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MPs' expenses: Your e-mails

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Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 13:50 UK time, Thursday, 18 June 2009

Since the MPs' expenses were published this morning, we've been receiving hundreds of e-mails from people who have spotted things which they want to tell us about.

BBC News website image We've made the expenses claims available on the BBC News website (you can get there via bbc.co.uk/expenses) with the ability to search them by MP's name or by postcode and to click directly through to the relevant page on the parliament site (we've published 646 pages - one for each MP). The searchable list is currently on top of the most-read stories on the site.

We've also asked you to tell us if you notice things you want to bring to wider attention and, when you do, we're then passing the information on to our news teams and the BBC Political Research Unit at Westminster, who are checking, following up and, importantly, putting these points to the relevant MPs for their response.

The results are being published here. It is a great example of many pairs of eyes being better than a few (the principle of what's sometimes described as crowdsourcing), and a good way to tackle the challenge of looking through more than a million receipts.

Steve Herrmann is editor of the BBC News website.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Why are MPs being hung, drawn and quartered over avoiding (not evading!) capital gains tax on "second" homes? Anybody with two homes may nominate one for the purposes of principal residence relief and that nomination can be changed. This is a nomination as to which of two residences will be subject to CGT relief, it is not a claim that one or other is IN FACT a main home. This is available to anybody, and is actually publicised on the HMRC web site.
    This seems to me to be totally different from the question as to whether MPs should have second homes at all. This is a matter for the MPs expenses and allowances system. The fact is that they mostly have had second homes, so CGT relief should be accepted. That is not to say that they should have had second homes.
    If MPs make their claims for expenses and allowances using the phrase "wholly necessarily and exclusively for the purposes of...duties as an MP", then I should have thought prosecutions should follow. This phrase is well tested in relation to tax law and is notoriously difficult to satisfy.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Looking forward to those at the BBC, who are relishing the abuse of taxpayers money, publishing every penny of what they spend.

    What's going on in the House of Commons is dispicable, but those in Glasshouses shouldn't throw stones.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    I would like the BBC to investigate a little further Gordon Brown's 2nd home allowance claims. Particularly as they appear to have flipped from a London residence to a Fyfe residence.

    Also why is he claiming £650 for food given he has lived at No 11 & No 10 for the past 12 years. The buck starts at the top !

  • Comment number 6.

    Amazing what an easy time the so called impartial BBC is giving Cameron over his expeses.Gordon Edinburgh.

  • Comment number 7.

    OK, I am glad to see they have opened up the expenses of our glorious leaders. I have looked at some in general and specifically at my own MP. I have to admit to a certain niave trust when going to check out her expenses, after all she had not achieved any degree of notoriety in the press. Although at this point I do have to point out that I had no idea who my MP was. Having gone through her expenses for the last three years I am stunned by what was 1) Allowed and 2) Claimed. These servants of our nation seem to deem it thier right to squander my money just because the green book says they can. Take this Monthly food bill and utilities, which until very recently just seemed to be a carte blanche to earn a little extra. I dont know about the rest of your readers, but if i put these kind of claims through to my company (which incidentally makes money for our country, not gives it away)I would be met with (in order) amazement, derision, disbelief, anger and in all likelihood my P45. I keep hearing the tired song of "oh but its in the rules" and i am sure it is. No doubt some MP wrote those rules in the first place, or at least had to vote on them along with thier yearly pay increases despite the country's current economic situation. Just because something is allowed, does not mean it should be done. It may be an urban legend but i believe it is still legal to shoot a scotsman in York with a Bow and Arrow, yet i doubt you will see gangs of Robin Hood wannabe's roaming around the Cathedral looking for a Tartan tourist. I would like to see a measure of Justice. not a lot of sorry's and grudging repayments. Who is going to end up in court faced with Fraud? then and only then will i believe the governments and MP's understand just how outraged the public are about these scandals. If anyone is interested and I have a lovely spreadsheet detailing the public money spent on renovating a bathroom with premium materials and a Garden which must rival Kew, if the expense claim form is anything to go by...!

  • Comment number 8.

    Certain MPs have spent a great deal of money on their gardens and swimming pools which have little to do with their work and their need for accommodation while in their Constituency or in London.

    These properties were not fo the use of their electorates but solely theirs, their families & friends. Indeed many have all the hallmarks of affording 'a house in the country' at the taxpayers' expense.

    Since swimming pool and garden maintenance is hardly connected with Parliamentary duties- and a small property would have avoided this cost- surely these expenses should be paid back to the taxpayer or these facilities opened to the Public (we've already paid after all) several days of the week for an equivalent of all the years maintenance has been charged.

    In many towns a manicured Public Park garden and a local swimming pool facility just cannot be afforded because of the cost of maintenance and staffing so it sits uneasily that a MP can have us pay for his private manicured lawns and swimming facility when we the Public are being denied the opportunity and the pleasure.

  • Comment number 9.

    When are these MPs going to get it that we are sick of their cover-ups and lies about what they did and did not claim for. We are sick of their bleating that they 'did nothing wrong'. We are sick of cover ups. This will not go away and I watch with incredulity as MP after MP is trotted out on the BBC in numerous programs and they don't get a tough time. They need to be made aware of our anger. Unfortunately the BBC panders to these clowns and seem to behave like part of a cosy partnership in ignoring the simmering rage that is going to boil over soon if they continue to treat us with contempt. Do your bloody job and tell them like it is.

  • Comment number 10.

    well apart from the bits that are covered up it seems rather light on honesty thus its a publicity stunt by those in westminster that has failed to hit the mark and shows there are those there who have something to hide thus cover up seems to be all it is.
    sadly many may be fooled by this white wash but hopefully it will cause those guilty of miss use to resign and own up to illegal activities.
    the government fear posting the full truth becouse they know people in this country would be willing to string them up.
    is it too much for the voters of this country to know the truth and have a say on how to deal with it.

  • Comment number 11.

    Given that our Chancellor lives at number 11 why are we paying nearly £1k per month mortgage repayments? Or is it me?

  • Comment number 12.

    I've just been looking a local MPs expenses Jonathan Djanogly the MP for Huntingdon. The more I read, the angrier I'm getting. The claim form clearly states that expenses should be wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred to enable you to stay away overnight away from your only or main home for the purpose of performing your Parliamentary duties.That's plain to me and makes sense.Mr Djanogly is a Solicitor by profession and therefore cannot claim to have not understood the meaning of those words.

    The fact that one claim includes £3000 for backdated food without receipts and £800 for 8 weeks cleaning (now that is a well paid cleaner) without receipts is bad enough. The same claim however includes dusters (if I was being paid £100 a week for a bit of cleaning I'd supply my own pigging dusters)candles (wholly, exclusively and necessarily?) and £47 worth of jam making equipment!! Add to that over £550 on saucepans that I assume are never used by the rest of the family who happen to live in his second home (exclusively)

    When MPs say they were acting within the rules THEY ARE LYING. They only have to read their own bloody claim form to know they were breaking the rules.

    Mr Djanogly, please tell us who you were paying £100 a week to without a receipt for cleaning your house. Any hand written scrap would have done. You managed to get receipts for the (wholly, exclusively and necessarily) removal of leaves.



  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    About kitty Ussher

    It says in our local paper she was giving up her seat at the next election anyway, if that was the case why did she take up her new ministerial role 12 days ago and undergo renevations to her new London Home,

  • Comment number 15.

    WHY are WE paying for these second homes so they can sell them on and pocket the cash .
    Surely it would be better to hand back the second home,to the goverment, when they no longer work for Parliment?
    This would then build a portfolio of properties that can be given to new members of parliment .
    Not to mention the fact that there would not be a continual claim for mortgage repayments.Once the house was paid for no more repayments...
    How really silly...
    I have no faith in the system we need a real change not just a shuffling of the guard!

  • Comment number 16.

    I think MPs should be given flats or rooms to use whilst in London and these should be subject to certain expense claims - but any other properties they own should be paid for solely by themselves.

    I also think any monies returned should be ploughed into improving the NHS and healthcare.

