Today John Baron reacted to incorrect reports in today’s Echo which stated that John’s “claims also included £18.21 on expenses for a food parcel for soldiers in Afghanistan.” Having been approached by the paper late yesterday afternoon, John requested the story be held because he felt there was an error somewhere but he needed time to check the facts. This was refused by the paper. On checking the facts this morning, he found the error was the Echo’s.
This is sloppy and sensationalist reporting of the lowest kind. A basic checking of the facts would have clearly shown that receipts were not submitted and therefore the claim for a troops food parcel was not made. As an ex-soldier, I find this sort of reporting offensive.
Meanwhile, had the Echo checked the story about the gardener’s Christmas tip they would have known this claim was made in error and was rightly rejected. Then again I had no time to check the details.
The Echo’s comment that ‘the MP’s scrooge mentality is captured in some of Billericay MP’s John Baron’s claims’ suggests there is an agenda here. Since being the MP, I have personally donated over £10,000 to local charities and good causes and have helped many charitable causes including military ones. These are hardly the actions of a scrooge.
This follows a front page story in the Basildon Echo following the recent release of MPs expenses claims. It appears that the journalists involved decided not to let the facts get in the way of a good story. I do hope that the Echo has some decent lawyers on retainer, because something tells me that they are going to need them.