MP James Duddridge holds 'community' surgery exclusively for bank customers

Echo: A poster advertising the surgery A poster advertising the surgery

AN MP and former banker has defended holding a “community” meeting exclusively for bank customers.

James Duddridge, Conservative MP for Rochford and Southend East, faced accusations of “being in the pocket of the banks” after holding a surgery in the Southend High Street branch of Halifax.

Only Halifax customers could attend the drop-in meeting to raise concerns with their MP, to stop the branch being overrun.

Mr Duddridge, who ran banks in Swaziland, the Ivory Coast and Botswana before becoming an MP, said: “In September last year during a visit to the Halifax it offered to host an ‘out-and-about’ surgery within its branch.

“Due to capacity issues, it requested this surgery was for Halifax customers only, so services for customers who visited the branch for banking were not affected.

“I am always looking out for potential venues and any constituent is able to contact my offices and arrange appointments where necessary.”

The Tory, who is paid £500 per day as a strategic adviser for wealth management company Wilcocks and Associates, has defended holding drop-in sessions in shops and restaurants alongside regular surgeries at his offices, in Southchurch Road.

Over the past six years he has held surgeries at fish and chip shops, McDonald’s, community centres, B&Q, Waitrose and Asda.

Mr Duddridge claims the meetings are a way to take politics to the people, but Labour has accused him of limiting access and promoting businesses.

Ian Gilbert, leader of Southend Council’s Labour group and Labour candidate against Mr Duddridge next year, said: “It demeans the office of an MP if they allow themselves to be used for commercial promotions.

“While I’m sure there are people who would like the chance to talk to their MP on Southend High Street, the location should be somewhere accessible to all.

“Fair and equal access to our elected representatives is an important point of principle.

Labour councillors run a weekly advice surgery that is open to all.”

A post on Labour blog LabourList said: “It’s often said the Tories are in the pocket of the banks, but one Tory MP appears to have taken that maxim rather too seriously.”

Comments (7)

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2:55pm Fri 4 Apr 14

Matthew S. Dent says...

Two weeks later, Echo? Really?

And also; I initially brought this to public attention (contemporaneously, I might add), and that's my photo of the poster. Would a credit have killed you?
Two weeks later, Echo? Really? And also; I initially brought this to public attention (contemporaneously, I might add), and that's my photo of the poster. Would a credit have killed you? Matthew S. Dent
  • Score: 5

5:34pm Fri 4 Apr 14

boo beckett says...

He earns £500 a day, yet he claimed £8 for a toilet brush and £12 for an ice cream scoop on his expenses. And also, for your information Echo readers, he claimed over £50,000 in expenses to pay his mortgage interest payments with taxpayers money and now rents the property out, keeping all the profit for himself. The facts about this man are out there if you are willing to look for them.
He earns £500 a day, yet he claimed £8 for a toilet brush and £12 for an ice cream scoop on his expenses. And also, for your information Echo readers, he claimed over £50,000 in expenses to pay his mortgage interest payments with taxpayers money and now rents the property out, keeping all the profit for himself. The facts about this man are out there if you are willing to look for them. boo beckett
  • Score: 7

5:35pm Fri 4 Apr 14

Howard Cháse says...

What? A Banker....
What? A Banker.... Howard Cháse
  • Score: 6

6:57pm Fri 4 Apr 14

yagetme says...

boo beckett wrote:
He earns £500 a day, yet he claimed £8 for a toilet brush and £12 for an ice cream scoop on his expenses. And also, for your information Echo readers, he claimed over £50,000 in expenses to pay his mortgage interest payments with taxpayers money and now rents the property out, keeping all the profit for himself. The facts about this man are out there if you are willing to look for them.
Amazing, they really are all at it.

Thanks for the heads up I shall spread the word.
[quote][p][bold]boo beckett[/bold] wrote: He earns £500 a day, yet he claimed £8 for a toilet brush and £12 for an ice cream scoop on his expenses. And also, for your information Echo readers, he claimed over £50,000 in expenses to pay his mortgage interest payments with taxpayers money and now rents the property out, keeping all the profit for himself. The facts about this man are out there if you are willing to look for them.[/p][/quote]Amazing, they really are all at it. Thanks for the heads up I shall spread the word. yagetme
  • Score: 4

3:06pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Kim Gandy says...

Matthew S. Dent wrote:
Two weeks later, Echo? Really?

And also; I initially brought this to public attention (contemporaneously, I might add), and that's my photo of the poster. Would a credit have killed you?
I had a front page and inside pictures recently but no credit.
[quote][p][bold]Matthew S. Dent[/bold] wrote: Two weeks later, Echo? Really? And also; I initially brought this to public attention (contemporaneously, I might add), and that's my photo of the poster. Would a credit have killed you?[/p][/quote]I had a front page and inside pictures recently but no credit. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 0

3:12pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Kim Gandy says...

boo beckett wrote:
He earns £500 a day, yet he claimed £8 for a toilet brush and £12 for an ice cream scoop on his expenses. And also, for your information Echo readers, he claimed over £50,000 in expenses to pay his mortgage interest payments with taxpayers money and now rents the property out, keeping all the profit for himself. The facts about this man are out there if you are willing to look for them.
The trouble is, most people don't bother to look.

