MP defends £30,000 round-the-world trip

A SUFFOLK Labour MP has defended his involvement in a £30,000 round-the-world fact-finding mission in the face of heavy criticism from Conservative opposition.

A SUFFOLK Labour MP has defended his involvement in a £30,000 round-the-world fact-finding mission in the face of heavy criticism from Conservative opposition.

Chris Mole, MP for Ipswich, will be jetting off today to Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and San Francisco for a two-week trip.

It has been organised to study different styles of local government and urban regeneration for the select committee which scrutinises the work of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

He will be joined by fellow committee members Andrew Bennett MP for Denton & Reddish, Clive Betts MP for Sheffield Attercliffe and Christine Russell MP for the City of Chester.


You may also want to watch:


But Tory members of the committee turned down the chance to join them because they thought the alleged £30,000 cost to taxpayers was unjustified.

Conservative member Sir Paul Beresford said: “I don't think the chairman can justify it and I am not going.

Most Read

“If it was the Agriculture Committee going to New Zealand to look at their farms, which are the world's best, I could understand it.

“But I'm not sure that New Zealand has much to tell us about local government and urban regeneration.

“I can't quite see how our select committee is going to actually benefit. It's a very nice trip though, nice places to see if you are not paying for it.”

But Mr Mole said: “I don't know the exact figure but I'm not sure that the £30,000 sum which has been quoted is the correct one.

“What I would say is that the committee has limited the number of MPs that are going so that they can keep the cost down.

“It is a fact finding mission to see how other countries tackle problems in local government such as housing, planning, voting and finance.

“It is important that we have an understanding of how issues are addressed in other parts of the world so that we are not narrow minded about what solutions to problems might be.”

Mr Mole also reassured constituents that he would not be missing anything at a meeting with members of the Strategic Health Authority, which is to be held next Wednesday.

All seven Suffolk MPs have been invited to attend the high profile meeting, which will address important issues regarding the state of the health service in the county.

He said: “I will be missing the meeting but I had talks with the chief executive of the Strategic Health Authority about a month ago and because of that I don't actually think I will be missing anything that I don't already know.

“I take health matters very seriously and the meeting next week will be a chance for other MPs to catch up on information that I have discussed before.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter