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Second Minister Quits: '£120,000 Not Enough To Live On In London'


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Pr1ck or not, he's made a rational choice. His options seem to be, broadly:

1. live in a big house in Lincolnshire and see his kids every day, have spare cash and a generally nice lifestyle.

2. live in hotels during the week and not see his kids much at all - I've done that in the past and I can confirm that it's utterly sh1t.

3. move his family to London and rent a small place somewhere with most likely crappy schools.

4. put his entire net worth into buying a decent size house in London with all that entails.

Now maybe he should have thought of that before standing for parliament, but criticizing someone for refusing to sacrifice their finances and/or their family is a bit rich. And don't forget, what he's doing is standing down at the next election, it's not like he just walked out on the job and forced an election. When people stand for parliament, they don't sign something committing themselves to being an MP until such time as they lose, they sign up for one parliamentary term only.

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Pr1ck or not, he's made a rational choice. His options seem to be, broadly:

1. live in a big house in Lincolnshire and see his kids every day, have spare cash and a generally nice lifestyle.

2. live in hotels during the week and not see his kids much at all - I've done that in the past and I can confirm that it's utterly sh1t.

3. move his family to London and rent a small place somewhere with most likely crappy schools.

4. put his entire net worth into buying a decent size house in London with all that entails.

Now maybe he should have thought of that before standing for parliament, but criticizing someone for refusing to sacrifice their finances and/or their family is a bit rich. And don't forget, what he's doing is standing down at the next election, it's not like he just walked out on the job and forced an election. When people stand for parliament, they don't sign something committing themselves to being an MP until such time as they lose, they sign up for one parliamentary term only.

Did you miss the part about him flipping a home in Putney for a profit of over half a mil?

Could he not supplement it with some of the nearly £180,000 in aforementioned income he's been raking in over the years? Or maybe the £537,000 profit he made in 2009 selling the Putney home that taxpayers had been paying the mortgage interest on (under the old rules) for eight years? Apparently not.

Rational? Maybe. Morally justified? I think not.

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Let's not forget that being an MP doesn't mean you must live in London through the week. It is possible to serve your constituents well without being in London very much, if you're happy to be a backbencher.

But this guy spurned that possibility by accepting a post as a junior minister, which would inevitably mean he was required in London with regularity.

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Did you miss the part about him flipping a home in Putney for a profit of over half a mil?

Rational? Maybe. Morally justified? I think not.

What's the half million go to do with it? That won't buy you a two bed flat in a nice part of London. Who are you to insist that someone continues to do a job they don't want to do until such time as you happen to think they should be allowed to stop? What gives you that moral right exactly?

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What's the half million go to do with it? That won't buy you a two bed flat in a nice part of London. Who are you to insist that someone continues to do a job they don't want to do until such time as you happen to think they should be allowed to stop? What gives you that moral right exactly?

The fact that he stood for election and his voters have the expectation that he will represent them until the next election. Not go home whining because he can't live on boat loads of cash. At least Warsi had principals and was representing her constituents.

This is especially hypocritical given his party and governments austerity agenda.

Edited by Ulfar
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It's not about the money.

The job turned out that he'd have to turn up, and do some work, and maybe put in some unpaid over time!

The horror!

^ This, theres a big difference between being an MP where you can do about 3 hours a day on the days you can be bothered to turn up and being a minister where the expectation is to be working every waking hour and only sleeping 5 hours a night.

Obviously he is not going to say "Im quitting because I cant hack the work" so he made up this flimsy excuse based around property because that is his background.

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The fact that he stood for election and his voters have the expectation that he will represent them until the next election. Not go home whining because he can't live on boat loads of cash. At least Warsi had principals and was representing her constituents.

This is especially hypocritical given his party and governments austerity agenda.

Which is exactly what he is doing. He has resigned as a minister, not as an MP!

Edited by TheBlueCat
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He seems to be a bit of an ambitious opportunist (aren't they all) and having tried to get a Conservative seat at a low ebb in 1997 (the buy low sell high principle) and then having actually won a seat in 2001.

He seems to have ridden the political wave in opposition and in government until now and at the same time bought/sold property gaining significantly (helped by the expenses system) and at the same time has advanced in political seniority when in opposition and then in government.

If he thought that the Conservatives had prospects beyond the next election would he have resigned considering the previous upwards trajectory in his political progress.

So it seems that he's judged that the prospects for the Conservatives are very poor after the 2015 general election and he's going to be better off out.

It's also quite possible that despite his background he thinks that the current policies on house prices are wicked.

Whatever - his timing has been quite good in the past in advancing himself and his latest decision doesn't augur well for the Conservatives.

