Shipley MP, Philip Davies, long known for his intolerance of taxpayers’ money being “wasted” on “politically correct” causes, was today referred to the Office for Parliamentary standards – over his use of public funds to support the Taxpayers’ Alliance.
The referral was made in respect of a page on Mr Davies own website, which appears to carry a direct copy of a press release by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, noting that Mr Davies has become an organiser of the TPA’s Shipley branch – and urging individuals to lend their support.
The fact that Mr Davies’ website has been paid for from public funds is made clear at the bottom of the page.
Writing in support of the referral, writer and sexual rights campaigner Jane Fae asked the parliamentary compliance office to look at whether urging constituents to sign up to a extra-parliamentary organisation was a valid use of taxpayer money. She wrote: “Joining a local branch of the Taxpayers’ Alliance may be relevant to the member’s constituency work.
“However, urging individuals to join a Rickmansworth branch, which is many miles distant from the member’s constituency, appears to be problematic.
“The press release may date back some years: however, since it appears still to be on site, it is effectively support being paid for from public subscription.”
Responding to questions about this unsolicited support, the Taxpayers’ Alliance Research Director, John O’Connell said:”how an individual choses to spend their money is their business, not ours.
“We will not be investigating further”.
In recent weeks, however, the TPA has been rather less understanding of the spending habits of public organisations, including Sheffield Council and the British Council who have not provided them with unpaid publicity.
Attempts have been made to contact Mr Daviesin respect of this matter – but so far no response has been received.
Note: this release is prepared as an aid to political campaigning. Please feel free to make use of it as you see fit.