  • Comment number 17.

    It was interesting to see that Eric Pickles - MP for Brentwood & Ongar finds it necessary to have a second home considering how close Brentwood actually is to London anyway.

    Brentwood is full of commuters making use of the frequent and easy access to London by train.

    Why can't he?

  • Comment number 18.

    At one end of the scale we have the extravagance of some MPs and at the other end the apparent meanness - how about claiming for a postage stamp? This ranks with dear Ms. Smith's bath plug at 88p.
    My MP - David Gaulke (SW Herts) was late paying the ground rent and service charge on his second home. The cost to us? - He claimed 103.95 - so we pay for his incompetence - not a great deal of money - but to me indicates a cavalier attitude to the use of OUR money. Your fault David - pay it back David. At least Dick Turpin bothered to wear a mask!

  • Comment number 19.

    Is this legal ?
    I have just looked at MP expenses
    1 I notice a certain MP does not have a metered water supply, although has a swimming pool.
    2 I also note that the same MP shares a lot of his receipts with another person, but does not half the bill.
    3 This MP claims for his second home and when it comes to vote, he claims his scond home is his main residence and his wife gets her Postal vote sent from this home to their main home.
    3 Claimed for security gates, but replaced the front garden gate instead

  • Comment number 20.

    I guess MP's addresses of their primary and second homes have been blanked out for 'security' reasons? Shame really as we can't identify whether or not they really need a second home. My pint is that if you register as employed with the Jobcentre - you're expected to be prepared to commute for an hour at either end of the day - and obviously at your own expense. If it's good enough for us mere mortals then why shouldn't the same rules apply to them? Or is it they're generally too inebriated after a hard day in the bars and restaurants? It can be that they're worn out after a hard day in the chamber - from what I've seen on most days it's empty!!

  • Comment number 21.

    "We've made the expenses claims available on the BBC News website (you can get there via bbc.co.uk/expenses)"

    Nick, is that sub-site available to people outside the UK (seeing that it's a *.co.uk domain), I know someone who is abroad at the moment who has been following the BBC's coverage of this, he is a UK citizen, on the UK voting registrar, if it's not I won't bother emailing him the URL if he is just going to waste money in the local internet cafe trying to access something that is unavailable outside the UK.

    Oh, and yes this is an on-topic question, before anyone gets itchy fingers.

  • Comment number 22.

    it is clear some members abused their position,it is also in my opinion obvious the remainder were aware of this situation.for people in the government to turn a blind eye tars them all with the same brush.until parliament is brought into the 21st century and the country run in a buisiness like manner,the wrong people in the job for the wrong reasons will continue to bring this country to its knees.

  • Comment number 23.

    #8

    "Since swimming pool and garden maintenance is hardly connected with Parliamentary duties- and a small property would have avoided this cost- surely these expenses should be paid back to the taxpayer or these facilities opened to the Public"

    A valid point, considering (as I understand it) a young family who are claiming JSA and then make a claim for extra money so that they can use the local laundrette is asked if they have access to a bath or similar were washing could be done by hand...

  • Comment number 24.

    #11. At 5:10pm on 18 Jun 2009, oakwood47 wrote:

    "Given that our Chancellor lives at number 11 why are we paying nearly 1k per month mortgage repayments? Or is it me?"

    Because he took the Mortgage out before he was made Chancellor, and if he had lost his job last week he would have moved back to the property I suspect - 'Grace and favour' accommodation is like Tied-Cottages used to be, loose your (Cabinet) job and you loose your house!

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    #25. At 8:56pm on 18 Jun 2009, cherub23 wrote:

    "After checking out my local MP, Laura Moffatt, I am amazed to see that she has claimed for two electricity bills in February and May and then in June there is a final reminder for the same electricity bills which was also paid out. So she has been paid twice for both of these bills... I am not an MP nor an accountant but I spotted this within minutes... why on earth were these simple things not spotted at the time?"

    More to the point, why was the reminder sent out by the utility companies on a paid bill (quite possibly a bill that had already been paid twice) - I mean what would frail, confused, little old Dories do when presented with a 'Final Demand', probably panic, pay again and then starve herself for the next month. Perhaps the MP was just testing the utilities billing system out, just how honest these utility companies are, would they return the overpayments or just credit the account and pocket the interest... [/irony]

  • Comment number 27.

    I was just looking at charles kennedy and it seems he likes to claim for cigs ie two packets at £5.50 each just gets better the more you read.

  • Comment number 28.

    Note sure if this, 'escaped URL' will be allowed but I made me laugh, a bit of expenses humour from Royal Ascot via the Daily Telegraph, I've linked direct to the image file as the TD front page might change.

    www.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01426/ascot220_1426595f.jpg

  • Comment number 29.

    like everybody else who takes a job, they become responsible for there own expenses. You take a job in London but live in Hamilton you would have to pay your own travel costs. Why don't they build a halls of residence for all mps it would be cheaper than paying for second homes. Plus all food claims should be outlawed. Anyway how do i become an MP.

  • Comment number 30.

    #29. At 9:30pm on 18 Jun 2009, millarat wrote:

    "Why don't they build a halls of residence for all mps it would be cheaper than paying for second homes. Plus all food claims should be outlawed."

    They need to be in two places basically at the same time, also second homes - remembering that MPs might need to be in London at the weekends, especially if in the ministerial position or it's shadow - need to accommodate not only the MP but his or her family, sorry but anyone who thinks that a - for example - sales rep spending time away from home is comparable to the needs of an MP just doesn't understand requirements of the job that we the electorate put on MPs...

  • Comment number 31.

    Can the BBC please recommend to MP's that they consult price comparison websites for their mobile, telephone, electric, & gas bills? I'm more flabbergasted at how hideously high their bills are!

    Get Martin Lewis on the case ;)

  • Comment number 32.

    I don't pretend to understand about politics or what MP's actually do, but you are paid a wage like every other worker within britain. The only differance is we the public pay for our own food and expenses and also a MP's food and expenses. I don't mind paying for office equipment, I don't mind paying for bottled water for the meeting table. What I do mind is paying for people to take me for a free ride. you take the job you pay your own way. Halls of residance may not work for the familty MP but a flat would. Buying a copy of the fishing news or the racing times what part of this is caused by the requirment we the public place on them? Do I also have to buy fags because we cause the MP so much stress. Pray tell.

  • Comment number 33.

    I have also noted that a 24 case of diet coke seems to be the in thing.

  • Comment number 34.

    I notice that a freeview box costs £76 pounds in London what is the Scottish exchange rate. We can get them for £20 in a leading supermarket. Or was it a harrods model. People can stick up for MP's all they want but the free ride must stop and legal action must be taken.

  • Comment number 35.

    #31

    "Can the BBC please recommend to MP's that they consult price comparison websites for their mobile, telephone, electric, & gas bills?"

    I suspect many MPs would love to have the time to do so...!

  • Comment number 36.

    Check out Diane Abbot wasting £296 for only one month of a phone contract on her iPhone. £200 of which was spent surfing the internet and downloading things. Surely she could have popped into an internet cafe or used a local library?

  • Comment number 37.

    Why are we paying £400 for Adam Afriyie to go on a Write Better Write Now course?

  • Comment number 38.

    You should check out Diane Abbots tea bill she likes her twinnings and fruit teas. Maybe internet cafes don't sell that brand.

  • Comment number 39.

    All of the Sinn Fein MPs (Gerry Adams, Pat Doherty, Martin McGuinness, Michelle Gildernew and Conor Murphy) have claimed EXACTLY the same amount for second homes against invoices that are exactly the same (except for the names), same layout, same typeface, same wording - obviously we can't see whether it's the same address. This has to be dodgy. Have they ever even taken their seats in the House?

  • Comment number 40.

    having checked on the expense claims of my mp, for mole valley, i am a little annoyed to find they have claimed for a second home which is also a business , i don't understand why they need a second home when we live approximatley 30 minute drive into london.
    I can't understand why the expenses are needed anyway as mp's already earn exceptionally high wage anyway, maybe they should try living on the same wage as me , at least then claiming expenses would seem acceptable for neccesary things such as travel, and other work related expenses but like i've said previously most of us pay for travell to work ourselves and we have to survive on our wages and a pitance in tax credits.
    in my job we were told we would not be getting even a small wage rise and then you get mp's who already earn way more than the normal hard working person claiming off of our tax, how can that be fair.

