MPs Expenses Scandal: Mark Anthony France on Sky News

West Midlands Respect activist Mark Anthony France and local pub landlord Gianni D’Anaello speak to Sky News in Bromsgrove about the MP’s expenses scandal, following the furore surrounding the expenses of their local Member of Parliament.

Worcestershire MP Julie Kirkbride is currently at the centre of a fresh expenses scandal which has reached right into the heart of the Conservative Party.

Ms Kirkbride had registered a property in her Bromsgrove constituency as her second home, allowing her to claim expenses on it, while her husband Andrew MacKay – the MP for Bracknell in Berkshire – had registered a property in London as his second home, allowing him to claim expenses on that one.

Mr MacKay quit as Mr Cameron’s policy adviser after it emerged the pair were both claiming for second homes despite sharing properties.

Mark France, a constituent who has independently been collecting signatures for Julie Kirkbride to resign, said:

Mark Anthony France on Sky News

Mark Anthony France on Sky News

“We got about 150 signatures in just three quarters of an hour and we’ve now set up a little group and we aim to collect 10,000 signatures in the next 10 days. We’ll present them to Rita Dent, Julie Kirkbride’s constituent secretary, on June 1st and we’re saying that Julie Kirkbride should resign. ”

When pressed by the reporter over whether he was using the recent events as an opportunity to promote the Respect party, Mark made it clear her was working independently of any party by responding:

“No, I’m a local lad who believes in justice, truth, decency and honesty. We have 1,200 people made redundant in the Bromsgrove area just in the past 3 months. There’s a lot of hardship, there’s a lot of people who are fidning that everything they’ve worked for is just collapsing around them and there’s a lot of anger and this is the last straw.”

The above interview was broadcast on Sky News on 16th May 2009.

14 responses to this post.

  1. Well done Mark.


  2. Posted by Electra on May 27, 2009 at 18:54

    I second that! Well done Mark!


  3. Posted by gary on May 27, 2009 at 19:26

    So you are behind the campaign against Julie Kirkbride, are you the same respect as the disreputable mouthpiece George Galloway


  4. Posted by Dawn from Bromsgrove on May 28, 2009 at 22:36


    The people of Bromsgrove Costituency do not care less about Mark Anthony France’s views. How dare you imply that the people who have signed petition to get Julie Kirkbride out, has anything to do with anything other than their feelings, their views and democracy! they have a voice and they have shared it with the World. AND at long th epoeple have been listened too.

    what is wrong with that??


  5. Posted by Dawn from Bromsgrove on May 28, 2009 at 22:38

    ** at LONG last the people HAVE been listened to.


  6. Posted by Normster on May 30, 2009 at 08:33

    First, it is simply untrue that in this interview the reporter attempted to equate Respect with the racist BNP and the xenophobic UKIP parties.

    He asked the landlord (not France) “If someone like Mark Anthony came to your pub you know pitching for Respect or even the BNP or UKIP, if someone came to your pub to have a chat with (them?) do you think they’d listen in and hear what they had to say?” The landlord said yes, he thought they would, “It’s a time for listening.”. It’s quite obvious the reporter was asking about small, fringe parties generally, as he had made clear earlier in the interview, not equating their policies as you imply.

    Second, France’s answer about being a local lad came in response to a quite different and more pertinent question, nothing to do with the BNP or UKIP, namely,

    “Now this is all tangled up with you pitching for the local elections for the Respect Party , isn’t it. You are a classic, in this story, opportunistic fringe party candidate aren’t you.” naturally France denied the suggestion. Reminded me of SWP denials.

    This is a short interview which you have manipulated for your own ends. Nothing new there then.

    At the end of last year France was stating how energised he felt to step up his work as part of the Bromsgrove Respect supporters group, and in this very interview, only about a fortnight ago, he admitted to being an activist in Bromsgrove Respect.

    Yet now, apparently, France says that he has resigned from Respect. It is being said that has no connection with and isn’t a member of the party.

    Is that the whole truth? Might he rejoin? Has he had a change of heart? Have his politics changed? Are there fairies at the bottom of my garden?

    Can’t wait to see.


    • Posted by Dawn Suzette on June 16, 2009 at 20:16

      The Julie Must Go campaign was not set up for any political purposes at all- such as advertising or campaigning for Respect, or any other political party out there.

      Mark was approached by Sky whilst we were petitioning, it was a coincidence that they turned up, he did not approach them- it was live and off the cuff- the reporter bought up the respect party. MARK DID NOT.

      Then as you say the reporter said something like this

      “Now this is all tangled up with you pitching for the local elections for the Respect Party , isn’t it. You are a classic, in this story, opportunistic fringe party candidate aren’t you.

      He also said you could be called a respect activist.

      Marks response to this is not a typical SWP response-it was his gut feeling response- live and not recorded and the truth as he sees it.

      he said

      “ You could say that ( a respect activist), but no, I’m a local lad who believes in justice, truth, decency and honesty. We have 1,200 people made redundant in the Bromsgrove area just in the past 3 months. There’s a lot of hardship, there’s a lot of people who are finding that everything they’ve worked for is just collapsing around them and there’s a lot of anger and this is the last straw.”

      This short interview, besides Mark quoting history going back hundreds of years was not manipulated for his own ends- the reporter manipulated it on live tv for media ends to get a story-and to try to link it somewhere along the line of political activity on behalf of Respect, when Marks true purpose was to get the Bromsgrove Constituents to come out and be heard and sign- and they did in their thousands. You have also manipulated the true meaning of this interview.

      The reason we resigned from Respect was because the Media and people like you, were trying to Dis any attempts for a local voice to be heard- they were trying to demean the locals implying that in some way they were being manipulated by some ‘political activist’ campaigning secretly for Respect, also a lot of the rumours and rubbish going around were apparently spread by the local conservatives, the real potential and allegedly, manipulators of expenses here- Julie.

      You are trying to rubbish democracy and all the people who have started petitions like this around the country, against corrupt politicians –to have a voice.

      At no time at all was the Respect party involved or gave any support for this campaign to get immoral MPs to stand down- because they were not asked to be involved and only know about it from the media.

      So I suggest you get your facts right and stop manipulating a short interview for YOUR own purposes.


  7. Posted by Red on May 31, 2009 at 13:09

    I second that! Well done Mark!

    Not so “well done Mark” – as he resigned from Respect the minute the media asked if he was a member.


  8. Posted by Suzie on June 5, 2009 at 16:37

    A black day for BromsgroveTristan Harris
    05 June 2009
    When historians review May 28, their conclusion will be damming for the interests and future of Bromsgrove.

    The ‘Get Julie Out’ campaign has presented itself as being virtuous, whiter than the driven snow and without a political agenda. However, Mark France, the organiser of the campaign has alleged links to both the Labour and Respect party. He was also an Independent in this week’s local elections. It appears that Mr France is adept at changing his political colours with the finesse and speed of a chameleon when it suits him.

    At the recent ‘Get Julie Out’ meeting in Sanders Park, a staggering 80 people attended. Mark France commented about the lack of trust in today’s political system, he may have a point however, can he be trusted when he coldly uses political expediency at any expense to remove himself from one party for another in his desperate attempt to become a local politician.

    The campaign organisers admitted that out of the 5,000+ signatures collected, 1,000 had to be removed due to ineligibility, leaving the grand total of signatures collected at 4,000+, a minute per centage of the Bromsgrove population and proves that they do not have the consensus of opinion. However, like the days of the Wild West, the lynch mob continued with its witch hunt, defiling the Parliamentary and English legal systems.

    Politically motivated fringe groups such as this always condemn, vilify and whip up people’s emotions to serve their own political ends, but never present capable alternatives. Mr France could easily relocate from Bromsgrove if things do not go his way with the same ease that he swaps political allegiance. That is fine, but it leaves the rest of us here in Bromsgrove for the poorer as we will never be so eloquently represented again in Parliament by an MP who has worked tirelessly for the
    Bromsgrove for well over a decade and received votes from Conservative, Labour, Liberal et al.

    I believe historians will record May 28 2009 as a black day for Bromsgrove where a minority of Bromsgrovians were duped and whipped up into a frenzied mob by a politically motivated fringe group.

    Keith Birmingham


    • Posted by Dawn on June 16, 2009 at 19:32


      just to point out that this was a letter sent to the local paper by Keith Birmingham. It has been repsonded to!


  9. Posted by Dawn on June 16, 2009 at 19:30

    Just to let every one know.

    Mark France is more than likely to get the sack- they are using the comments on this site as evidence against him.

    I thought we had freedom of speech- obviously not


  10. Posted by Suzie on July 6, 2009 at 19:18

    Yes you had the freedom of speech, you said your piece and they listened to everything the pair of you had to say. What did you expect? A promotion? Get real. With Mark’s past history posted for all to read on here he’s basically made himself unemployable. Well done!


  11. Posted by Nick on July 7, 2009 at 10:09

    I think Mark is a fantastic person and did a great job in getting rid of a corrupt callous MP! Well done Mark, great work!


  12. Posted by Sandra on July 7, 2009 at 10:12

    Mark ran a good campaign off his own back and Respect, like many others, supported him but have never said they were affiliated with the campaign. It is reported here just like any other secondary news source as he is or was an active member with them. By my understanding Mark is also an active member with the Greens and used to work with Labour.

    Not a contraditcion as some make out, clearly fidning his place and working for the common good as oppse to party loyalty – he did stand as an independent after all. People are trying to brush him off as fringe by aligning him with Respect as if it’s something bad…

    He shouldnt let the media and critics put him off working with Respect, Green or anyone, it’s his decision what he does and he’ll come out of this the better man!


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