Kevin Barron’s Expenses – Kevin Speaks

Well it seems that my conclusion that Kevin Barron was never going to say anything at all about his expenses in the hope that people would get bored asking and just sort of forget about them was somewhat flawed – for it seems the Rotherham Advertiser has managed to get some sort of response from him after publishing their story ‘Sack Them All’ about MPs expenses in this weeks issue.

Kevin’s office still haven’t got back to me as a mere constituent, despite assurances that they would, so perhaps I should just stick to taking things to the press in future.

With regard to his website claims, Kevin said

The website kevinbarronmp.com was only registered this year and is in the process of being constructed and populated. Previous domains were registered but I did not follow the work through as over the last 12 months I have other things on my mind.

This sounds fair enough on the surface, but doesn’t quite stack up. For a start, the largest invoice for work on a website was dated March 2007, which you don’t need me to point out is over two years ago, when, according to the invoice there was already a website to be ‘migrated’ and ‘changed’ at huge expense.

The key question that needs answering about this website though is who the company that did the work are. The invoice is apparently from a company called K&R Consultants, but I can find no record of them anywhere on the internet, and they have no VAT registration. The domain rothervalley.info is the only website listed as being Kevin’s that was registered on a date consistent with the date of the invoice from K&R Consultants, and that domain was registered by Kevin’s son Robbie Barron. Kevin – we need to know why it looks like a company has billed you way over the odds for a domain your son registered, and what happened to the website that you were billed for in March 2007.

The printer was bought for parliamentary business such as printing newsletters and mass-mailings. It has only been used for these purposes.

That’s as may be -although it was interesting when I spoke to one of your assistants that he pointed out that it couldn’t be used for party political purposes, which limits somewhat the uses it might be put to. Certainly I have never had any non-party political communication from you. They key question though is if an £8,500 printer is really necessary for your work. Perhaps you could give us examples of the sort of things you have printed with it, and the quantities involved?

It is true that at one time the interest on my mortgage was as high as £2,000 [per month] but I do not set mortgage interest rates.

Again, this sounds fair enough. However, as I posted a few days ago, the letters from the Nat West included in your expenses point to the amount you have borrowed rising by about £38,000 between June 2004 and January 2007. As there are no mortgage statements included and lots of the letters are balcked out it’s hard to make a definite conclusion, but certainly from the evidence that has come it looks like the capital sum has increased. Perhaps you would be so good as to clarify this for us? Has the size of your mortgage increased, and if so why? If it hasn’t, can you produce statements to show it hasn’t, because it certainly looks from the letters in your expenses that it has.

I haven’t time to respond to the rest of Kevin’s defence at the moment, although I am looking forward to responding to this one

The cameras I use personally inclcluding for my parliamentary work.

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12 responses to “Kevin Barron’s Expenses – Kevin Speaks

  1. “The cameras I use personally including for my parliamentary work.”

    I was particularly interested in this statement too.
    Notonly is it grammatically incoherent, but it shows that the cameras were definately for personal use and it’s wonderful to know that Kevin uses our money for his own personal use.

    Do you have any photos taken with these cameras that you could show us Kevin? Maybe there is someone out there who has just won the lottery, or taken their meagre pension after paying into it for most of their working life, and thinks they might buy a camera for their own personal use. The quality of the pictures taken by the cameras might influence their decision on whether to buy or not – or maybe we could just use yours, seeing as we bought them

  2. Fascinating!

    How many websites has Kevin had over the years?

    This appears to be his: http://www.rothervalley.org.uk/ registered 2000-Jan.
    (at least according to http://www.politics.co.uk/mps/party-politics/labour/barron-kevin-$451729.htm )

    At least his new kevinbarronmp.com site appears to be being built by a company with some experience of building MP’s websites (Hudson Berkley Reinhart Ltd of Sittingbourne, Kent).

  3. I have found three that appear to be his

    rothervalley.org.uk
    rothervalley.info and
    kevinbarronmp.com

    kevinbarronmp.com has had the ‘new site coming soon’ message displayed for months.

    I ge the distinct impression that Mr Barron doesn’t really want to engage with his voters, as though he is relying on people voting Labour by default, and that he is aware that raising his head above the parapet might remind his constituents what a waste of space he and his party turned out to be.