  • Comment number 41.

    Here's a thought why don't all MP's use the same phone network and get free calls between them. Oh sorry that would save money.

  • Comment number 42.

    How do MP's continue to get away with it? In any other business, if you commit fraud you are liable to prosecution and imprisonment. MP's say they did wonder if they would be allowed the monies but it was within the rules - therefore they knew it was wrong to accept money under false pretences. How can they sleep in their beds knowing that pensioners and many millions of unemployed in our nation are on or below the bread-line, whilst they flaunt money unnecessarily. If they need a second home, it should be in London and they need nothing more than a one bedroomed flat - family don't need to live there. Many people work away from home but don't get a second home allowance. Their first home should be in their constituency and paid for out of their earnings, like anyone else does. How long has this gone on for, they must owe us billions? I need to retire but can't afford to, they owe me so much.

  • Comment number 43.

    Diane Abbot must have been looking at that iphone too long or maybe drinking too much tea since she needed 6 boxes of 12 nurofen. Time she seen a doctor i think. It is totally shocking what we are being charged for.

  • Comment number 44.

    I am utterly amazed that MP's should think that they are above the law and the people of the UK. If I acted in the irresponsible way that they have I would either in jail for fraud or be dismissed by my employer. There is no way that I could calim for expenses in such a way. I need receipts to support the claims and to accept giving explanations about the claims I have made.

    As a taxpayer I feel cheapened by their actions, I have to work very hard to earn my salary and do not take to kindly to MP claiming for work undertaken at their homes, mortgages, luxuries and food that I would normally have to find out of my pay. Why should they think that they are any different to everyone else in the country.

    All MP's are a disgrace and they all should be replaced. Resigning from a job means they should leave Parliament completely and forego all their pensions and pay. That is waht is expected when I give in my notice of work.

    Repaying what they have fraudently claimed is a way of being redeemed, it just shows their guilt and comtempt for the public.

    Why don't they all go, we would be better off.

  • Comment number 45.

    As far as iam reading and listening to all the complaints about mps expenses.
    when are we as a nation going to demand that they resign without getting there pay-off and pensions.
    After all if any employee was to claim expenses improperly we would most likely lose our jobs which would mean no pay-off or pension.
    TIME THE PEOPLE LET THE GOVERNMENT KNOW WHO THEY ARE SERVING.

  • Comment number 46.

    As much as the expenses scandal has angered me I do not like the "grass up your MP" approach any more than I liked the "grass up your neighbour" campaign so beloved by benefit deliverers and local authorities.

    The place to deal with misappropriation of public funds is via an audit, then the police or, if need be, the fraud office. As #7 indicates there are various laws in place precisely to prevent public servants (such as MPs) from stealing.

    What is crucial in the campaign to STOP MPs claiming inappropriately is a tightening up and simplicity of rules, in addition to making an example of sufficient numbers of them via criminal action. This exercise, if it fails to deliver justice, will simply indicate to MPs that our anger is not enough to stop them doing precisely what they please.

  • Comment number 47.

    #42

    "if you commit fraud you are liable to prosecution and imprisonment."

    Evidence permitting of course, and I'm sure that if it could be proved that anyone within the Palace of Westminster has broken the law they will face the same court as you or I would - indeed some have - John Stonehouse for example, or are you just mixing, up poor regulation allowing for inappropriate items to be claimed for with something more serious?...

  • Comment number 48.

    Im going out to buy a computer and send the bill to westminster. I need it so i can write to them so it should be okay. I'll just call it a grand be fine.

  • Comment number 49.

    #43 "millarat", you seem obsessed with Diane Abbot...

  • Comment number 50.

    If it took Cameron such a long and harduous time to check his expenses how will he fair when he is running the country. Has the man the stamina for the real job?

