The expenses row has turned the spotlight onto our MPs, how much they earn, how much they claim and what work they do. So it is only right that we look closely at what our local MPs are up to. Is Charles Clarke providing value-for-money?
According to the research done by theyworkforyou.com, Mr Clarke is yet to speak in the House of Commons during 2009 and his only parliamentary contribution was in a Westminster Hall debate about the local government (unitary) review in Norfolk. In addition, Mr Clarke has not tabled a single written question and served on just one select committee - Labour's controversial East of England Committee. Mr Clarke's voting behaviour doesn't hold out to much scrutiny either, voting just 66% of times which is below average according to "publicwhip".
And all this is at a time when Mr Clarke has held company directorships, been paid to give speeches, write articles for newspapers and go on overseas fact finding trips.
During this time Mr Clarke has claimed over £160,000 - making him one of the highest claiming MPs in the House.
I have made honesty a major part of this election. I have said I will hold no other paid job than being an MP and that I will be a value-for-money MP claiming less in expenses than Mr Clarke. What's more, I will ensure I am speaking up for the people of Norwich South in the chamber and asking key questions of Ministers.
It will seem to a lot of people that this is Mr Clarke claiming more but doing less. Maybe Mr Clarke knows his time in parliament is up, but he ought to be doing what people elected him to do and stand up for the City.
I think the answer for all this is for the Prime Minister to call a General Election and give the people of Norwich South the chance to vote for a Conservative MP who will work hard them, not a stay-away Labour MP.
Statistics detailed here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/charles_clarke/norwich_south