Alan Keen

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For those of a similar name, see Alan Keane (disambiguation).
Alan Keen
Alan Keen.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Feltham and Heston
In office
9 April 1992 – 10 November 2011
Preceded by Patrick Ground
Succeeded by Seema Malhotra
Personal details
Born (1937-11-25)25 November 1937
Lewisham, London, England
Died 10 November 2011(2011-11-10) (aged 73)
Nationality British
Political party Labour Co-operative
Spouse(s) Ann Lloyd-Fox
Occupation Fire protection

David Alan Keen (25 November 1937 – 10 November 2011)[1] was a British Labour Co-operative politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Feltham and Heston from 1992 until his death in 2011.

Early life[edit]

Although born in London, Alan Keen was brought up in the Grangetown and Redcar area in the present day unitary authority of Redcar and Cleveland in the north-east of England. He went to the Sir William Turner's Grammar School in Redcar.[2] He joined the British Army in 1960 and after nearly three years of service, in 1963, he started his career with the Fire Protection Industry where he remained until his election to the House of Commons.[3] He also worked as a tactical scout for Middlesbrough F.C. for eighteen years.[4]

Parliamentary career[edit]

He served as a member of Hounslow Borough Council from 1986–90 and was elected to Parliament at the 1992 general election when he unseated the sitting Conservative MP Patrick Ground.[5] In Parliament he has served on both the Education (1995–96) and the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committees (1997–99 and since 2001).[6]

Policies[edit]

Heathrow Airport expansion[edit]

On 28 January 2009, Keen voted against a motion in Parliament calling on the government to review a decision to add a third runway to Heathrow Airport.[7] Keen had claimed to be opposed to expansion at Heathrow for many years;[8] stating in his consultation publication on the issue he is "opposed to an additional runway" and although he was in favour of expansion up to the present boundaries "there has to be a limit" and he believed "that limit has been reached".[9] However at a House of Commons debate in January 2009, Keen voted in favour of the third runway.[8] Conservative Councillor Barbara Reid of Hounslow Council, said the Keens were “completely ignoring their constituents and letting them down.”, noting that "90 per cent of people in every survey we have done do not support the third runway".[8] Further controversy arose when Keen suggested the third runway would "hardly affect my constituents at all".[8]

Expenses[edit]

Together with his MP wife Ann Keen, the couple used their combined second homes allowances to buy an apartment in an up-market development at Waterloo on the South Bank of the River Thames, claiming £175,000 over five years. The Waterloo apartment is nine miles from their constituency home in Brentford, a 30-minute drive from Westminster.[10][11] MPs who reside near the Keens in Brentford, such as Home Office Minister Phil Woolas who lives in the next street, are able to commute from there to Westminster.[12] The couple claimed for both the interest payments on the Waterloo flat and the cost of re-mortgaging their Brentford home. The Fees Office agreed with the couple's argument that this was claimable because it was used to raise equity for the flat. The mortgage also included the cost of "compulsory" life insurance attached to the mortgages, a practice which is now banned.[10][13] In total the Keens have claimed almost £1.7 million in expenses over seven years.[12]

In 2009, their Brentford home was occupied by squatters[14] after it was unoccupied for 9–12 months following a dispute with a building firm undertaking renovation work.[15] The squatters' declared aim was to turn the house into a centre for war refugees, in response to Mrs Keen's support for the British invasion of Iraq.[15]

In defending their part in the expenses scandal the Keen's stated "we have advocated, strongly supported, and voted for the introduction of Freedom of Information legislation. We are pleased that the point has been reached when full details of MPs' expenses are being published on a regular basis for everyone to see".[16] However, in November 2009, arsonists repeatedly attacked an office block containing Mrs Keen's constituency offices in reaction to the revelations over their expense claims.[17] Keen voted against the reform of MP's expenses in 2008.[18]

A formal investigation into the Keens' expenses by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards ruled in March that the Keens had breached the expenses rules and that he regarded the breach of the rules as "serious", and involving "significant public funds". He suggested that the Keens should pay back four months worth of their claims - some £5,678. However, The Commons Standards and Privileges Committee of MPs disagreed with his findings and reduced the repayment to £1,500.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Keen's wife Ann Keen, whom he married in 1980, joined him in the Commons at the 1997 general election when she was elected for the neighbouring seat of Brentford and Isleworth.[20] Ann held the seat until she was defeated in the 2010 general election.[21] His sister-in-law, Sylvia Heal was an MP from 1997–2010 and Deputy Speakers of the House of Commons before retiring at the 2010 election.[22] He and his wife lived in his wife's former constituency at Brentford.In February 2010 keen was played by Tim Pigott-Smith in the television film On Expenses.

Keen employed son David for at least 8 years as his constituency manager and senior caseworker.[23][24] He also had a further son and a daughter from a previous marriage.[3] He died on 10 November 2011 from cancer, aged 73.[1][25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b [1]
  2. ^ "KEEN, (David) Alan". Who's Who. Oxford University Press. 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "candidate". BBC News. 
  4. ^ "Wanted: MPs Alan and Ann Keen - on the hunt for Mr and Mrs Expenses | News". Thisislondon.co.uk. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (6 July 1992). "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 6 Jul 1992". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Culture, Media and Sport Committee". BBC News. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  7. ^ "Heathrow Third Runway — rethink the plans — rejected". The Public Whip. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Keens vote in favour of third runway at Heathrow". Houndslow & Chiswick Times. 29 January 2009. 
  9. ^ Archived 25 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine[dead link]
  10. ^ a b Drury, Ian (26 May 2008). "Mr and Mrs expenses: MP couple get £175,000 for a flat ... and their house is just 30 minutes away". London: Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 27 May 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2008. 
  11. ^ Woolf, Marie; Watt, Holly; Swinford, Steven (17 February 2008). "MPs in commuter belt scam". The Times (London). Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Politicians living near Keens don't claim for second home | News
  13. ^ "Mr and Mrs Expenses not keen to answer questions". Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  14. ^ Swaine, Jon (10 July 2009). "MPs' expenses: Alan and Ann Keen face formal sleaze investigation". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  15. ^ a b "Housing Activists Seize "Mr and Mrs Expenses MP" Home! | Liberty & Solidarity". Libertyandsolidarity.org. 27 June 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Saunt, Ed (14 December 2009). "Keens ordered to pay back expenses". Hanworth, Hounslow Chronicle. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  17. ^ Lydall, Ross (26 November 2009). "Nurse union flees offices shared with 'Mrs Expenses' after arson attacks". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  18. ^ "MP Alan Keen votes to keep controversial expenses". Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  19. ^ Labour's Ann and Alan Keen ordered to repay £1,500 (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  20. ^ Mp, Labour (21 October 2002). "Ann Keen". BBC News Online. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  21. ^ Thomas, Jessica (7 May 2010). "Mary Macleod defeats Labour's Ann Keen". Hounslow Chronicle. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  22. ^ Watt, Holly (15 May 2009). "Ann and Alan Keen buy flat 10 miles from home: MPs' expenses". The Daily Telegraph (London). Archived from the original on 23 May 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  23. ^ Simon Walters and Glen Olwen "Fury as minister pays to help daughter win place at Oxbridge despite Labour's war on 'unfair advantage' of middle class", Daily Mail, 11 January 2009
  24. ^ "Alan Keen's son to lose job under Christopher Kelly's reforms". Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  25. ^ "Labour MP Alan Keen dies after cancer battle". BBC News (BBC). 14 November 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Patrick Ground
Member of Parliament for Feltham and Heston
19922011
Succeeded by
Seema Malhotra