Monday Funnies: The Right Dishonourable Members

By DeusExMacintosh

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David Cameron has called for a wider crackdown on MP’s allowances as he and Gordon Brown clashed on the issue at prime minister’s questions…

The exchanges came after days of damaging allegations over MPs expenses.

A growing number of MPs from all parties have agreed to pay back thousands of pounds claimed in expenses after reports based on leaked receipts by the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Brown told an unusually subdued House of Commons that MPs must apologise for the way the expenses system had been misused and mistakes should be “rectified”.

He said proposals from the Commons Members Estimate Committee to make all claims made since 2004 subject to external audit was a start in restoring public confidence.

BBC News

Also:
Police to look at MP allegations
Scandal fallout could last two years

Details of what individual MPs are said to have claimed and their responses can be found here

UPDATE: 20 MAY 2009

Scalp #1: Speaker quits ‘for sake of unity’

UPDATE: 31 MAY 2009

Scalp #2: Expenses MP standing down to care for sick wife
Scalp #3 & #4: MPs Kirkbride & Moran to quit

18 Comments

  1. Jacques Chester
    Posted May 18, 2009 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    This is a golden opportunity for Brown to turn Labor around, much as Peter Beattie did in Queensland. Fess up and start sacking people.

    Bonus side effect: you’ll wind up with a new crop of replacement MPs who will owe you their position.

  2. Posted May 19, 2009 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    It’s Labour with the U in the UK, Jacques. As most of the policies that created the British economic crisis (‘light touch’ regulation, off-balance sheet PFI spending, a massive increase in public debt – and that was BEFORE the taxpayer had to spend billions to bail out the banks) were the personal brainchild of G. Brown Esq in his Treasury incarnation, he’s about as trusted as a bitch on heat. Add the inheritance of unpopular and expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (Blair’s gift to his American boyfriend forced through with Labour’s electoral majority) and ice generously with a thick layer of expenses sleaze and I’d say Brown has about as much chance of turning the party or government around as the captain of a cargo tanker has of pulling a screaming u-ee in a bathtub.

  3. Posted May 19, 2009 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    This really is some inspired photoshoppery, DEM. Currently laughing very hard…

  4. Posted May 19, 2009 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    And to be fair to Conservative MP Douglas Hogg, he didn’t actually claim for the cleaning of his moat on parliamentary expenses. He just wrote to the Fees Office to say “I’m too busy and important to make a proper expenses application, this is everything I’ve been spending on my historic home (list included the cleaning of the moat, housekeeper and services of mole-man) which is so much that it’s obvious even the undisputable claims must be far in excess of the allowance so just give me the full whack.”

    The Fees Office decided that yes, he was too busy and important to submit a proper expenses claim and set up the equivalent of a monthly direct debit paying him the full allowance with no further questions asked for the next few years.

  5. CFQ
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    DEM, that is an excellent summation. Top notch.

  6. John Greenfield
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    DEM

    You really confuse me. Your Funnies over here are so wickedly funny in their political incorrectness, that people claim they are “offensive”, but I read you gasbagging over at one the Hairy-Legged sites, and you were quite the PC sapphist.

    Please Explain. 🙂

  7. Posted May 20, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Feminist, dear boy. FE-MEN-IST which is quite a different thing altogether. I get to bitch politically on Skepticlawyer and then bitch socially with the Hoydens – the difference tends to be merely in style and degree.

  8. John Greenfield
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Hmmmm…your funnies are certainly not “misogynist” or anti-feminist, but your jollies in the Sapposphere kinda undermine your wicked and laser take on politics generally; a complete contradiction of the Sapphosphere hivemind.

    Or perhaps, I visit too irregulalrly, and thus read too shallowly.

  9. Posted May 20, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    What, you don’t like my selection of LOLdogs?

  10. Posted May 20, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Please, enough with the misuse of Sapphist. To be a proper Sapphist, you need to enjoy sex more.

    /Classicist hit and run.

