One Rant at a Time

Whatever heaves into view........better keep its head down.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Squatters' rights?

I read in today's papers that deputy prime minister John Prescott is not the only minister that's held onto his grace and favour residence despite losing (most of) his job. Apparently former foreign secretary Jack Straw was allowed by Tony Blair to keep using the ministerial country house at Chevening.

Chevening is, according to the article, a 17th century mansion surrounded by a 3,500 acre estate, that is the official residence of British foreign secretaries.

Now Jack Straw ain't the foreign secretary no more. In fact he's gone back to being a comon backbench MP. But he gets to keep the keys to Chevening.

John Prescott is barely the deputy prime minister any more, but he too gets to keep the keys to the DPM's residence, Dorneywood.

Remember that former Home Secretary David Blunkett was allowed to continue living at the Home Secretary's official residence long after he'd resigned, while another former foreign secretary, Robin Cook did much the same.

So what is it about official residences that makes Labour ministers so reluctant to leave them after they've been booted out of office? Could it be the fact that they live there rent-free? Could it be that they're a damn sight grander than the poor chaps' own homes? Yes! Are they actually raging snobs?

And what about the tax angle? Since they're not actually employed as the minister any more, do these guys have to pay tax for receiving a benefit in kind? Hmm?

Makes you wonder how hard they're going to be to evict when Labour lose an election and they can't even call themselves the governing party any more.


At 12:59 AM, Blogger Minerva said...

Great point..I didn't know that about Jack Straw...Surely there should be an uproar about this??!!


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