Yet again ‘it’s ok if you’re a right-winger’ as bullying Blairite MP receives no sanction despite using public money to run his failed mayoral run as Skwawkbox revealed exclusively two years ago
Blairite MP Liam Byrne has been found guilty of using publicly-funded parliamentary staff on his failed West Midlands mayoral campaign – as Skwawkbox revealed exclusively in April 2021.
But Byrne will face no penalty, despite the finding – and won’t even have to repay the money he misused. The parliamentary panel decided its own investigation took too long and it would be ‘difficult’ to calculate exactly how much he would have to repay.
The Parliamentary Standards Authority (PSA) decided Byrne had misused a single member of staff on his campaign. However, sources from Byrne’s team said at the time that he was using half his parliamentary staff on his campaign:
Basically half his team have left and the rest are his parliamentary staff and he’s making them work full-time on the mayoral election [which is] not parliamentary work.
MPs are not permitted to use staff paid from public funds for political work. However, Byrne – who was also found guilty of bullying sick staff in a separate investigation last year – is being let off scot-free and appeared barely able to contain his glee in a statement from his office in which he claimed it’s MPs who need protecting – and, with no discernible trace of shame, that he agrees with ‘protecting the public purse’:
…stronger safeguards are needed for MPs, such as volunteer agreements and contractual clarity around delivery of set hours where time was worked flexibly, to guard against lines ‘getting blurred’ between political and parliamentary work.
As such, Mr Byrne strongly supports the recommendations made by the IPSA investigator that IPSA contracts now need reform to ensure protection of the public purse and profoundly thanks [the PSA investigator] for her exhaustive investigation.
Let off on the excuse that the investigation took too long and it would be ‘difficult’ to work out how much. The saying that ‘it’s ok if it’s a right-winger’ rears its poisoned head again.
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