'Labour backbencher Jim Sheridan was facing a backlash last night after suggesting that journalists who mocked MPs should be banned from parliament.Of course Jim Sheridan's attitude towards to the press and press freedom is in no way affected by his appearance in the expenses scandal story, a story that The Telegraph broke. Here's what The Telegraph wrote about Jim Sheridan:
The comment came as the culture, media and sport committee took evidence from the Hacked Off pressure group on proposals for regulating the press.
In a swipe at Commons sketchwriters, Mr Sheridan said: “I don’t understand why they are allowed to come into this place and behave in the way that they do.”'
'But The Daily Telegraph can reveal details of how Mr Sheridan, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, benefited from the second homes allowance that Mr Martin vigorously defended.
Mr Sheridan previously rented a flat in London’s Dolphin Square, designating the property as his second home, and reclaiming the rent of about £3,400 every quarter.
In the 2005/06 financial year, he used his second homes allowance to pay a £991.95 bill for a Memory foam mattress and "ivory leather bed". A further £500 spent on furniture and household accessories that year was also claimed on his expenses.
Between January and April 2006, he reclaimed £699 for a three-seater sofa, £829 for a two-seater sofa bed, £219 for a coffee table and £199 for a lamp table.
In 2006/07, he bought a flat in London, designated it as his second home and started reclaiming the monthly mortgage interest of around £924.
A further £359 was claimed on his expenses for a wardrobe in August 2006, along with £299 for a chest of drawers, £159 for a bedside cabinet and £109 for a mirror.
In July that year, Mr Sheridan charged the taxpayer £1,200 for painting the ceilings, walls and woodwork in his second home.
The MP then claimed £1,280 to supply and fit a new shower, although the fees office initially threatened to withhold payment because of a lack of proper receipts. However, Mr Sheridan provided an invoice and the money was paid.
The same month, February 2007, he claimed the £595 cost of supplying and fitting three sets of blinds.
In October last year, Mr Sheridan claimed the £699.99 cost of a 42-inch plasma television, just under the £750 limit imposed by the Commons fees office. He also claimed £219.99 for a four-year warranty.'
At least Jim Sheridan is consistent for back in 2009 in that Telegraph report this appears:
'Mr Sheridan told BBC News yesterday that Gorbals Mick, the nickname given to Mr Martin by some sketch writers, was "prejudiced" and they should be banned from the Commons.'
Of course Jim Sheridan relied on the same excuse that most MPs did:
'Asked by The Daily Telegraph about his expense claims, he said his constituency was too far from London to commute.Jim Sheridan's expenses are neither here nor there now but his desire to muzzle press freedom in 2009 is now becoming a reality with the latest rushed through legislation, legislation that will not be scrutinised by parliament before becoming law.
"That is why I maintain a house in London. The claims for that second home were paid for by the fees office because they fell within the scope of permissible claims," he continued.
"They were authorised by the Fees Office and receipts were provided against all claims."
He said he supported Gordon Brown’s plans for an independent audit to scrutinise every receipt and would be "happy" to discuss the issue with his constituents.'
Why are the BBC not reporting Jim Sheridan's desire, are they trying to pretend that this legislation is all about controlling phone-hacking and other already illegal activities, rather than protecting our 'betters' from scrutiny? Is the fact that he is a Labour MP a contributory factor?