Edited by billybong
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If he thought that the Conservatives had prospects beyond the next election would he have resigned considering the previous upwards trajectory in his political progress.

So it seems that he's judged that the prospects for the Conservatives are very poor after the 2015 general election and he's going to be better off out.

It's always possible that he's telling the truth, after all if you were going to invent an excuse surely you could do better than "the housing allowance isn't big enough".

His personal prospects could well have something to do with it, though not necessarily those of the government. He's a 3rd tier minister (parliamentary under secretary of state) and he's 50 years old, realistically he might make it to the second tier after the election but that's as far as he's going to go. Frankly what's the point in slogging your guts out as a junior minister and putting your family under strain when you can make far more working in the private sector.

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Seems our local Conservative Association representative is out for a little 'damage limitation' on social media. :rolleyes:

That wasn't funny the first time, it's getting a bit sad now.

I'm not sure you are in step with Central Office though. I thought it very interesting that the Telegraph so quickly moved to headline a story about him having claimed over £500,000 in expenses alone to date. Seems someone powerful with good contacts in the friendly press was quickly briefing against him.

Or the Telegraph just checked his expenses claims.

Incidentally that £500,000 figure looks big doesn't it, well it does unless you divide it by the 13 years he has been an mp. £38,000 per annum actually looks like pretty small beer compared to some, The Cretin Brown claimed over £144,000 in 2011/12 alone, Jon Cruddas a stonking £171,110.34, Ed Bo11ocks £157,000, Yvette Cooper (wife of the aforementioned) £164,000.

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Anyway, aside from that, you may think £38,000 per annum post tax for 'expenses' (or 'life' as others may call it with all 'pay' being saved) is unlikely to be sniffed at by most ordinary people. Surely you must see that.

They're expected to run a second home in the capital and an office in their constituency, given property prices in the country that amount is hardly exceptional.

But then I would not allow any MP under the age of 65 say, with a life of work behind them and I would make them wear identical off-white hessian robes at all times so they can be identified by all wherever they roam.

And yet we worry about the country being run for the benefit of boomers as things stand, how much worse would that make things?

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The British can seldom afford to live in their own capital city at this time, due to being priced out by rich foreigners, largely from Russia, the Middle and Far East.

All this case does is demonstrate the point by showing that a Ministerial salary is way too insufficient to have a proper home in the capital city they are supposed to work in for a substantial part of their time.

The British cannot afford London. Ironic really.

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It's always possible that he's telling the truth, after all if you were going to invent an excuse surely you could do better than "the housing allowance isn't big enough".

His personal prospects could well have something to do with it, though not necessarily those of the government. He's a 3rd tier minister (parliamentary under secretary of state) and he's 50 years old, realistically he might make it to the second tier after the election but that's as far as he's going to go. Frankly what's the point in slogging your guts out as a junior minister and putting your family under strain when you can make far more working in the private sector.

Please let us know when you plan on stopping digging. I'm not sure how HPC will survive such a big hole being dug in the forum.
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Now it appears he has claimed £1.7m in expenses and made £500k profit from selling a house we bought

He runs a property business...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2723365/How-hard-minister-Mark-Simmonds-500k-home-taxpayer-helped-buy.html

I often pounder the question why the multiple home owning/London property owning MPs are reluctant to stop supporting the property bubble.

:rolleyes:

Edited by TheCountOfNowhere
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I agree re the division and I agree others have been far worse. What is interesting is the Torygraph doing this to him.

Anyway, aside from that, you may think £38,000 per annum post tax for 'expenses' (or 'life' as others may call it with all 'pay' being saved) is unlikely to be sniffed at by most ordinary people. Surely you must see that.

Expenses are to the Torygraph as Snowden is to the Grauniad. The wail getting out the sharp knives is much more interesting - it looks like he will be butchered over the next few days. Many politicians still have no idea how angry the public are about expenses, nepotism, and related troughing. The papers get it though.

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From the Mail link:


Mr Simmonds is still chairman of the property business he founded in 1999.

So he founded the company soon after his first attempt to win a seat as an MP in 1997 and a couple of years before winning his current seat at Boston and Skegness in 2001.

There seems to be liittle information so far in the news reports about the nature of the "property business" he's the chairman of. The name doesn't seem to be mentioned. Is it the sort of property business used for tax purposes - that is a one man band Sole Trader/Ltd Company type of business - or is it something bigger.

(Sole Trader/Ltd Company - the sort of tax arrangement that's seems to be more and more used in the UK these days by the unemployed to help to claim benefits and tax credits and then to also to call themselves self employed and entrepreneurs and avoiding being registered as unemployed.

I'm not suggesting of course that he's using his business for run of the mill benefits and tax credits as to start with he seems far too well off to qualify)

Edited by billybong
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