Dicky Watch: Anyone here seen Ottaway?

Richard Ottaway: just in case you hadn't seen him for a while

Call Me Dave’s campaign slogan ahead of the General Election was “time for change”.

But Croydon South’s absentee Tory, Richard Ottaway, must think that his MP’s salary is just small change.

Ordinary voters contribute to Ottaway’s hefty wage packet – £64,766, or more than three times the average salary – in the expectation that their constituency representative will be dedicating his full efforts on their behalf. Some chance.

Clearly, Ottaway does not think his wages and the generous allowances – £85,000 to fund a second home that is not even in his constituency – are anywhere nearly enough for him.

Even adding his wife to the Westminster gravy train as his salaried parliamentary assistant – again, paid for by ordinary taxpayers – is not enough for Tricky Dicky.

As well as being caught up in the MPs’ expenses scandal – to the extent of needing to be “cleared” last year by the local Conservative Association to remain as their candidate for the election – Ottaway somehow managed to have the legality of his spending on his election campaign called in to question. An administrative error, apparently

Yet despite all these expenses scrapes, and his official salary as our MP, even before the election, “busy” Dicky had got himself at least one other job.

According to official public records, Ottaway trousered nearly £7,000 – at a rate of a handy 250 quid an hour, well above the minimum wage earned by some of his constituents – for some part-time consultation work last year for a liquid gas development company.

It’s an interesting extra job for Dicky. Because whenever he seeks to justify the need for a second home – at the expense of hardworking taxpayers – he says he needs to have a swanky London apartment, rather than commute from Croydon, because he is so busy as our MP.

“Lots of people commute into central London from the south of the Borough I know,” Ottaway has written to one constituent. “They too work late sometimes and have early meetings.”

But that’s clearly not good enough for our Dicky. “However, it is the heavy workload at both ends all the time, in Parliament and the constituency, which was the most important consideration in my decision to have a local base rather than commute from [sic] Westminster.” (Note to Dicky: you should be commuting to Westminster, mate).

No mention by Dicky in his letter of his second, or other jobs, though.

Presumably, every hour spent on the train to Victoria with the mere riff-raff of his constituents is another hour less for him to pocket another £250 in juicy consultancy fees.

And of course, it is ordinary taxpayers who are funding Ottaway’s second home that allows him to have the time in his very busy schedule to take on these extra jobs.

Since the election, though, Dicky – too busy on our behalf to spare the time to live in the borough, remember – has managed to take on yet another job.

Unfortunately for his Croydon South constituents, though, this new job probably means we’ll see even less of Dicky Gettaway MP.

That’s because he is now chairman of the influential Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee. That will keep him very busy on matters away from home, with plenty of overseas travel opportunities – first-class in many cases – throughout the parliament for him and his assistant (probably Mrs Ottaway?). And all paid for by someone else. Just the way Dicky likes it.

Inside Croydon is setting up a Dicky Watch: If you are a Croydon resident, or a Croydon South constituent, we want to hear if you’ve spotted Tricky Dicky Ottaway in his constituency at any point.

According to his own website, his next constituency surgery is this Friday, September 10. Do let us know whether you have better luck than we did in finding out any further details, though…

  • Read the Daily Telegraph‘s report on MPs’ expenses, and see how much of your money they are spending on themselves by clicking here (search “Ottaway” to find the passage on Croydon South’s self-satisfied MP).
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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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