Labour MP for Middlesbrough , Sir Stuart Bell, pays his wife £35,000 a year to manage a constituency office that does not exist outside of his own home.

Apparently 73 year old Sir Stuart, who has been the MP for Middlesbrough since 1983, is almost impossible to contact. His local constituency newspaper, The Evening Gazette, reported that they tried to contact him over 100 times via telephone with no answer and he has not held a constituency surgery for 14 years.

But in defence against these allegations, the Labour MP said that he is more than prepared to meet constituents by appointment if they go through his Westminster office and that the reason behind his lack of constituency surgeries is because he was threatened during a previous surgery.

Sir Stuart said the following with regard to the allegations that he is unreachable in his home constituency office. Speaking to the The Mirror he said

"These claims are surprising and a bit bewildering to be honest.  We have a telephone system in the house which works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  We have three full-time members of staff. I see my constituents every Friday on estates and in their houses."

Ed Miliband has come out and said he will get to bottom of these allegations, spurting some nonsense or other about high standards being expected of Labour MPs. Yet if these allegations are true then the Labour leader clearly has no idea of what his MPs are up to and as for quality control in the Labour Party it would appear to be watered down.

But if he has neglected his constituents the question of who to blame is self-evident.

If Sir Stuart has been a naughty boy then he has played the system successfully albeit dishonestly and made a nice living out of not doing his job properly, but he would receive only a small portion of the blame in this matter.

The lion's share of blame should go to those people thick enough to vote in an MP who is not directly contactable for the past few 14 years.

3 members of staff unable to answer 100 calls?

If this is true then the people of Middlesbrough have done themselves a great injustice in continually re-electing this man.

On the other hand he may be doing his job to the satisfaction of the majority of his electorate, albeit a little 'differently'.

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