Saturday, May 09, 2009

Expenses - Day II

This whole expenses thing is becoming like a Christmas edition of Eastenders where the story unfolds from Christmas Eve right through to Boxing Day night in multiple episodes, isn't it? You're just waiting to find out who is going to slap who and then get barred from the Queen Vic, or in this case Parliament.

Today's news in the Telegraph has fingered four ministers over dodgy expenses claims. The allegations are that,
  • Barbera Follet, the Tourisarm Minister and wife of millionaire Ken Follett spent £25,000 on a private security patrol at her flat in Soho after she was mugged and felt unsafe. Makes Jacqui Smith's comments about not walking at night, and Harriet Harman's stab jacket look minor huh? Follet has said "I claimed it, it's within the rules and I have no comment to make."
  • Phil Woolas, the Home Office Minister, is alleged to have claimed for womens clothing, nappies and tampons, suggesting he was claiming for someone else and thus breaking the rules - unless he's a transvestite hermaphrodite with weird tastes and we don't know of course? Apparently he has said the allegation is "absolutely disgusting", is seeking legal advice, and is denying he did any such thing. My guess is that if the allegation is true it's a receipt with lots of items on it and nothing was crossed out, i.e. a "clerical error".
  • Ben Bradshaw, the Health Minister is accused of doing the second home switch trick but also now claiming for full interest payments on a house he shares with his partner but is only obliged to pay half the interest payments on. I imagine someone will point out that straight MPs in relationships with joint mortgages wouldn't get the same attention - expect claims of homophobia from some quarters on this one.
  • Phil Hope, the Care Services Minister, is alleged to have spent £37K furnishing his flat.
The Telegraph has also listed the first Tory, Greg Barker, the shadow climate change minister. They say he made £320,000 on the purchase and sale of a flat thanks to help from you and me. More Tories to come apparently. OH yes, Keith Vaz has been fingered too, but that's par for the course really.

Now, for me, the most incredulous of these expenses claims is the one by Barbera Follet. This is a woman that this is the wife of millionaire who's own husband, according to him, subsidises her already to the tune of at least £100K a year. Put aside the absurdity of hiring a private security detail at the taxpayer expense - I thought they were called the Police - she's filthy rich already.

I'm thinking that 3,139 majority in Stevenage is looking dicey this morning.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it time we now stopped calling MP's "honourable" and "right honourable".

They don't deserve such titles.

CommonSense said...

I think Margaret Moran and the 22K claim for fixing dryrot on her second home (100s of miles from her constituency and London) days after giving the property second home status takes the biscuit. She ought to resign as a MP over that claim.

Anonymous said...

I Cant believe that when it came to the Baby P case, Balls sacked people left right and centre, despite this regime inventing this system and thereby generating the failures.

Now Gordon Brown is claiming it is the systems fault.

Well I want to see them stop blaming people (who didn't design their systems) and free the public sector to start redesigning their own. Instead of being tied-down by centrally imposed targets that are the cause of many failures and an inspection regime that polices the outcomes.

In child protection children being taken into care has risen by 38% because everybody is afraid to make a mistake of they will get fired.

Isn't it time that we stopped this public sector management by fear.

Anonymous said...

Aren't several of the items mentioned on receipts rather than on claims?
I understand that some of the MPs have submitted the Tesco receipt but only made claims for some of the items.


Not a sheep said...

Do not accept the "clerical error" excuse, the Green Book - A Guide to Members' Allowances includes this "fundamental principle" - "Individual Members take personal responsibility for all expenses incurred, for making claims and for keeping records, even if the administration of claims is delegated by them to others."

Anonymous said...

Isn't it time we took control away from these dictatorial, untrustworthy, common as muck thieves?

No way, should they be in charge of anything any longer as they just proved they cannot be trusted to managed themselves.

Anonymous said...

The word is incredible not incredulous by the way.

Tsk -education.

dizzy said...

But I didn't mean incredible I meant incredulous, as in being of the 'i can't believe it' variety. Incredible would work but wasn't what I said.

SPAD said...

Woolas doesn't need to be a hermaphrodite... I know LOTS of games that you can play with tampons... you just need a good imagination and sophisticated tastes.

Cinna said...

So the minister tor tourism doesn't feel safe in her own home in London, eh? Not a very good advertisement for the tousist trade.

Or maybe it's to protect her from angry voters?

Dan said...

you once had a picture of a house in soho with a sign saying "there are no prostitiutes here". Well that is very close (if not) the Follett's house. Seems like the only screwing going on in there was of the tax payer....

Anonymous said...

Woolas has said that he never claimed for everything on the receipts he submitted, just the food on them, which is within the rules.

He suggests that the Telegraph assumed that he claimed for everything on the receipts (women's clothing, nappies, tampons etc...) and didn't check what he actually claimed for.

If Woolas is right the Telegraph could be looking at making a formal apology, if not more.

Anonymous said...

The usual excuses will come out, pay MPs more. I suggest quite the reverse. Pay them less. Get rid of the professional politician and get back to the people who wanted to be MP's because they want to serve. It is time to end this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

I see what you are getting at but you did not say you were incredulous you said one of the expenses claims was incredulous. An expenses claim cannot be incredulous only incredible.

Oh well never mind. Leave it Anon it's not worth it.

Anonymous said...

On topic

Woolas disgusted by claims being made public, they're "stolen property".

Off topic.

This might make you smile

Anonymous said...

i see an M P claimed for a pile of horse shit on his expences this i feel was esential to his parlimentry job as he needed to include it in his next speech.

Anonymous said...

I agree the Stevenage majority is looking dicey.