“Checked, verified and determined against strict accounting procedures by the House of Commons.”

I have to say that generally, I am sympathetic to the politicians under fire at the moment over the MPs expense row. And, if it wasn’t started by Tory central office it has been fanned by the flames of indignation of the right. Sinn Fein, who I will come back to in a later post, is claiming it hasn’t been allowed to claim what it feels it is entitled to, and hasn’t claimed food (like the Robinsons). Peter Robinson claims today that he backs reforms to the system that is not fit for purpose, at least under the unremitting glare of the public gaze. But, five years ago, he was of a different mind when his and Iris’ housing claims were first disclosed by the Belfast Telegraph:

“All expenses claimed by Iris and myself are used to further our constituency offices and parliamentary duties and are checked, verified and determined against strict accounting procedures by the House of Commons.” [Emphasis added

Five years ago, that was a valid assumption for those of us outside the loop… How the weather has changed…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mick,

    “I am sympathetic to the politicians under fire at the moment over the MPs expense row”

    That is a good line I have to say – type of line you get on Talk Radio where some crazy presenter says something outrageous and the great unwashed get outraged and ring in.

    SF appear to have set their rules to avoid troughing by their elected members and it has been in place for some years – other parties have not – and MPS have clearly sought to enhance their personal earnings – and the case of those who need a drawbridge to get acesss to their property – their personal fortunes by improper use of the system.

    This system – irrespective of what is approved or not by some funny committe – is clearly not designed to supplement earnings through capital gain or provide a more lavish lifestyle for MPs and those that abused the system for that end deserve all the public opprobrium they get including losing seats or deselection or prison or all three.

    SF deserve credit for the sensible position it has taken and will hopefully be used as model by the Norn Irish Unionist parties and by the British political parties which have turned a blind eye to the troughing.

  • Rory Carr

    We might think to concur with the correspondent in today’s Telegraph letters page who gleefully quoted in this regard the philosopher of our age, Homer Simpson:

    “Honestly, Marge, I didn’t think you would find out.”

    Or they might prefer the entry from my favourite philosopher of the early twentieth century, Ambrose Bierce from his incomparable but much poorly emulated, The Devil’s Dictionary, also
    recalled by a bright Telegraph reader:

    “Conscience: That little voice inside you that tells you someone might be watching.”

    And a certain Mike Fleming from Great Beddow in deepest Essex surely cannot have been the only one who has wondered if there “Have been any instances of ‘mistakes’ resulting in underpayments?

  • Driftwood

    The Daily Telegraph in fairly distributing the blame here. But David Cameron has trumped ALL our local parties by unambiguously saying “I don’t care if it was within the rules, it was wrong”.

    Quite frankly I cannot see Browns hopelessly floundering administration limping along another year. There needs to be a Westminster election soon, with a leader like Cameron to sort out this mess.
    Compare the defensiveness and arrogant attitude the DUP in relation to ‘expenses’ to Camerons’ forthright condemnation of it all.
    I hope people remember this at the Euro election.

    ps As for the expensive flats owned by a mysterious Irish landlord that SF are claiming from the taxpayer…Quis custodes ipsos custodiet?

  • “SF deserve credit”

    Sammy, SF is part of the Provisional Republican Movement (PRM). It’s possible that the PRM’s finance department is channelling income to its political wing in ways that it’s most unlikely to disclose. SF published arrangements may just be a tax efficient way of reducing tax contributions.

  • ??

    But David Cameron has trumped ALL our local parties by unambiguously saying “I don’t care if it was within the rules, it was wrong”.

    Dont see Cameron paying back the money he took even tho hes a multi millionaire. Mustn’t be wrong for him.

  • Mick Fealty

    Tories lost 9 points in the last poll. Anyone who thinks this is going well for any political party, except UKIP, can think again.

    Sammy,

    I will come back to the SF position, in a blog, when I have time to do it properly.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mick,

    Pete is already on it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sammy, Pete doesn’t even claim to speak for me.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mick

    re. “Pete doesn’t even claim to speak for me.”

    I didnt suggest he did – just mentioned he has started a post on the subject.

  • joeCanuck

    Is Spitting Image still on air?
    If not, it should be resurrected immediately, The ad revenue (it was on ITV wasn’t it?) should lift the UK out of this recession.