Sunday, 8 June 2008

Caroline Spelman - A storm in a Teacup?

I've read some terrible rubbish over the last day or so about Caroline Spelman paying he live in nanny to work as her Constituency secretary during the day (Including some right leaning Blogs). For one thing this is very old news, for another, Tina Haynes (the nanny) did act as Caroline's Constituency secretary for the period in question. Spelman's Constituency phone number was her home number at the time and Tina dealt with all the calls coming into the house when Caroline was away. She did the filing and dealt with the office correspondence. Apparently she also provided Constituency meeting arrangements on Fridays.

The fact is that Caroline stopped this arrangement when the Whip told her that it could be open to misinterpretation. It is also a fact that Caroline had to hire someone else as her Constituency secretary to take over the nanny's office duties during the day. The Tax payer LOST NOTHING from the arrangement with the nanny. In fact her replacement probably cost us more when her expenses were taken into consideration. All this talk of Cameron asking Caroline to step down while this is investigated is going way over the top and only adds fuel to a barely smouldering fire.

There have been accusations that the nanny's statement may have been coached by CCHQ - well I say - too bloody right. Michael Crick contacted this woman for what seemed like a nice little chat about her former employer's family life as an MP. He was in fact digging for dirt and Tina may have not been so dismissive about her roll if she had been aware of this. I think it is entirely possible that Tina modestly played down her job. After all, Caroline was using her home as her constituency office at the time, and it is highly unlikely that the office received only "one or two phone calls a week". This is part of the statement issued by Tina Haynes.

"On the 6th June 2008 I received a phone call from Michael Crick from the BBC stating that he was doing a programme about Mrs Spelman and her family life with her being an MP.I answered the questions asked of which a few are listed below.

Did I do secretarial work? to which I answered Yes,

Was it political? to which I answered No (my understanding of this was that he was asking was it party political work)

Did I do Nannying / Childcare for her? to which I answered Yes.

For a period of time the constituency phone number was Mrs Spelman's personal home landline number, so any calls made to this number whilst Mrs Spelman was not present was answered by myself, and all messages taken were then passed directly onto Mrs Spelman. I believe my answers accurately reflect that for one year I had two roles in working for Mrs Spelman."
I also think it is entirely possible that the only person to come out of this looking less than honest is one Michael Crick.

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