Friday, May 22, 2009

Local politics dominate - Vaz, Taylor and the county council

At the risk of being boring, I'm going to mention Keith Vaz again. He's really not very happy with me or the Leicester Mercury and to make his point he has written another, much longer, open letter to our readers explaining how he feels we have been unfair to him. I'm obviously happy to publish that letter - see the Mercury tomorrow (Saturday) for the letter in full, unedited and without comment.

The key to his argument is that we have concentrated unreasonably on the expense scandal when there was much more important news about him to cover, including work that he has done to help reverse the Government stance on the Ghurkas, the publishing of a 400 page report on human trafficking, interviewing the Metropolitan Police commissioner and speaking eight times in Parliament.

He concludes by saying that while he accepts that it is 'absolutely legitimate' for the paper to inquire into the question of the expense and allowance claims, 'it is right that that you should be fair.' I agree. We should be fair. I guess our readers will decide whether or not we have been.

While Mr Vaz has been in the public spotlight, his colleague in North West Leicestershire, David Taylor, has not. But tomorrow, we have full details of Mr Taylor's expense claims ... and they come to a very similar amount as those of Mr Vaz, almost £80,000.

To give him credit, we have the full details because Mr Taylor brought them to us today. Some of the details are not pretty and he's aware that some peope will be very angry about his claims. Again, you can see it in tomorrow's Mercury.

But neither of these stories has made it to the front as we feel there is an even more important local policitical story - police investigations into alleged dirty tricks in the upcoming county council elections.

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