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Archive - Wednesday, 7 June 2000
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Whistleblowing Euro-MP Robert Goodwill is giving £1,000 to our Hospice 2000 Appeal from the Brussels expenses loophole he exposed.
Mr Goodwill, from Terrington, near Malton, acted after reading an Evening Press editorial which praised him for revealing the over-generous European Parliament's expenses system.
Mr Goodwill had disclosed how Euro MPs could legitimately pocket hundreds of pounds on their travel expenses system by flying economy rather than business class.
But our leading article printed last Friday gave him "bottom marks" for keeping the money he had saved through the system.
It said it was a pity he apparently had no plans to give it to the appeal for St Leonard's Hospice in York or another good cause.
"It must be unusual for a journalist to have a politician respond positively so quickly to one of his suggestions," quipped Mr Goodwill, who has sent a cheque for £1,000 to the Evening Press offices in York.
In an accompanying letter he said he had also given £500 to the Terrington Church Tower Repair Appeal, and would give another £500 to charity some time nearer the anniversary of his election.
The £2,000 total is the money Mr Goodwill calculated he saved by travelling to Brussels about 20 times, using an economy ticket rather than the business class covered by his expenses, a saving of about £100 a time.
He added that he had also contributed £100 to a charity building a school in Kashmir and bought a half a ton of daffodil bulbs for planting in Terrington since becoming a Euro MP.
Although he sometimes had to travel business class because of his work he would continue to fly economy when possible - but the money saved would continue to aid good causes. "I'll be flying in the back of the plane for Yorkshire charities," he said.
Mr Goodwill said he was not the only Euro MP who travelled economy class, adding his Conservative group had pressed for changes to the European Parliament's expenses system so members were reimbursed for what they actually spent, but had been defeated.
Karen Russell, finance and fundraising manager at St Leonard's Hospice, said: "We are delighted to receive the donation from Mr Goodwill, and thank him very much for his generosity and the Evening Press for bringing the appeal to his attention.
"If there is anyone else who would like to follow his example we should of course be very pleased!"
Dr Peter J Barber, church warden at All Saints Church, Terrington, said: "We certainly appreciate the gift, and it's nice to have cash at an early stage of the appeal - it gives the appeal a good start."
The £40,000 appeal was launched at the end of April, and Dr Barber said they had already got cash and promises totalling over £3,000.