Nearly twenty years ago I was living in Hertford, and I still have friends there.
It’s a comfortable area of pretty villages and commuter towns, green fields and good schools, typical Tory territory. Now it seems that the local MP is so complacent about his seat that he’s been off moon-lighting in other MPs’ constituencies.
Mark Prisk, the MP for Hertford and Stortford in east Hertfordshire, got himself renamed the ‘shadow Minister for Cornwall’ and started taking up issues in the far west country (where there are no Conservative MPs). This breaks the rule that MPs must not take up cases which fall outside their own constituency. The fact that there is no Minister for Cornwall to shadow is a bit of a giveaway, and now the Speaker has rumbled him. As Jonathan Calder says, what a stupid Prisk.
As Matthew Taylor (a genuine Cornwall MP) points out, Mark Prisk “refuses to deny allegations that he claims his travel costs for this party politicking from Commons allowances designed to support genuine Shadow Ministerial visits, and uses his Parliamentary office to support this party political activity”. It seems Tory sleaze is alive and well.
Incidentally, it’s a small world: I was at a meeting in a colleague’s office a couple of years ago and saw an picture of my former home on his desk. It turned out he was about to move in there. Despite this connection, I have no plans to declare myself a shadow anything for Hertford.