More than three years ago I made a promise to the people of Taunton Deane: When elected as their new MP, I will not claim a penny of the Parliamentary pension until ‘ordinary’ people have the same pension rights as MPs.
The Parliamentary pension is ridiculously unfair and comes from the same pot as the basic State pension.
I have also promised to refuse the £10,000 a year communications allowance which many MPs spend on those glossy leaflets which come through your letterbox promoting themselves.
I also said I would not use the £23 000 ‘John Lewis’ expenses list, which, all these years later, has seen greedy MPs hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
It is this list which results in taxpayers in Taunton Deane paying for MP lifestyles and ‘second home’ goods which they themselves could not afford.
In short, I felt that this was legalised theft and I promised that when elected, I will be different.
I did this because after being selected as your candidate for Parliament, I had met so many people who said ‘politicians are all the same’ and ‘it doesn’t matter who you vote for’.
It was clear that I had to go that extra mile in order to earn the trust of local people, to earn the right to be listened to on what I wanted to do for the country to improve the quality of life in our communities.
When I decided to bid to become an MP, I had no idea what MPs earned or claimed in expenses.
It had nothing to do with my decision.
I simply decided I wanted to stop such people from destroying our country and feathering their own nests.
While I am not a wealthy man, I hope that in future we will get people who want to be an MP for the honour of doing the job, rather than for the pay and rations.