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.