A question for you. How can you tell it's November?

The answer: MP Helen Jones is criticised for claiming travel expenses to the town's Remembrance Sunday service.

In case you missed it first time round, data published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority showed Mrs Jones claimed around £35 in expenses linked to five Remembrance Day services between 2011 and 2015.

I'm no maths expert but that seems to work out at about £7 for each round trip journey the Warrington North MP made to the five services.

I don't know if she claimed her travel expenses in 2016 and 2017 but she's declined to confirm whether she will be claiming any expenses for Sunday's event.

And we can all draw our own conclusions from that.

Swiftly taking the moral high ground, the town's other MP, Faisal Rashid, has publicly stated he won't be claiming expenses for Remembrance Sunday.

Judging by some of the comments I've seen, Mrs Jones has been already been judged in the court of on-line public opinion and found guilty.

But hang on a minute. Isn't she just doing her job for which she's entitled to claim expenses?

Is there some arcane secret moral list in existence which indicates some kind of sliding scale of whether or not it is appropriate for her (or other public servants) to claim?

I'm sure that during the course of the year, Mrs Jones, Mr Rashid and just about every other MP will attend meetings, functions or ceremonies involving any number of charities or worthy causes and will, quite rightly, claim travel and other expenses.

Who is to judge the morality of that?

It looks like Mrs Jones is yet another victim of the '#outraged' brigade.

For what it's worth, I am a lot more uncomfortable with Mr Rashid's overseas visits which include a trip to Qatar worth an estimated £4,600 paid for by Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs; a £1,500 trip to Azad Kashmir paid for by the Government of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir; a £1,235 trip to the West Bank and Israel paid for by Medical Aid for Palestinians and a £669 trip to Germany was paid for by chemical firm BASF.

And let's not forget a £1,627 trip to China, which was paid for by the All-Party Parliamentary China Group, with sponsorship from John Swire & Sons, HSBC, City of London, Cambridge Assessment, Arup, and EDF Energy.

Mr Rashid says the trips enhance his 'ability to make informed decisions' on behalf of his constituents.

I can't help but wonder how stronger ties between the UK and China or Qatar will benefit the people of Westbrook.

  • Picture the scene: You are a council in a north west town and a major company comes to you and says it wants to make a £75 million investment that will create around 480 full-time jobs in an edge of town development close to a motorway.

You ask your planning department to have a look at the scheme and it comes back with no objections despite the fact it is on green belt land and recommends the scheme is approved.

Does your planning committee A) Give the green light to the plan, happy for the extra money it will pour in to your cash-strapped coffers in these days of austerity?

Or B) Refuse it?

The answer, of course, is refuse it.

Stand by folks for either an appeal by Eddie Stobart after the council's planning committee turned down the Stretton Green application or maybe Stobarts will just takes its plans somewhere else and another town can benefit for the potential annual £18 million economic boost.