Dear Editor, I enjoyed your cartoon of a Western style shoot-out in Edgbaston between Deirdre Alden and Gisela Stuart but I was very disappointed that Gisela is playing dirty by suggesting that “the Alden family claim £150,000 in expenses”. (Post March 18)

That is as outrageous as it is untrue; Gisela knows that and should apologise.

In fact Deirdre claimed £440 on officially approved travelling/petrol expenses; Councillor John Alden claimed much less and Robert Alden did not claim expenses last year.

By contrast in 2007/8 Gisela’s “Additional Cost Allowance” was £18,245 which included £2,400 for food and £5,021 for repairs and furnishings which Deirdre and the rest of us have to pay for out of our wages or pensions.

Gisela also received other large expenses including £8,458 for travelling.

Gisela did buy a house for when she visited the constituency; she then sold it and pocketed a capital gain of £63,000. As the gain was partly funded by the tax-payer will she repay it as required in future?

I do regret having to be critical on matters of probity but people in glass houses should not throw stones at the innocent.

Councillor James Hutchings (Cons)


Dear Editor, In explaining how the Labour MP Gisela Stuart posted on Twitter a gross over-estimation of what my council allowance actually is, Paul Dale has also inflated the amount I am paid.

No councillor is allowed to claim two Special Responsibility Allowances, and therefore I am not paid an extra £4,196 for chairing the Edgbaston Constituency Committee. I have taken on this extra responsibility for the past three years with no extra pay.

Councillor Deirdre Alden,
Conservative Parliamentary,
Candidate for Edgbaston.