On June 26th the Rochdale Observer ran a front page retraction and apology to Paul Rowen MP.
Although vague on the precise reasons why the Guardian Media Group did not stand by their original report on the current Rochdale MP's Parliamentary expenses, the Rochdale Observer front page and website on June 26th began:
"PAUL ROWEN has blasted ‘unsubstantiated and false’ accusations he used taxpayers’ money to fund party-political activity".
The rebuttal ended with a powerful statement in bold:
"THE Rochdale Observer would like to make it clear it has no information that Paul Rowen MP was using Parliamentary expenses to fund Liberal Democrat political activities and apologises if any reader got that impression."
Rochdale Liberal Democrat accounts are hard to come by. There is only one set available on the Electoral Commission website. This set of accounts related to the year ending 2005, the first year of Paul Rowen MP's tenure.
Signed off by local party Treasurer Cllr Mulgrew, Jimmy Cricket's son, they stop at 2005- there isn't any more.
The accounts speak for themself.
Click here for the the link to the published PDF on the Electoral Commission website.
Have any of Paul Rowen MP's Parliamentary expenses been used to fund Liberal Democrat political activities?
Rent- previously freely gifted but since 2005 claimed from Parliamentary expenses?
Printing- such as so-called "externally printed party newspapers". referred to in the June 26th rebuttal. But the Parliamentary expenses that have been published clearly show that the "Externally printed" Lib Dem party newspapers that Paul Rowen MP placed expensive adverts with were invoiced to an unincorporated organisation called the "Rochdale Liberal Democrat Printing Society"- based at...Rochdale Lib Dem HQ at Drake Street. Click here to see the invoice (at pages 12-14 of 34)
Salaries- the Rochdale Liberal Democrat 2005 accounts are crystal clear:
"...the local MP through his Parliamentary allowance now covers all such overheads."