Parliamentary Expenses Disgrace

In the same way that rich people who get exemptions from inheritance tax on their art collections have to make them available to the Great British Public, perhaps MPs who have spent taxpayers’ money on home improvements could add to the gaiety of the nation by being made to have visiting hours, so the Great British Public can go and take a proper look at John Prescott’s mock Tudor beams, Kitty Ussher’s new ceilings, or Keith Vaz’s nice cushions?

12 thoughts on “Parliamentary Expenses Disgrace”

  1. Or have a go on Alan Duncan’s ride-on lawnmower?

    But you’re right – I think this could alter public perception 180 degrees, so that people like Hilary Benn and Philip Hollobone (is the latter famous for anything aside from being parsimonious to a degree that makes Scrooge look like Warren Buffett?) are seen as boring killjoys rather than the frugal exemplars that they currently are.

  2. That is a seriously good idea.
    It is a sad comment on the lack of philosophical training in our universities that nobody seems to have explained that just because something is allowed doesn’t mean that you HAVE to do it.
    So far none of the MP’s seems to have claimed that they were acting under orders when they claimed for the bathroom.

  3. Has any MP yet used the “it was for my own personal use” defence when faced with receipts documenting expenditure on dogfood or (in the case of Cde Woolas) women’s clothing? By wearing nappies in the Commons chamber, for example, one might be able to pay more attention to the debates, especially after a long, liquid lunch.

    On the boring killjoys, aka the non-scammers: they are so predictable, aren’t they? Hilary Benn, Ed Miliband and Alan Johnson are the three Cabinet Ministers being singled out as “not being on the take”, but I don’t think anyone would have thought that any of those three might have been. And theyworkforyou.com tells me that 515 MPs claimed more against their Additional Costs Allowance than Oxford East’s Andrew Smith in 2007-8, which, again, isn’t at all surprising to anyone who’s ever met him.

  4. Or have a go on Alan Duncan’s ride-on lawnmower?

    Yes! — or perhaps it could go on the plinth in Trafalgar Square, as a symbol of twenty-first century Britain?

  5. Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville apparently uses a “well above average” amount of alliterative phrases in his speeches. Is that surprising?

  6. Has any MP yet used the “it was for my own personal use” defence when faced with receipts documenting expenditure on dogfood or (in the case of Cde Woolas) women’s clothing?

    I’d tread carefully here, since he’s threatened to sue over these allegations – the women’s items (not just clothing) were on a receipt he submitted, but he didn’t claim the full total. Allegedly.

    And theyworkforyou.com tells me that 515 MPs claimed more against their Additional Costs Allowance than Oxford East’s Andrew Smith in 2007-8, which, again, isn’t at all surprising to anyone who’s ever met him.

    Conversely, West Worthing’s Peter Bottomley is joint first (!). There must be a story behind that, though, since his rankings for the previous years have been very low indeed.

    Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville apparently uses a “well above average” amount of alliterative phrases in his speeches. Is that surprising?

    No.

  7. but he didn’t claim the full total. Allegedly.

    No – as I understand it, the amount he claimed was identical to the full amount of the receipts he submitted (which included women’s shoes, nail polish, and comics). His defence is that he was actually claiming for a bunch of other things for which he didn’t need to provide receipts, and which coincidentally cost exactly the same amount (to the penny) as the women’s shoes, nail polish, and comics from the receipts he did submit.

  8. Peter Bottomley is not alone. If you look at a lot of MP’s you will see that a fantastic number of them are joint 1st. That is because they all deciuded that they were entitled to claim the maximum allowed , which was £23,083 in the last year registered. It also explains why some of the details of the claims were so flakey. They thought that the receipts part was just a minor nuisance. This shows in the lordly way that Douglas Hogg just threw together a bundle of receipts for the Fees Office and said “you can see there’s more than enough there to pay me.”
    I haven’t found out yet how many people are exactly jopint 1st, but to give a sense of how much the claims are bunched at the very top end, Barbara Follett came 279th by claiming £22, 254.
    This was just a form of tax-free income in their minds.
    If the L:abour Party still existed in any meaningful form we would be seeing a wave of deselections across the country. Sadly, we’re not.

  9. As an American, I find all this fascinating. America has long been cursed with politicians of both parties who live extravagant lifestyles, often aided and abbetted by lobbyists. Now you Britons have found that your politicians are just as adept at squandering money.Interestingly, a lot of the squandering seems to the work of your Labourites. I have long suspected most of the members of so-called “New Labour” to be afflictted with a kind of terminal sanctimony- and a bottomless hypocrsy. Perhaps it is because that of instead of being old-fashioned Labour radicals, they are thse strange creatures, post-modern liberals.
    As my old friend andd teacher Stanley Hauerwas used to put it, “Mr. Harder, there is no one more self righteous than a typical liberal: that is because they are so sure they ioccupy the God-damn moral high ground!”

  10. If the Labour Party still existed in any meaningful form we would be seeing a wave of deselections across the country. Sadly, we’re not.

    Quite.

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