  • Comment number 51.

    I think the mods fell asleep

  • Comment number 52.

    Reading through these comments I can understand the Angelo-Saxon past love affair with bear-baiting, public floggings an executions etc, what is going on within this blog is a modern version!

    I bet that number of the people who has commented tonight would, had then been elected an MP, claimed for exactly the same sorts of things - because the rules allowed it...

  • Comment number 53.

    I am not obsessed just can't belive what she claims for i'm working my way down the list slowly. I'm on Nick Ainger now. As for Boilerplated are you on the MP pay role or something.

  • Comment number 54.

    Whats Boilerplated's real name so I can look up his/her expenses.

  • Comment number 55.

    If I was an MP, i would claim for things needed for office not for things I would expect to buy using my wage, like food and furnature plus if i took the job i would expect to pay for my travel. Public flogging what a great idea boilerplated where would we hold them, do you think we could claim the whips on expenses.

  • Comment number 56.

    As a taxpayer, why did I buy Geoffrey Hoon a £6 pair of Speedo Massage Pool Shoes? (Receipt date 9 June 2007 claimed against 'Household expenses'). Does having nicely massaged feet allow him to conduct himself more effectively whilst treading the corridors of power? If so, my concern is that they might not go with his suit, and perhaps he should look to buy a nice paid of matching speedo trunks to set them off.

    If I wanted a lovely pair of pool shoes, perhaps to go to the annual work's beach party, I'm not sure my boss would sign the expenses claim. On that basis, why should Mr Hoon expect us to pay for his?

  • Comment number 57.

    Please could someone tell me how it is that ministers can be paid expenses when their submission is not accompanied by a valid receipt? (several examples are showing in MP's exes - in the first pages for instance of Gordon Browns is a claim for £57 for laundry - page shows 'lost receipt').
    When I was working for others if I lost a receipt and wished to claim expenses - tough luck - no receipt - no reimbursement. In fact I know of few companies who would pay.
    In any business the tax man may go so far as to disallow any item claimed as a business expense if one cannot produce a valid receipt of proof
    What is it that makes ministers exempt from such a situation? It is after all our money.

  • Comment number 58.

    Food Expenses

    Why are MP's claiming for food when away from their main homes ?
    It is not an additional expense.
    They have to buy food, it makes no difference if it is at a local (main
    home)supermarket or one near London.

    A good money saving measure would be to take a packed lunch.

  • Comment number 59.

    Also, I saw something on the TV earlier about gadgets that the MPs claim for - chainsaws, MP3s and SatNavs were among the favourites.

    Geoff Hoon - sorry, don't mean to pick on him, but just looking at his claims, bought himself a lovely DVD recorder with a 250GB HDD on 25 March 2006 for £267.97. Sorry did I say that he bought it himself? Actually I meant that I bought it for him. I'd like one of those. What's wrong with a video recorder? In 2006, you could get one for £20 at Tesco. Again, if wanted to buy one, I'm sure I wouldn't get my boss to pay for it, even if I said I wanted to tape the lunch time financial news coz it was relevant to my job...

    These guys should pay for their own expensive tastes. I have a couple of young kids, and money is tight. If I want something like a DVD player, I make do with what is the best value for money. The problem here is that there are no rules to tell them that they should 'spend smart' in order to gain value of taxpayers' money - and that still doesn't mean that Mr Hoon can sponge a DVD recorder off me.

  • Comment number 60.

    Margaret Beckett - £1421.75 for "tree and hedgeworks"? Can she explain why it was necessary to have weekly gardening in October? By my calculation in the 07/08 receipts there are 30 receipts for gardening making a total of £1320 in addition to the £1421 for the cutting of what i can only assume are very fragile hedges. HOW ON EARTH is over £2500 on gardening considered necessary for her role as an MP? It beggars belief!

  • Comment number 61.

    OMG - Now Hoon's got himself a £750 TV, and £180 of digital TV receiver. This boy ust love his TV.

    Now, if MPs are as busy as 'Boilerplated' suggests they are, some of them even have to work at weekends aparently, when will Mr Hoon ever get time to watch it?

