Monday, 15 June 2009

Riding on the Gravy Train

From: Mail on Sunday
Farce over Glenys Kinnock, the makeshift minister who can't even do her job because she's still an MEP

Glenys Kinnock: Is she a minister or isn't she?

Glenys Kinnock's appointment as Europe minister descended into farce yesterday after it emerged that she could not do the job because she was still an MEP. Under EU Parliament rules, Mrs Kinnock is not allowed to serve as a minister in a national Government until she steps down as an MEP on July 14.

Days after accepting Gordon Brown's surprise invitation to join his Government, Mrs Kinnock was forced to admit she was a mere 'acting minister'. There was speculation in Westminster last night that Mrs Kinnock was reluctant to quit her job as an MEP as she would have to forgo some of her gold-plated pension and golden-goodbye.

The absurd situation is set to cause further embarrassment for Mr Brown as he fights for his political survival. Downing Street sources last night insisted Mrs Kinnock had resigned as an MEP. But a European Parliament spokesman said he had no knowledge of her quitting the post. 'We would normally get a formal notification if that had happened,' said the spokesman. 'But we haven't had one.'

Tory Europe spokesman Mark Francois said: 'Today's confusion regarding Glenys Kinnock is symptomatic of the kind of chaos which now reigns in Downing Street, whereby even Ministers of the Crown do not appear to know whether they are Ministers or not.'
But as she has gone on to a Government job, her salary will be deducted from this transition allowance, effectively cancelling it out.

By resigning a few weeks early, Mrs Kinnock is expected to lose out slightly on some of her MEP's pension - believed to be worth around £66,000 a year. The pension is calculated on her time served as an MEP and her age. Her early 'retirement' is only set to cost her a few hundred pounds.

Mrs Kinnock is also entitled to receive a parachute payment - aimed at helping MEPs ease back into life after losing their seats - worth around £32,383. But as she has gone on to a Government job, her salary will be deducted from this transition allowance, effectively cancelling it out.

A spokesman for Open Europe said: 'The appointment of Glenys Kinnock is quickly turning into a shambles. The Government is all over the place on Europe. Yesterday's election results show it needs to get its act together sooner rather than later.'

Mrs Kinnock, 64, and her husband have earned a reputation as serial junketeers after jumping on the EU gravy train in the 1990s. During her 15 years as Labour's MEP for South Wales East, Mrs Kinnock's salary had risen from £31,686 to £63,291, plus substantial expenses.

Yet a surprise call from Number 10 means she will make the transition from £63,291-a-year euro MP to £83,275-a-year Europe Minister.

Lord Kinnock, 67, and his wife are not the only members of their family who have a taxpayer-funded living.
Their son, Stephen Kinnock, headed the St Petersburg office of the publicly funded British Council until October. Its unpaid chairman is Lord Kinnock.
The 39-year-old now works as a director of the World Economic Forum.
The Kinnocks’ daughter, 37-year-old Rachel, landed a job on Mr Brown’s political staff two years ago.
Lord Kinnock was appointed as a European Commissioner in 1995, on a salary of £105,584 a year.
By the time he stepped down in 2004, he was earning £163,453 in salary, a £24,000-a-year housekeeping allowance and a £7,000 entertainment budget.
Mr Kinnock received almost £273,000 when he left the job to help him adjust to life outside the Commission. He can also draw on a £64,000-a-year pension.

The "Socialist" Clan Kinnock have been on a Governmental and European gravy train for the last 15 years grossing them 10,000,000 in property speculation, salaries, expenses and pensions !!!!
Baron Kinnock's reaction ? - "No Comment": Dame Kinnock - unavailable.

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