So when is fraud not fraud ? Why when its an MP expense claim of course! With so many MP’s stating “it was a mistake , an oversight, I was badly advised” one wonders whether such cretins, whose numeracy seems rudimentary at best, are really the right people to be holding the public purse strings, let alone run the country?
You can bet your bottom dollar if this was, say, a housing benefit scam, or indeed any other abuse of public money, prosecutions would follow….we shall see….
Here are some the high profile cases, remember, this is your money folks..
Mr Brown used his expenses to pay his brother Andrew £6,577 for cleaning work at his Westminster flat between 2004 and 2006. The brothers shared the cleaner at their two flats. Under the arrangement, Andrew Brown paid the cleaner and the Prime Minister reimbursed his share of the cost.
The Justice Secretary claimed for the full cost of council tax, even though he received a 50% discount from his local authority. He repaid the money last summer, shortly after a High Court ruling requiring the receipts to be published. In a note to the fees office he wrote: “Accountancy does not appear to be my strongest suit.”
The Foreign Secretary claimed almost £30,000 for doing up his £120,000 constituency home over five years, it was reported. He spent up to £180 every three months on the garden at the property in South Shields. At the bottom of one receipt for £132.96 in April 2008, his gardener wrote a note questioning whether some of the work was necessary.
The Communities Secretary claimed for three different properties in a single year, spending almost £5,000 of taxpayers’ money on furniture in three months.
The Housing Minister found herself in trouble with the Fees Office after attempting to claim £600 for hanging baskets and pot plants.
The Culture Secretary wrote a note to the fees office in which he pleaded for his expenses to be paid urgently and even wrote he “might be in line for a divorce” if the money did not materialise within days.
The taxpayer paid for the former deputy prime minister to fit the front of his home in Hull with mock Tudor boards and for his toilet seat to be repaired twice in two years. ( I have a horrible mental picture at this point)
The former Home Secretary’s claims included a £199 pouffe, a £370 armchair, an £899 sofa and a £29.99 a “black glitter toilet seat”. ( Nice, so much for the “hard man” image eh?)
The Tory leader claimed a total of £82,450 on his second home allowance over five years which included a £680 bill for repairs to the property relating to the clearing wisteria and vines from a chimney and replacing outside lights . (Good God, even his expense claims are bland and dull ! )
Mr Letwin, who is in charge of drawing up the Conservative general election manifesto, claimed more than £2,000 to replace a leaking pipe under his tennis court. He said he had been ordered to mend the pipe by the local water company and did not make any improvements to the court or his garden. The taxpayer also picked up the tab for regular services to his Aga cooker.
Mr Barker – the first prominent Tory to be caught up in the expenses row – reportedly made a £320,000 profit on a flat he bought at the taxpayers’ expense.
The shadow innovation, universities and skills secretary claimed £115 plus VAT to replace 25 light bulbs at his second home in west London. On the same claim – part of a £2,191 invoice for odd jobs that included cleaning a shower head – Mr Willetts charged another £80 to “change light bulbs in bathroom”. But parliamentary authorities pared the bill back by more than £1,000, refusing to refund £175 for a dog enclosure and £750 for a shed base. According to the Daily Telegraph, the fees office frequently cut his claims because of errors or overclaims.
The shadow environment secretary claimed back £10,000 of the £14,700 stamp duty when he bought a home with his partner in his constituency. He also charged for fees and a survey of the property in Arundel, West Sussex and claimed for the entire monthly mortgage interest even though his partner’s name was on the deeds
The shadow leader of the Commons claimed thousands of pounds for his garden before agreeing with the fees office that the spending “could be considered excessive”. Millionaire Mr Duncan recouped £4,000 over three years. However, a £3,194 bill for gardening in March 2007 was not paid after officials responded suggesting that the claim might not be “within the spirit” of the rules, according to the Daily Telegraph. In a letter to the MP for Rutland and Melton, the fees office said that it expected gardening costs “to cover only basic essentials such as grass cutting”.
The current Lib Dem leader reported had his second home allowance docked last year after exceeding the £23,083 maximum by more than £100. Other claims made included £1,657.32 for food, and phone bills which included calls to Colombia and Vietnam.
The Lib Dem’s home affairs spokesman regularly submits claims for food and groceries including pints of milk, fluffy dusters and chocolate biscuits. Millionaire Mr Huhne, who is MP for Eastleigh in Hampshire, also expensed a £119 trouser press which was delivered to his main London home.
So how did this system of corruption ever become just a perk of the job ? Well as with many of societies ills it’s all Thatchers fault. According to Michael Brown, former Tory MP, Margaret Thatcher is to blame as she blocked a salary increase and introduced allowances instead, thus deceiving the electorate. “Cheeky Boy” Lembit Opik also backed up this claim saying that the whole system is wrong but that it was Thatcher’s fault because she introduced the current system and, he claimed, encouraged MP’s to use expense claims as a means of supplementing their income.
Time for Madame Guillotine to make an appearance me thinks 😉
“Margaret On the Guillotine” By Morrissey