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Constituents and Families Back MP in Expenses Row

Constituents and other Families that have been helped by John Hemming MP have spoken out in support of the MP’s indirect use of Additional Costs Allowance to support casework and constituency work.

Fran Lyon was a resident in Yardley for a short period before she emigrated to Sweden to escape false and legally unchallengeable allegations that she caused her own illness and threats to remove her baby at birth. She had her baby in January 2008 and lives with her daughter in Sweden. Her case was supported from Osmond House. She said “I believe that the work John does, far above and beyond what his role as an MP requires him to do, more than justifies the way he has organised his finances. The work that he and his team do on behalf of constituents and non-constituents alike is immeasurably valuable to those caught in a very ugly system. It is not necessary to agree with John's position regarding the system in order to agree that some of the most vulnerable in our society, during some of their most vulnerable time are in need of robust and informed support, which it is impossible to deny that John provides where more often than not the state does not. Without his and his team's advice and counsel I would not have had either the knowledge nor the strength to fight the system as I did: likely as not the happy, healthy home and future I have with my daughter would not have existed.  “

Andrew France, who lives in Sheldon, was wrongly convicted of rape. His successfully
challenged his criminal conviction with the Criminal Cases Review Commission with the assistance of his MP, John Hemming’s Office. Because he criticised a social worker he then faced separate family court proceedings. He was assisted in appealing those proceedings as a Litigant in Person by an advisor part funded by the ACA money. He said “Litigants in person have very little support in this country. The work done by the advisors is very important and that extra support was essential to me as part of my appeal.”

Kerry and Mark McDougall lived in Scotland until they were told that Kerry was not intelligent enough to marry Mark and was also not intelligent enough to keep her baby. They emigrated to Ireland whilst remaining in touch with John Hemming’s Office. They are now married and have their son Ben living with them. Mark said “Kerry, Ben and I really appreciate all that John has done to help us and wouldn't be together if it wasn't for his help and advice.  “

Ms K who lives in Acocks Green has recently had a baby. She was helped in court by the Mackenzie Friend who is part funded by the ACA money. She cannot be named at the moment, but has said “Without the help from my Mackenzie Friend, I would not have been allowed to take my baby home. The advice from John Hemming’s office is invaluable.”

John Hemming MP had been criticised for using a mortgage swap to raise funds via the Additioanl Costs Allowance to support Constituents. “I knew when I became an MP”, he said, “that my income was going to reduce, but I wished to subsidise constituency activity. I therefore, arranged my finances to enable me to best serve my constituents.”


PoliticalHack said…
So the money isn't to pay off a mortgage? It is to provide legal advice to people - some of whom live outside Yardley.

While I would not take issue with their right to representation and I hope that you will stand up against any threats posed by the cuts in legal aid, is it right that this should come from money to allow you to perform your parliamentary duties?

Why has it taken so long for you to find this answer? Surely you could have raised this a few weeks ago when the issue first came up?
john said…
The answer is in fact on my post of May 2009. It only took a few days to agree the quotes more recently. However, I wanted to wait until a media outlet had printed the story before putting it on my weblog.

This is support that was necessary during the previous government because of systemic failures.

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R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

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R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

November 9 1923

Editor’s comments in bold.

Here, the magistrates’ clerk retired with the bench when they were considering a charge of dangerous driving. The clerk belonged to a firm of solicitors acting in civil proceedings for the other party to the accident. It was entirely irrelevant that there had been no evidence of actual influence brought to bear on the magistrates, and the conviction was duly quashed.

It is clear that the deputy clerk was a member of the firm of solicitors engaged in the conduct of proceedings for damages against the applicant in respect of the same collision as that which gave rise to the charge that the justices were considering. It is said, and, no doubt, truly, that when that gentleman retired in the usual way with the justices, taking with him the…