OBSERVER: You have to ask: following our MP’s decision, are we really all in it together?


Our MP Mark Simmonds decides he and his family can’t live in London on well over £100,000 (then-salary of £89,445, plus expenses) a year so leaves his Foreign Office job and will not stand for re-election.

I can already hear the cries of despair from those of his electorate who are suffering the same indignity; and I can also hear the criticisms from those who wish they could earn even a low percentage of that to live on.

I can’t believe anyone on that amount of income – even in London – would not be able to survive from day to day; that is, of course, unless they are living the ‘high life.’

It is also worth noting that his wife is paid between £20,000 to £25,000 a year to act as his office manager and while his ministerial salary had been £89,435 a year, he was also entitled to expenses. Last yearThe Standard reported Mr Simmonds had claimed £173,436.96 in expenses the previous year, according to figures released by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

He was the most expensive MP in the county and his claims include £13,005.38 office costs, £5,910 staffing expenses and £137,426.92 on payroll.

But Mr Simmonds insisted that the expenses he can now claim do not stretch to renting a flat in London, which he had to do as his main home was in the constituency.

Recent complaints about how often we see our MP in the area would seem to make that hard to believe!

So in the constituency he represents, where the average salary is, perhaps, up to £17,000 a year, he is apparently suffering a ‘huge’ and ‘negative’ impact on his family life on an amount almost 10 times that; welcome to the land of ‘we’re all in it together’ Mr Simmonds.