  11. John Greenfield
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    SL

    A friend of mine recently went to a lecture given by Bettina Arndt on sexual desrire asymmetries in relationships. Somebody asked if she had any data on gay couples. She said, not enough to draw any firm conclusions, but she had interviewed several lesbian couples who talked on “Lesbian Bed Death”!! 🙂

  12. davidp
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    “A growing number of MPs from all parties have agreed to pay back thousands of pounds claimed in expenses”

    Many people seem to think paying back money when you’ve been caught undoes the offense. I can’t accept that – you’ve abused the public trust (minor infraction), or defrauded the public (definite infractions). Prison seems the right place for some of these MP’s.

  13. Posted May 21, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Ah, but David, now we have the problem of one rule for the rich and one for the poor.

    If they’d been screwing around within the benefits system where there are clear declaration requirements and criminal penalties then yes, the whole lot would be facing nice clean charges of Fraud. Unfortunately clear rules on MPs expenses are virtually non-existent – administration tends to be done with a nudge, wink and a handshake.

    As most MPs have pointed out, what they have done has been entirely within the existing rules regardless of how publicly unpalatable. There is actually nothing to stop married MPs each claiming expenses on a DIFFERENT second home as the system has only been designed to deal with MPs as individuals (unlike the benefit system where couples are treated as a single unit and receive less welfare together than they would separately). Even this isn’t a slam-dunk case of self-enrichment for a three home family. Married MPs will still represent different constituencies and the local party responsible for their selection as a candidate will expect them to have a local address or at least intend to acquire one, to show commitment to the area (as a voter in the past I’ve refused to vote for a candidate that wasn’t local – it looks like they’ve been ‘parachuted in’ by the party). Most MPs family homes are actually somewhere in London but by renting or buying a ‘second home’ in the constituency the local party bosses are appeased. Personally I’d argue that on this basis it’s a political expense rather than one incurred in the course of the job and thus shouldn’t be covered by expenses in the same way that mailing/stationery expenses can be claimed on expenses unless they are party-political in nature.

    But that’s just me. [Perhaps constituency parties should be funding a political vicarage?]

    Even in really clear cases of misconduct (on a site owned by two lawyers I don’t know if I dare use the ‘F’ word) where several Labour MPs were shown to have claimed expenses for mortgage interest on loans that no longer existed there is confusion, especially after it was revealed that at least one had done so with the full knowledge and permission of the fees office! Am not sure how you’d prosecute that one. As part of the MPs oversight system, the fees office is ultimately answerable to the office of the Speaker – this is partially why Michael Martin has had to resign.

    What I WOULD like to see is a public statement from HMRC that they will be re-examining cases like those of Hazel “the artful dodger” Blears, James Purnell and Geoff Hoon who claimed second home allowances on properties which were then described to the taxman as “main residences” at sale, thus avoiding thousand of pounds in Capital Gains Tax. In fact, I’d like to see a LOT more interest from the Inland Revenue on MPs expenses.

  14. davidp
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the reference DEM. Personally I think that having advice that they will pay a dishonest claim is just evidence of lack of integrity by both the office and the parlimentarian. It’s like the tax accountants who advise people that they can claim certain amounts as tax deductions without substantiation, even if they did not incur the expenses – you can get away with it, but it’s not honest. Being dishonest with other people’s money should be considered criminal.

  15. Posted May 22, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    THAT’s the problem. They don’t see or accept that it is other people’s money. The on air rant by Tory Grandee Anthony Steen MP yesterday was a case in point. Critics were just “jealous” that he had such a nice house and what he did with ANY of his money as an MP was none of the public’s business in his less than humble opinion. And the Freedom of Information Act was an intrusive load of ****.

    Conservative leader David Cameron was on the phone about thirty seconds later and it has been confirmed that this particular party dinosaur will be becoming extinct at the next election. Oh, and he’s apparently had a whirlwind courtship and is now in love with the Freedom of Information Act.

  16. Posted June 3, 2009 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    And the latest on Scalp #5 and ad nauseum…

    Home Secretary to stand down Yes, Jacqui Smith, the lady who launched the MPs expenses row with the “Porn Ultimatum” (when her hubby charged two pay-on-demand porno flicks to her wife’s parliamentary expenses) is going, as are numerous other figures from the Labour party.

    The words “rats” and “ship” come to mind…

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  1. […] exposure of the MPs expenses scandal by the Telegraph was essentially that last nail in the Labour Government coffin. That and the economic meltdown […]

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