Conservative MP, and former infantry commander, Patrick Mercer did not spare his ex military colleagues for frivolous use of helicopters, "Leadership is all about setting examples" was his caustic comment. It is a wisdom that Merrick Cockell should take to heart.
Recently, respected Daily Mail writer, Andrew Pierce, castigated Cockell for continuing to claim his bloated allowance of near £70,000 a year for a two day week, whilst at the same time taking £54,000 for three days as chairman of the Local Government Association: in total some £121,000 a year.When he pitched for his near £70,000 he whined that he needed it as he 'worked' full time as Leader. Now he is on 2 days a week we wonder what excuse he drags up.
Merrick Cockell has another 'well earned' reputation and that is for protecting his personal finances.....
So how does he react to the scornful Daily Mail attack? Simply by pretending he is following the PM's example in taking a pay cut and shaving a derisory couple of grand from his already vast allowance taking it to around £63,000 or thereabouts.
In other words knocking off a miserly £60 per week from his near £2,400 a week! But he ignores to tell us he can well afford to do so for he has replaced his lost £36,000 per year from the Audit Commission and London Councils with a far richer £54,000 per year from the LGA!
Cockell will doubtless justify his 'tactic' by saying he needs to 'double job' to pay school fees and his expensive household. Local residents will riposte that they too have these overheads but don't expect them to be paid from the public purse. And what the Council does not properly disclose are his day to day expenses....these will be scrutinised by the Dame with laser like care.
Giving up 5% in this way is not just a gesture by a cynical and overpaid local politician: it is a slap in the face for K&C residents struggling to keep their heads above water. Oh and another thing; the Dame knows of many councillors, who in solidarity with taxpayers, are refusing to claim all their expenses. Compare that with Cockell who claims every last penny!
It is a pity the Leader cannot follow their example instead of looking after Number One