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December 05, 2010


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John Gibson

I wonder how many of these female foreign research assistants are overweight and unattractive?!

It seems a pity that so many MPs prefer young foreigners to young Britons as research assistants. How many British young people work in the Russian parliament?

Paul Flynn

no, I have never had foreign nationals as research assistants -only as interns when they are added value. The security checks are a great dis-incentive.


Isn't this exactly the kind of thing to light the fires of British(more likely English) patriotism, the idea that they might just be important enough for people (who aren't from the U.S.) to bother spying on them.

Paul Flynn

Right rwendland. Katia is certainly not stupid. She would have to be to behave in the manner suggested. It did not take a genius to spot her connections with Russia.


It's a funny kind of spy that does a Masters degree in Peace Studies at Bradford University. Talk about drawing attention to yourself.

Paul Flynn

Welcome back, Jolly Roger. Your verse has been missed. Dozens of blogs will dump on Mike Hancock today. Much of it will be justified, much will not. You wisely read this site where I always avoid statements of the bleeding obvious.

Paul Flynn

Tiresias, the past system invited abuse, the present system will cost more and is wide open to be exploited. Read Adam Afriye debate of last week. He makes a sound case for a simpler fairer cheaper system.

Paul Flynn

Willsted, the standards of surveillance for claeners are not as rigid as they should be for MPs reseachers.


It's the sheer incompetence of the Parliamentary expense system that offends me, plus the weaselly little petit-bourgeois tricks many MPs have used to wangle a few extra quid out of it. In any sensible organisation, expenses are handled by a friendly but inflexible person with, perhaps, a couple of assistants who calmly tell you why you can't claim for a new umbrella. Senior management don't have to get involved.

MPs, though, chose to dress up part of their salary as expenses and then went to the trouble of inserting an exemption in our tax legislation just for themselves. Many of them then spent hours of their valuable time trying to scam the system. Thus they managed to make a total Horlicks of this simple back-office function, so that they now have to spend millions of our money a year in effort to demonstrate their honesty.


This government doesn't "do" evidence.


Basing policy more on how people *feel* about it (as shown by focus groups and poll ratings) is surely far better than basing it on what so-called experts *think* about it.

As a wise man once said, "You can prove anything with facts, can't you?"

*The above post is typed with tongue-in-cheek.

Paul Flynn

My comment was carefully worded to avoid the excited reporting of the tabloids. Its aim was to be fair to both Mike, who has virtues as well as weaknesses, and Katia.

I am curious about a process that allow the home Secretary to expel someone on the basis of no evidence presented to any answerable body - even one that is held in camera. As I said I am prepared to be gobsmaked. but do sleeper spies parade their Russian names, accents and loyalties?


Thanks Jolly Roger. Paul, I'm astounded that you and Mike Hancock both seem to think this woman cannot be a spy - in spite of the security services strong assertion that she is - simply because you have met her and found her 'affable'. Sleeper agents are supposed to be affable Paul, it's kind of their job. A quick glance over her published articles tells us swiftly that this woman is, at the very least, a fanatical supporter of Putin and the current regime http://bit.ly/ihQPfz which - considering they are a threat to us and have been accused of murder in the UK and trying to undermine British security, is pretty worrying in a Parliamentary Researcher.

Kay Tie

"against Home Office advice"

To be fair to Paul, past evidence indicates that Home Office advice is inversely correlated with the truth. One merely has to look at the policy-based evidence for drugs to see this.

The Home Office was and remains the most dysfunctional of all departments. I no longer believe anything it says without corroboration. And let us remember that the security services haven't covered themselves with the glory of trust ever since we saw how the Dodgy Dossier was prepared.


But this is the thing. I can understand why you might exchange researchers between parliaments for experience etc. But why are you having foreign nationals as research assistants?

Jeremy  Poynton


Every time she opens her mouth more like.

All women shortlists? Yes, except when my husband is concerned.

Gnnah. A former Labour voter of over three decades who will never vote Labour again.


Are you a traitor or a fool? Agreeing with Hancock on 95% of international matters is bad enough, but digging your heels in against Home Office advice takes the biscuit.

Kay Tie

"Constantly repeating a lie does not make it true."

Something your colleague Harriet Harman should remember when she repeats the lie about the gender pay gap.


'There is a prolonged detailed vetting of all those who seek parliamentary security passes. ...All applicants with overseas connections are subjected to extensive delays.'

In that case how is it that not so long ago a Brazilian illegal (who had somehow 'fled immigration' at Heathrow) was found to be working in the HoC as a cleaner, using a faked id? Sorry to say the credibility of the article tanked on the first paragraph!

Jolly Roger

It's Jolly Roger here, back from the brink.
It seems that your mate Hancock is causing a stink.
Currently on Police bail, accused of sexual harassment.
I do hope he doesn't cause you too much embarrassment.
You've nailed your colours tight to his mast,
Despite his somewhat 'interesting' past.
And with this latest 'revelation', I think,
That you may wish to check out the following link.


The comments, it seems, are well worth a click.
The mud's flying fast. Some's bound to stick.

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