I've found out all sorts by going under the FoI.. and I can tell you that despite their protests about this, Labour is no better.

They too have fiddled expenses and paid astronomical consultancy fees. It makes me laugh when they get all bent out of shape about the opposition when they're just as bad themselves. In some cases much worse. I detest hypocrisy.

Gavin Callaghan of Basildon Council recently did politics in the pub - but that went down even worse from what I heard from the locals, as people do not like being disturbed by politicians when having a pint.

When I stood for parliament a few years ago, I had a camera crew following me and we went in a pub. Some people were willing to chat but others just didn't want to be seen. It was the TV company's idea, not mine, I hasten to add.

Going out to meet the public in places they frequent isn't a bad idea but I am a great believer in the old fashioned method of having a surgery and actually going out to speak to people in their own homes, which is what I did when I was a councillor.

Far more personal and also more confidential without loads of ears wagging.

Still, each to his own eh?
[quote][p][bold]boo beckett[/bold] wrote: He earns £500 a day, yet he claimed £8 for a toilet brush and £12 for an ice cream scoop on his expenses. And also, for your information Echo readers, he claimed over £50,000 in expenses to pay his mortgage interest payments with taxpayers money and now rents the property out, keeping all the profit for himself. The facts about this man are out there if you are willing to look for them.[/p][/quote]The trouble is, most people don't bother to look. I've found out all sorts by going under the FoI.. and I can tell you that despite their protests about this, Labour is no better. They too have fiddled expenses and paid astronomical consultancy fees. It makes me laugh when they get all bent out of shape about the opposition when they're just as bad themselves. In some cases much worse. I detest hypocrisy. Gavin Callaghan of Basildon Council recently did politics in the pub - but that went down even worse from what I heard from the locals, as people do not like being disturbed by politicians when having a pint. When I stood for parliament a few years ago, I had a camera crew following me and we went in a pub. Some people were willing to chat but others just didn't want to be seen. It was the TV company's idea, not mine, I hasten to add. Going out to meet the public in places they frequent isn't a bad idea but I am a great believer in the old fashioned method of having a surgery and actually going out to speak to people in their own homes, which is what I did when I was a councillor. Far more personal and also more confidential without loads of ears wagging. Still, each to his own eh? Kim Gandy
  • Score: 1

7:16pm Sat 5 Apr 14

boo beckett says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
boo beckett wrote:
He earns £500 a day, yet he claimed £8 for a toilet brush and £12 for an ice cream scoop on his expenses. And also, for your information Echo readers, he claimed over £50,000 in expenses to pay his mortgage interest payments with taxpayers money and now rents the property out, keeping all the profit for himself. The facts about this man are out there if you are willing to look for them.
The trouble is, most people don't bother to look.

I've found out all sorts by going under the FoI.. and I can tell you that despite their protests about this, Labour is no better.

They too have fiddled expenses and paid astronomical consultancy fees. It makes me laugh when they get all bent out of shape about the opposition when they're just as bad themselves. In some cases much worse. I detest hypocrisy.

Gavin Callaghan of Basildon Council recently did politics in the pub - but that went down even worse from what I heard from the locals, as people do not like being disturbed by politicians when having a pint.

When I stood for parliament a few years ago, I had a camera crew following me and we went in a pub. Some people were willing to chat but others just didn't want to be seen. It was the TV company's idea, not mine, I hasten to add.

Going out to meet the public in places they frequent isn't a bad idea but I am a great believer in the old fashioned method of having a surgery and actually going out to speak to people in their own homes, which is what I did when I was a councillor.

Far more personal and also more confidential without loads of ears wagging.

Still, each to his own eh?
All the mainstream parties are ruled by big business and the banks now. We need to do what they did in Iceland and get rid of the parties and replace them with independent politicians who can't be bought on a mass scale.
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]boo beckett[/bold] wrote: He earns £500 a day, yet he claimed £8 for a toilet brush and £12 for an ice cream scoop on his expenses. And also, for your information Echo readers, he claimed over £50,000 in expenses to pay his mortgage interest payments with taxpayers money and now rents the property out, keeping all the profit for himself. The facts about this man are out there if you are willing to look for them.[/p][/quote]The trouble is, most people don't bother to look. I've found out all sorts by going under the FoI.. and I can tell you that despite their protests about this, Labour is no better. They too have fiddled expenses and paid astronomical consultancy fees. It makes me laugh when they get all bent out of shape about the opposition when they're just as bad themselves. In some cases much worse. I detest hypocrisy. Gavin Callaghan of Basildon Council recently did politics in the pub - but that went down even worse from what I heard from the locals, as people do not like being disturbed by politicians when having a pint. When I stood for parliament a few years ago, I had a camera crew following me and we went in a pub. Some people were willing to chat but others just didn't want to be seen. It was the TV company's idea, not mine, I hasten to add. Going out to meet the public in places they frequent isn't a bad idea but I am a great believer in the old fashioned method of having a surgery and actually going out to speak to people in their own homes, which is what I did when I was a councillor. Far more personal and also more confidential without loads of ears wagging. Still, each to his own eh?[/p][/quote]All the mainstream parties are ruled by big business and the banks now. We need to do what they did in Iceland and get rid of the parties and replace them with independent politicians who can't be bought on a mass scale. boo beckett
  • Score: 1

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