Language lessons paid for by the Taxpayer

Last week saw the unwelcome news that our MP, Nick Boles had received Hebrew lessons and has charged them to you & me (aka the tax payer).

Originally reported in the Mirror, and then subsequently in the Mail, Nick, along with numerous others, had received these lessons, and links were drawn with the fact that his partner, Shay Meshulem, is Israeli.

The fund used to pay for these lessons is supposed to be used for when language lessons are required for an MP to conduct their “parliamentary duties”. I, for one, am struggling to see how being an MP for Grantham & Stamford, and a parliamentary private secretary for schools minister Nick Gibb would require lessons in Hebrew.

When questioned about this, Nick’s responses varied from “I am entitled to these” to “I am on holiday and have nothing to say”. The irony is not lost on me, when a senior Conservative policy maker bemoans the “culture of entitlement” when suggesting the end to the winter fuel allowance or scrapping of the Sure Start programme, yet defends his frivolous spending claiming “entitlement”. You could not make it up.

When I highlighted this news on Twitter early last week, I was accused of political point scoring. My response was to ask since when was legitimate questioning of our public representative’s actions political point scoring? I feel that it is our duty to hold our representatives to account for their actions, and seek to ensure that taxpayer’s money is being spent wisely.

It is my opinion, that Nick did not need these lessons to conduct his parliamentary duties, so therefore should not have charged them to the taxpayer. I fully support anyone’s attempt to learn languages from across the world, and wish Nick well in his endeavours to grasp this language, however I feel that these lessons should be paid for out of his own money, not charged to the taxpayer when the public at large are being asked to make savings for the good of the economy.

This is why I am writing to him today, to ask for him to repay the amount for these lessons. This will show that he understands that charging the taxpayer for what is clearly a personal expense is out-of-order, and will demonstrate that he is willing to think twice about doing something similar in the future.

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