  4. Hmmm, I’ve dug around a bit now, and I see it rather differently. (sorry long post.)

    Rothervalley.org.uk

    Rothervalley.org.uk was registered 21 Jan 2000 for an initial 10 years, and a website designed and built that went live on or prior to 18Oct2000.
    It seems to have been live until late 2007.
    (see http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.rothervalley.org.uk )
    The costs for setting up this site would not appear in the published expenses, having been in a year earlier than 2004.
    A statement dated 23March2006 from S&S Systems Ltd shows small invoices that could well represent the maintenance of the site. The statement could represent the ending of their involvement with the site.
    I can remember it as a good little site, S&S Systems did a professional job.

    The mysterious K&R Consultants now take over.
    In an invoice dated 3November 2005, K&R Consultants billed £195.00 for:
    1. “Complete rebuild of office computer, software configuration, e-mail and internet setup” (4 hours)
    2. Changes and updates to website (1 hour)
    All at a charge-out rate of £39.00 per hour.
    The Wayback machine did not detect these website updates, but one hour at that charge-out rate rate doesn’t buy you much.

    Rothervalley.info

    Rothervalley.info was registered 06 Feb 2007 seemingly by son Robbie Barron, on a 2 year basis and then renewed for a further 2 years in 2009.

    In an invoice dated 26March 2007, K&R Consultants billed £953.00 for:
    1. Purchase of a new domain and webspace … £125.00
    2. The migration of the old website to the new web server and setup (6 hours)
    3. Changes to the website as specified by the client (6 hours)
    The chargeout rate had now increased to £69.00 per hour.

    The purchase cost of the domain would have been all of £18.52 for the two years, and
    the Wayback machine sees it as having been effectively dormant throughout its existence.
    It is however the website that is named on Mr Barron’s House of Common’s stationary.

    KevinBarronmp.com

    KevinBarronmp.com was registered 24 Feb 2009 by Hudson Berkley Reinhart Ltd, a professional web development company that have found a niche market in building websites for MPs. Whilst this site has never gone live, it looks as though it was at least an attempt to recover from the mistakes that began about the time the mysterious K&R Consultants got involved.

    Until his expenses for 2008/09 are published we will not know.

    A similar bout of new year resolution appears to have occurred in 2008 with the purchase of the Dell Computer, the “Olivetti” multi-mega-printer (a re-branded Develop Ineo 251) and the Canon Dslr camera.

    All classic “in a hole and still digging” activity.

  5. Well done , afterforty. Good piece of archeology there !

    Keep it up – I am sure you will find many more issues concerning Mr Barron that don’t seem to be quite “add up”. Are you corresponding with Mr Barron over this or have you got better things to do with your time ?

    (How are you 156 ? You are keeping a low profile of late…… 🙂 )

  6. Well Lexia,
    Where would we be without the Wayback machine.

    I am sure that Mr Barron is already well aware of his inability to fully engage with “the white heat of technology”; so no, I have no intention of reminding him.
    I did politely e-mail him last November when I first noticed that his website was down, but never got a reply.
    What I will do however is revisit his claims when the 2008/09 figures are published, just to see if I can check if the new printer is a £8438.85 white elephant, or a sensible cost-effective purchase. But don’t hold your breath!

  7. Has anyone noticed that kevinbarronmp.com has become live, to no fanfare whatsoever. Must be an election coming or something?

  8. Well spotted! Looks like he is going to be standing again.

    P.S. One we missed earlier:
    http://www.epolitix.com/mpwebsites/mpwebsitepage/mpsite/kevin-barron

  9. Brilliant stuff 156 !

    Now there was me wondering how to while away a rainy old afternoon and you have just provided me with the solution !

    (back later if it warrants any comments 🙂 )

  10. I wouldn’t get too excited – there isn’t much in the way of content, and no means of interacting – although he has put his email address on there.

  11. Sorry comments were locked previously btw – the default with wordpress (software that runs the site) is to lock comments after 60 days, but I didn’t know that until today.

  12. Pingback: Kevin Barron has no issues, it says here. « Politics in the Rother Valley

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