Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/741/15641
Rotherham needs a workers' MP instead of New Labour frauds
Alistair Tice, Yorkshire Socialist Party
On Friday 2 November, Blairite Denis MacShane resigned as Labour MP for Rotherham, following a damning report exposing his fraudulent expenses claims.
He made 19 false claims, totalling £12,900, which were "plainly intended to deceive". Parliament's cross-party Standards and Privileges Committee called the case the "gravest" it had dealt with that had not ended up in court.
MacShane submitted 19 claims for "research and translation work" with an organisation called the European Policy Institute between January 2005 and January 2008.
But the EPI had no office or salaried staff and names given on a letterhead were old friends of MacShane, who was signing the invoices and controlled the bank account.
"The bills were signed with a 'nom de plume' purporting to come from a General Manager who did not in fact exist," the report said.
"In effect, he was sending the invoice to himself and writing his own cheque."
Despite, in his resignation statement, MacShane's declaration of love for Rotherham and his "beloved" Labour Party, this supporter of war, Israel's right-wing government, the neoliberal EU and nuclear energy, as well as the neo-con Henry Jackson society, will not be missed by many.
There will now be a byelection in Rotherham where Labour had a 10,000-vote majority at the last election.
This is sure to be contested by the racist British National Party - which made the complaint about MacShane's expenses that led to his resignation - and probably other far-right parties.
Far-right groups have targeted Rotherham in recent weeks with demonstrations against the alleged cover up of Asian child-sex grooming, a pretext for spreading racist lies, hate and division.
Socialist Party believes it is essential that there is a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate in the byelection to offer workers a real alternative to corruption, racism and austerity, especially to campaign against the £50 million local NHS cuts recently announced by the trust chief executive.
In The Socialist 7 November 2012: