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I have to admit that at the time in the morning I usually am heading to the bus I’m not that awake. So for weeks now I may well have walked down Hopetoun Street in Bathgate and turned right unto South Street to pick up my paper from the newsagents then had my head in it looking for a headline to blog about as I returned up South Street to catch the bus.

It may well me that the sign for the offices of Mary Mulligan MSP (pictured right) have stared me in the face for all those weeks since I posted this about Mary’s name being removed from the offices near my house.

Now I’m not casting aspersions as I’m sure the claim for this new office is all above the board with the people at Holyrood. However, after 10 years of sharing office space, first with Tam Dalyell and then with Michael Connarty, why now does Mary Mulligan feel the need to burden the taxpayer with a second constituency office no more than 300 metres from another for the same party? Sharing offices between MPs and MSPs of the same party is not uncommon practice so why the need for the DMZ between the two now?

Is it because of the current unearthing of MPs expenses that are embroiling her Westminster colleague that she wants to distance herself?

Have they fallen out over irreconcilably? Michael has shown staunch support for Gordon Brown and lately the Speaker in a failing Westminster regime. Is Mary trying to distance herself from that?

I had specualted that maybe Mary was moving to Whitburn in preparation for the contesting the Airdrie, Shotts and Whitburn seat which may be approved by the Electoral Commission for Scotland this week. But as this office is in Bathgate that would not appear to be the case.

However, the fact that now we have two constituency offices in Bathgate (indeed Michael also has one in Grangemouth) so close to each other seems like a cause for explanation to the taxpayers and the electorate who share Mary Mulligan and Michael Connarty. At a time when other people and business in the private sector are tightening budgets and rationalising why have these two expanded in to even more office space?

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