MPs’ expenses – fraud or just fiddling?

You couldn’t make it up. But the fear is, some of them did, once all 1 million MPs’ receipts come under merciless scrutiny. The Torygraph splashes nine full pages of leaks of MPs’ expenses, starting with the Cabinet and with lots more to come. They were all braced for official release in July but the Telegraph has drawn a bead on them and denied them advance spin. This is not corruption on anything like a Haughey scale ( 45 million euros worth down the years) but it’s still worth a tidy max of 24k a year.To me it’s more like fiddling of a type familiar to – well – journalists. Just look at the series of “10 extraordinary claims” with mugshots – niggling but excruciating. We await full disclosure of the NI contingent, headed by the First Minister. The full facts had better match their voluntary disclosures- for their sakes. Discrepancies could have serious consequences. Fiddling or fraud? Mockery or outrage? It’s a matter of degree. After the inevitable first spate of cynicism and ranting, all of Westminster is on tenterhooks for the public verdict to settle.
Douglas Alexander claimed £5,183 for storm windows and £3,868 for storm doors
David Miliband claimed almost £200 for a pram but was turned down by the Commons authorities
Margaret Beckett’s £600 claim for hanging baskets and other items for her garden was turned down
Andy Burnham tried to claim back £19.99 for an Ikea bathrobe
Hazel Blears claimed for a stay in the luxury Zetter boutique hotel in Clerkenwell
Paul Murphy submitted a £3,500 plumbing bill because his water was too hot
John Prescott used his allowance to install mock Tudor beams on the front of his home

Gordon himself is shown up to be not quite the Presbutton meanie of legend but looks in the clear over the costs of his cleaner shared with his brother. The cleaner probably deserved every penny, if his London flat was anything like his old bachelor billet in Scotland. When it was broken into a policeman commiserated with Gordon for the dreadful mess he left behind. “What do you mean”, said Gordon, “nothing was touched.”

  • blinding

    Morally fraud and Morally fiddling.

  • Nate

    It would be very interesting if someone could possibly cross-reference the double-jobbing (or triple-jobbing) expenses of our MPs/MLAs?Councillors to see if they, perhaps, have double claimed by mistake?

  • Sean

    Haughey took his money from a taxpayer, or two (or three or four) whereas Brown’s lot took money from all taxpayers while using the 2003 Finanve act to exempt themselves from Benefit in Kind provisions. They are worse than Haughey.

  • percy

    This is the best of the lot:

    Claim: The former deputy prime minister claimed £312 for the fitting of mock Tudor beams to the front of his constituency home in Hull and in December 2004 a plumber charged him £210.79 for pipework, taps and to “refix WC seat,” according to the newspaper. In September 2006, he put a £112.52 repair bill on expenses, which included “refit WC seat”. He has not commented so far on the report.

  • Brian Walker

    Reading P Robinson reply to the critical email below,
    I though it was pretty fair, actually. A bit rhetorical, yes. One might query the “open competition” point.I haven’t worked out why Section 75 doesn’t apply but there are good reasons why not. Yet it should be possible to advertise for assistants who support the aims of the DUP. The family nexus in the DUP is unhealthy.

    This isn’t the last world, though. The Robinsons’ apportioned claims for the second home allowance will be interesting, one way or another. I make no insinuations.

  • Pigeon Toes

    ne might query the “open competition”

    One might well do, but if it was the case that this was family “Business” with less than 10 full-time employees, that’s doubtful, and in more than one way…

  • Pound Shop Pete

    Someone sent £250 on a toilet seat. The dearest at John Lewis is £92. They are only 100 pennies in my shop!

  • bob

    FRAUD……… W**nKers!!!

  • oneill

    From Conservative Home:

    The Telegraph’s Benedict Brogan tells Five Live that Sinn Fein were claiming three times the market rate of the properties they rent and neighbours say they hardly see them actually use the accommodation.

    Don’t think it’ll be the most explosive revelation tbh…

  • McNutty

    Surely tonights ‘revelations’ come as some surprise to the Mail which broke it on April 8

  • oneill

    Though a few more gaps filled in here:

  • Zoon Politikon

    Can we sue them under sections 2 – 3 of the Fraud Act 2006?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Morally fraud… legally? That’swillrequire tocome down to cases.

    A pity most of the electorate will prove themselves sheep, tho…

  • Ali G

    “The Telegraph’s Benedict Brogan tells Five Live that Sinn Fein were claiming three times the market rate of the properties they rent and neighbours say they hardly see them actually use the accommodation.

    Dey iz Muzlim innit?