will be offering local people of all ages free digital coaching and advice. The Google double decker bus will deliver training at the Crown Centre from 10am-6pm this Friday.
As ever, if you want to get in touch with me, please do email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give my Stourbridge team a call on 01384 370574. You can also follow my work on Facebook at fb.com/margotjamesofficial, or visit my website www.margotjames.com for more information about me and my work.