Monday 11 May 2009

A plague on all your houses

The Telegraph investigation on MPs' expenses today focuses on the Conservative frontbench.

There are some similarly extravagant claims, in particular Alan Duncan's £500+ repair bill for his ride-on lawnmower. Iain Dale was first to spot an obvious lightbulb changing joke in the details of the report. (But the Spectator were quick to suggest - convincingly - that the accusation against Michael Gove of 'flipping' homes is unfair, and that this was a genuine change of personal circumstances).

The party leaders are now both trying to issue collective apologies, even if no individual MP appears to want to admit personal culpability. (The sole exception so far appears to be Cheryl Gillan MP, who says she is mortified about claiming £4.88 for dog food, presumably as part of a grocery bill).

Those MPs who have stayed not just "within the rules" but within the spirit of what the rules are intended for are not getting much of a look in as the public mood is 'a plague on all your houses'. The Telegraph does today highlight one case: that of left-wing Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins, whose extremely frugal claims are contrasted with those of fellow Luton MP Margaret Moran. (A number of frontbench MPs have also been briefly cited as having very straightforward and reasonable expense claims).

The 'drip, drip, drip' nature of the story probably means we won't hear much about most of the good 'uns until near the end.

Before then, there is probably much worse to come. Westminster rumours over the last couple of months have suggested the most egregious offenders might be found on the backbenchers: for example, it has been suggested at least one backbench MP (already standing down) had a conservatory built on the taxpayer. (While individual responsibility should be paramount, that would be among a number of claims to raise the systemic issue of why evidently absurd claims were not vetoed).


Anonymous said...

Very good post Sunder, but the Tories have the most to fear. These Multi-Millionaires could have 3-4 homes if they want to and yet still claim for 2nd house expenses? This is just Tory Greed and we seeing the return of the True Conservatives, Cameron can't hide behind the facade for much longer. As long as Labour unite behind Brown the election will be ours. No ordinary person in the right mind would vote for a party who have no clear policies, Brown has just got to ride this out. Though the question is how far will the Telegraph go in detailing the Conservatives? Telelgraph so far has shown its being political in just going heavy on Labour.

Calix said...

I'm afraid I can't agree with the last comment. If we start to play party politics over this we will just drag ourselves down. Voters won't distinguish between one suited white male politician and another. Frankly, if we do try to squeeze political advantage out of this we deserve everything that comes to us.

FloTom said...

Calix could not agree more. To say the Tory's are guilty of wrong doing but there wrong doing is worse than Labour Politicians wrongdoing is ridiculous.

As to winning the next election you must not live in the same world I live in brimiro. The attitude of most core Labour voters to the Labour Party probably could not be published on here.

As a person who has always supported Labour and voted Labour like my parents before me I would not vote for this shower of money grubbers if they paid me.

It is the English Democrats for me. The Scottish Cabal at the top of the Labour Party is a disgrace. You only have to look at the Barnett formula to see that.

I want and Indpendent England and an Independent English Parliament.