Paul Goggins became MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East in 1998. He twice flipped his second home designation, and cashed in on £3000 for a leather suite.
His record suggests he’s no fan of democracy. Goggins voted against transparency measures for parliament in 2007 and against a referendum on the EU Lisbon treaty. He was in favour of introducing a fast track process for planning applications, which would remove the necessity to consult councils and local communities – very handy for the expansion of Manchester Airport!
He appears no great fan of women’s reproductive rights either, voting to reduce the upper limit for abortions from 24 week to 22 weeks in 2008. He also favoured cuts to the Lone Parent’s Allowance, and gave his blessing to limit gay and single women accessing IVF treatments – seeking to make clinics consider the ‘need for a father and a mother’ before allowing treatment.
Goggins was keen, however, on the war in Iraq, backing it whenever possible. And for good measure, also voting against an investigation into the reasons for going to war. He also supported renewing the Trident nuclear weapons arsenal and threw his weight behind every single anti-terrorism measure proposed.
In 2004, he championed the introduction of tuition fees for university students and obligatory ID cards – rejecting a voluntary version of the scheme. However, he didn’t want anyone poking their noses into how much this would cost, voting against a cost analysis in 2006.
Gerald Kaufman (that’s Sir Gerald to you) has represented Gorton for nearly a quarter of a century (he was elected in 1983). Who knows how long he’ll last now though – Kaufmann’s been exposed as a very naughty man with his expenses. Gorton is one of the poorest constituencies in the country, but that didn’t stop him trying to take £8865 from the taxpayer for a new TV (although he had to settle for just £750). Other items he deemed necessary in the exercise of his parliamentary duties included a pair of crystal grapefruit bowls worth £220 and a rollerball pen worth £225. Conveniently, he was absent for eight key votes relating to the Freedom of Information Bill amendment which would have included an extension of policy to require MPs to disclose their expenses.
That’s bad, but what about his voting record? Kaufman was a very strong supporter of the Iraq war. He repeatedly rejected motions that stated the case for war had not been proven, and voted to proceed without UN backing. Despite over one million people lying dead as a result of the war (according to the methodology of the world’s most respected medical journal, The Lancet) Kaufman has also voted consistently against any attempt to hold an inquiry into the events surrounding the decision to go to war.
Backing illegal wars overseas is not the only area in which Kaufman has been a loyal servant of the government. He’s voted in favour of creating Foundation Trust hospitals five times since 2001 – a measure many believe has brought harmful market competition into healthcare. There has been little deviation from the party line in relation to the ID cards scheme. Kaufman is in favour of their introduction, and blocked voluntary registration for the scheme like his Wythenshawe colleague.
While very concerned about what you and I will do if allowed to wander about without ID cards, Kaufman doesn’t seem to give a hoot about climate change. He has no record on voting to help tackle climate change. He was absent for all the key votes relating to the Climate Change Bill.
Tony Lloyd is Labour MP for Manchester Central. Like Kaufman, he’s enjoyed a long, comfortable stay in one of the nation’s safest Labour seats. Unlike Kaufman, Lloyd is well known for his vociferous opposition to the Iraq war, Trident and tuition fees for university students. He has also emerged unscathed by the expenses outrage.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside too. He’s voted for the ID card scheme, and to give police the right to lock us away without trial for 42 days. While he may have opposed the Iraq War, he’s opposed to us knowing the reasons for it – voting against an investigation.
Lloyd also threw his weight behind government plans to privatise the Post Office – the argument being the government doesn’t have the spare cash (funny that, given the hundreds of billions fed to the banks). And, when the ‘super casino’ scheme offered the chance to turn some three square miles of Manchester into fruit machines, Lloyd was eager to take it up. Never mind the associated social problems, perhaps these are the best jobs he thinks we can hope for?
On the environment, Lloyd talks a good talk but has voted in favour of the third runway at Heathrow, and is upbeat about Manchester Airport, although he did find time to do a photo-op with Friends of the Earth for a constituency newsletter.
To have a look for yourself,