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April 14, 2011


Lord Salisbury

Is this how low we have sunk, when the leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition has to answer questions about traveling first class? I wish politicians would not give into the the mentality that so dominates the vast majority of the electorate, let the mob moan all they want, most of them won't vote anyway. It's absolutely ludicrous to think that politicians should only use standard travel and stay in cheap hotels. Sir Nicholas Winterton was absolutely right, one cannot hope to work when being bothered by members of the public on a day out.

I presume if he is conducting party business, the Labour Party will have paid for the ticket along with his aides, so what is the problem?

David Parker

I really do not have a problem with party leaders, or even cabinet or opposition front bench shadow ministers ministers travelling by first class rail, but this privilege should not be extended to their numerous hangers on, such as SPads, PPSs etc, nor should it apply to local government officials, or other civil servants, except for a very limited list of CEOs or very senior heads of departments, who would normally enjoy the same privileges in similar positions in the private sector.

When it comes to air travel, "Business class" usually provides a far more peaceful and convenient working environment than the so called "First class"
cabin often populated with sports or pop stars and their entourages.

As a part of both parliamentary and local government "transparency" it should not be difficult to identify the travel expenses of individual employees, so that abnormal items could be questioned or justified.


Until incidents like this: http://www.hertsandessexobserver.co.uk/Bishops-Stortford/National-News/Train-assault-trio-spared-jail-term-88260.xnf?BodyFormat=2& are adequately punished an vanishingly rare, no politician, minister, judge, or seniot civil servant should be allowed to travel first class. Only then will we get safe public transport.

Elaine Turner

This is just ridiculous - you can't work and chat about things in ordinary class. Anyone who has travelled on a train that is full knows that - kids screaming, eating, phone calls, loud voices. If you want the time used to the optimum they have to travel first class - whether MPs travelling in from the West Country/North/Wales/Scotland or the heirarchy in each of the parties.

This is just penny pinching to the enth degree and ridiculous. The next thing will be do they use supermarket brand products, wipe their bottoms on used newspaper - where does this pathetic trivia end with the media, so desperate to big their ratings up?


It's all a bit silly, but what is bad for Miliband is good for Britain.

Andrew Smith

So, let me get this right.

Miliband is embarrassed he can afford to travel first class, albeit at public expense no doubt.

Cameron is embarrassed he went to Oxford when a black person might have benefited more.

Is that right, or am I completely confused about "modern" British politics (apologies to Samuel Beer, who would have been most amused).

David J

Another case of Labours "Don't do as I do, do as I tell you"

Mark W

Well if they don't want to travel with the great unwashed then go by car. God forbid anyone would actually speak to our great politicians, some people's attutude on here of putting people on thrones. Other people need to talk and work on trains too. I have not travelled long distance onn the train for years, don't think I could afford even Standard class. NIcholas Winterton was a snobb of the worst kind.

Lord Salisbury

Sir Nicholas Winterton was a wonderful public servant, a first class parliamentarian and a gentleman. He should have been elevated to the House of Peers after the last election and was absolutely correct to say what he did last year about not wanting to travel in standard class.

It's desperately sad that we do not show more respect to our parliamentarians, where has the deference gone that was so characteristic not only of toryism but of people in Britain generally?


quite unreal - what is wrong with first class - people need to get a grip - miliband is responsible for far worse than travelling first class


I have no objection to Miliband travelling first class. But if he does, he should stop accusing the Conservatives of being "out of touch" with every breath he takes.


I've been on enough trains in second class to know that it is impossible to concentrate and actually do work there, there's too many people constantly fighting over reserved seats

Martin Sewell

What irritates me is politicians trying to evade issues by saying " The real question is.. " or similar formulaic response.

Hattie Harperson does it all the time.

Mark W

Deference to MPs why Lord Sailsbury, should this working class boy not be standing as a Conservative candidate in May, I should know my place and let my better's such as MPs continue doing what they want with my money, let them buy as many duck houses as they want. What a dreadful outdated attitude you have SIR!

Lord Salisbury


Very happy to hear you are standing as a Conservative candidate in May, best of luck. I am a working class boy as well and in no way do I think people should know their place, far from it but I do think that Members of Parliament should be shown some respect, indeed we should be very appreciative of the role they play. We are in danger of frightening off many capable people by not allowing them to claim legitimate expenses for carrying out their duties. This is especially true of those who are not wealthy and cannot run their offices from private income, the current arrangement that Parliament has forced on MPs and is being implemented by IPSA is disgraceful.

My hope is that political discourse in this country is elevated above petty bickering about train travel and expenses but I fear this may be some time away.

Martin Marprelate- A Man in the Street!

Typical of the loathsome Neo-Puritanism which now pervades the Cameron Counterfeit Conservatives. I would expect the PM to travel First Class if not being conveyed in an official or RAF aircraft. Likewise the alternative PM = the Leader of the Opposition, if on Offical Business. I was not at all impressed by the silly gesture politics of Cameron and family using a cut-price airline to go off on holiday.


I think people are missing the point.

The issue isn't Milliband travelling first class. The issue is that he has tried to cover that fact up by removing all the seat covers. I doubt even Alistair Campbell would have stooped that low.


No Ed you can't relate to other people's lives. You had a privileged communist upbringing wherein you were entirely insulated from reality.

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