MPs Expenses: Public Service and Private Humbug

The Right Honorable Margaret Beckett, M.P.
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Despite political pressure, the media continues to keep the MPs expenses story alive and I want to do my bit. As was seen before even the main story blew, it seems the culture of copping cash from the public purse is endemic in Whitehall. There remain some important questions to answer. In particular:

Have any MPs committed illegal acts with regards to their remuneration and expense claims ?

What are the Taxation rules for all MP allowances and expenses ?

Where MPs have committed tax evasion, will they be fined ?

Where evidence exists that specific MPs have committed fraud, will they face prosecution ?

The news so far is not encouraging. The Tories have jumped to it and are cleaning house with gusto, providing the best comedic value when pompous idiots like Viggers spout about privacy when they have been rather publicly exposed as greedy chancers. Labour have appointed Nick Brown MP (their Chief Whip) to investigate claims from their MPs. Is Labour really cleaner than clean in this area ? According to the BBC, Brown has claimed £18,000 over 4 years for “food” with no receipts. Not illegal but certainly smacks of nose-in-trough and we should be irked by the parliamentary officials who permitted it.

Where the whole saga does start to take on a wonderfully amusing air is when one reads the sheer bloody-minded and ridiculous statements coming from some ‘outed’ public piggies. A few corkers include:

Margaret Beckett (claiming for a second home which she rented out whilst cosseted in a grave-and-favour pad in Admiralty House) “Grace and favour homes are not rent free, we are taxed on them as a benefit in kind”.

Excellent. Well done Mags ! I do hope the tax man has a complete return including all the money you took on the side from the flat we paid for.

Phil Woolas – who does seem to have tried to play it straight but blows it by describing his expenses records as “stolen property”. Possibly true but, if so Phil, please change the law. I have a right to know what you claim on my behalf and from my pocket.

Ruth Kelly played the ‘too-busy-with-my-kids-and-ministerial-duties’ card to explain why she forgot there was an insurance policy in place on her flood-damaged home. “my claim was neither ludicrous claim nor a phantom claim”. Bless.

Gerald Kaufman refused to comment publicly on his claim for almost £2K for a rug and £8K for a telly when confronted by reporters. Earlier, he reportedly told the Telegraph he had offered to repay the money for the rug and called the television claim “a bit daft”.

Taking the focus away from the economy may be the new argument to simply let the expenses row die away. Don’t let it. These money-grabbing idiots are the same self-serving pratts who managed – or failed to oppose the laughable management – of that same economy. Probably too busy down the Fees Office, making sure their claims went through.

1 Comment

SimonMay 24th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Check out also this excellent blog entry which includes some (sadly anonymous) quotes from greedy-bastard MPs whining about claims rejections: