The Tories’ turn

Somehow after the first jolts, the impact doesn’t seem so severe, now that it’s the turn of the Conservatives. Even so, the pattern is the much the same as with Labour. David Cameron got his “sorry” in just before publication. And oh yes, you may like to know how Tony Blair managed to afford that £3.65 million Connaught Square mansion…

Extracts
“Michael Gove, the shadow education secretary, spent more than £7,000 in five months furnishing a London property in 2006 before “flipping” his second home designation to a new property he bought in Surrey. He then claimed more than £13,000 in stamp duty and other fees

Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, spent thousands of pounds renovating a thatched Tudor country cottage shortly before selling it. He redecorated inside and out with premium paint at a cost of £2,000 and re-shingled the driveway. He then “flipped” his expenses to a Georgian flat in London where he claimed for thousands of pounds in furnishings including a Laura Ashley sofa.

Francis Maude bought a flat in London a few minutes walk from a house he already owned. He then rented out the other property and began claiming on the new flat: the taxpayer has since covered nearly £35,000 in mortgage interest payments.

Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, claimed thousands of pounds to renovate a London flat 17 miles from his family home. Mr Grayling already owned three properties within the M25 but still bought the flat with loans subsidised by the taxpayer. He then claimed for work on the property for up to a year after it was carried out.

Cheryl Gillan, the shadow Welsh secretary, claimed for dog food on her expenses. Last night, she said that she would repay the money.”

Ah so that’s how he did it..
“It also emerged today that Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, remortgaged his constituency home for £296,000 – nearly 10 times its purchase price – just before buying a west London house for £3.65 million. While there is no suggestion Mr Blair broke any parliamentary rules, he was able to use the system to claim for interest repayments amounting to almost a third of the new mortgage on his constituency home. The remortgaged amount was enough to cover the deposit on the new London house.”

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London