"Because his constituency is considered 'outer London' Mr Cruddas is legally entitled to Parliamentary expenses for a second home. Inner London MPs have to make do with a £2,613-a-year London weighting allowance. Last year Mr Cruddas received £21,535 in taxpayer-funded accommodation allowances - close to the maximum permitted. This is on top of his £59,000 salary and generous pension scheme. MPs like Mr Cruddas have traditionally been allowed to claim the so-called Additional Costs Allowance to fund bolt-holes near the Commons so they can avoid late-night journeys home after Commons votes. However, his Notting Hill flat is more than four miles west of Parliament, while his Dagenham home is only 13 miles away in the other direction.
Mr Cruddas has told the Commons fees office that his 'main home' is the one in the constituency. He claims expenses on his 'second home' in Notting Hill.
MPs can use Commons accommodation allowances to pay for mortgage interest, essential repairs, white goods and furniture.
The flat in a handsome pre-war mansion block was bought for £375,000 in July 2004 and is now worth more than £500,000. Previously he lived in a flat close to Lord's cricket ground in North-West London. "
So he's taking the advantage of the 'you need a London pad' allowance although he's only 13 miles out of town. So far so bog-standard. But if his 'main residence' is in Dagenham, how come he sends his sprog here ?
The Cardinal Vaughan, where pupils are required to learn Latin and attend weekly Mass, is four times oversubscribed and selects its children according to the religious commitment of the pupil and his parents - and their proximity to the school. Extra points are awarded to applicants whose parents volunteer for church cleaning duties.
The school is surrounded by some of Britain's most elegant and expensive property and parents tend to be wealthy or middle-class. Only 25 per cent of children are from ethnic minorities - low for a school in Central London. The voluntary-aided school is free of local authority control and has some of the best exam results of any state school in London. It sends around nine students a year to Oxford and Cambridge, more than many fee-paying schools. Its results easily outclass its more famous Roman Catholic rival, the London Oratory in Fulham, where Tony Blair sent his three eldest children.
By contrast, the secondary school nearest to Mr Cruddas's constituency home is Dagenham Park Community School, which is one of London's bottom 20 in terms of exam achievement, according to the latest league tables. The pupils are drawn mainly from local working-class council estates and the school's results at every stage are well below the national average.
I gather Mr Cruddas is a Catholic, although that's the first I've heard of it. You'd never guess from his Guardian columns that he was a Christian. But even as a Catholic, it would be a surprise for someone from Dagenham to get into such an oversubscribed school, though it is possible. Generally a left-footer from Mars wiull have priority over a non-Catholic from next door. I wonder what address he put on the application form ?
PS - take the MOS with a healthy pinch of salt btw. A bit of sexing up here and there.
"The Cardinal Vaughan, where pupils are required to learn Latin and attend weekly Mass"
According to the prospectus only 'the most able boys' will be required to learn Latin. And Mass is compulsory at ALL Catholic schools. It's what makes them Catholic, dontcha know.