Friday, October 19, 2012

George Osborne and Thomas Isaac Mardy Jones

There has been much merriment today at George Osborne's antics aboard the train to Euston.

As BBC News tells it:
George Osborne has been forced to pay for an upgrade after sitting in a first class train carriage with a standard class ticket. 
An aide to Mr Osborne initially refused to pay the £160 supplement and said the chancellor did not want to move into standard class, Virgin Trains said. 
ITV reporter Rachel Townsend, who was on the same train as the chancellor, Tweeted about the incident. He is lucky he is not living in the 1920s.
Back in 2005 I wrote about the fall of Thomas Isaac Mardy Jones in a House Points column:
In 1922 Mardy Jones was elected Labour MP for Pontypridd. He had begun work in the mines at the age of 12, and like many working-class Members found life difficult financially. 
Payment for MPs was one of the Chartists’ demands in the 1830s. It was not introduced until the Liberal government’s 1911 Parliament Act. In Jones’ day the salary was small, but MPs did receive a perk in the form of vouchers that could be exchanged for railway tickets between their constituencies and Westminster. As Matthew Parris reports in his Great Parliamentary Scandals, those tickets were strictly non-transferable. 
Mardy Jones broke the rules. He sent two tickets to Wales to allow his wife and young daughter to make a rare trip to London. Unfortunately, one of them was six weeks out of date and the Great Western Railway pressed charges. 
Despite an ingenious defence involving vital papers that had to be brought to him, Jones was found guilty and fined £2 plus costs. Worse, he was obliged to resign his seat before the case came to court.
Mardy Jones did fight the 1931 general election as an Independent Labout candidate, but came third in the poll.

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