Karen Allen

I fought South Shields at the May 2010 General Election for the Conservatives, gaining a 6.4% swing which was a 4% vote increase. The Conservatives polled 7,886 up from 5,207 in 2005. I was born in the North East and grew up in South Shields. I currently live in London and am employed as a Director at Lloyd's Broker Howden International.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Has the Expense Scandal been good for the Conservatives?

I was thinking about this today, further to meeting and speaking to people and it’s occurred to me is that actually the expense scandal is acting as a voting motivator. I was asked recently, by the Shields Gazette, to comment on the Hansard Society’s report on regional voting pattern, so I know that the North East, despite being in the top percentage of people in the country wanting to be involved with decision making at a local level, has one of the lowest voting turnouts in the United Kingdom. Talking to people now; talking to those who I know don’t generally even engage in political conversation, there are some pretty strong views out there on what has gone on and I think this will be translated as a higher voter turnout at the next General Election in the North East.

People feel disgusted with the system; let down by the Labour Government and Speaker Michael Martin who have presided over and indeed overseen the authorisation of fictional and extravagant expense claims. We keep hearing again and again “but he / she didn’t break the rules.” The bottom line is the rules didn’t really make much sense and the expense system requires a complete overhaul – it’s my personal view we should do away with expenses altogether and have a single allowance granted to MPs. I would even go further to say that I believe in our modern age of technology that MPs could retain their profession, could be more constituency based and indeed still do a better job than I would suggest many MPs do now. This of course would also provide further savings for the tax payer.

The mood on the streets is never more did the North East want change. Labour has let the country down; the people of the North East have been badly let down. So I urge the people of South Shields to use their vote at the next General Election; assuring them that by voting Conservative they are selecting the party championing transparency and accountability.

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