  • Comment number 62.

    I have said for years the state is attempting to control us and the information it sees fit for us to have access to, This secrecy is a defence mechanism of the controlling class that supposedly represent the populus of this country. I believe that the state has knowlege of our lives to the minutest detail, and in knowlege is power, for us not to have knowlege emasculates the populus and so maintains the upper hand the state perpetuates and requires to control us. This expose shows how vulnerable these autocrats are when a little of their sercets are displayed for all to see. An attempt to black out the detail of expenses by the civil service under instruction from above, will only do more damage to the house, they have shown themselves to be totally out of touch with the mood of the country, which is perfectly displayed by our out of touch Prime Minister and his Cronies.

  • Comment number 63.

    There is a culture to do as little as possible for as much as you can get! The MP's are experts at it!
    It's time they take their jobs seriously. It's not enough to say they made a mistake. MP's are responsible to the british public, we pay them to provide a good and honest service to the people of it's country, we don't pay them to fill their pockets!!!

    MP's should not be getting away with this. The public should make the final decision as to how they should be punished. The tax paying public should also get a compensation (for all our hard work going to waste), it's only fair!

    I don't earn much, but I manage to pay for my living cost with the money I earn, like most people do. What makes MP's think they are any different. If they can't manage to live with what they earn (Its not like its peanuts!) then how can they be trusted to mange the country with peanuts (as they always tell us) that's left over after expenses!

  • Comment number 64.

    Mr Hoon certainly likes his tech and seems to enjoy nothing more than kicking back and enjoying a good movie. In August 07 he decided it was time for us to treat him to a £700 home cinema system. Well Geoff, i hope you enjoyed it - watch any good war movies?

  • Comment number 65.

    It's time that rules were changed, in particular the one that states that all MPs, Councillors etc have to advertise every roadshow, meeting or whatever in their local press. The majority of people don't read their local paper, they get their news online, from a poster in the local shop, or local pub. Looking at Malcolm Bruce MP, Gordon, you will see that a huge amount of his expense claims are for advertising or printing.
    And I won't start on why ONE man can eat his way through 400 GBP of food in his London home each month!

  • Comment number 66.

    Throughout all the news reports and discussion surrounding MP's expenses, not once have I heard the words "gross misconduct" mentioned. Whilst MP's may try to excuse their actions by saying the rules allowed them to act in such a dishonest manner, didn't any of them feel they had a moral duty to speak out against the system? Their greed is inexcusable, sets the worst example to the public and should have led to instant dismissal for those who cannot justify the expenditure in necessary to carry out their work. We must make sure this isn't allowed to go away quietly. The only solution is for the public to speak with one voice and make a General Election happen so we are given the opportunity to choose those who will act for us, not for themselves.

  • Comment number 67.

    if the average Brit was only half as outraged by the expenses as, say, currently, an average Iranian is re. their vote, wouldn't we be seeing tens of thousands of people surrounding Westminster? talk is cheap.

  • Comment number 68.

    Who pays £89 for a mouse?! George Galloway, apparently. And it looks as if he has been charged twice for VAT, so the total cost to me is £111.63p - more than a day's wages. For me, that is. Not for him. Obviously.

  • Comment number 69.

    maggieclem #66.

    "The only solution is for the public to speak with one voice and make a General Election happen so we are given the opportunity to choose those who will act for us, not for themselves."

    honestly, what choice do we have? they're all of the same ilk.

  • Comment number 70.

    #59. At 11:50pm on 18 Jun 2009, Gojuryu5 wrote:

    "Geoff Hoon - sorry, don't mean to pick on him, but just looking at his claims, bought himself a lovely DVD recorder with a 250GB HDD on 25 March 2006 for 267.97. Sorry did I say that he bought it himself? Actually I meant that I bought it for him."

    Sorry, you bought it for him, if you didn't approve why did you 'sign the cheque'? Or do you actually mean that you contributed about 0.000000001 pence towards it, oh please, do stop all this hyperbolic fake disgust...

  • Comment number 71.

    #60. At 11:59pm on 18 Jun 2009, snaresbrook75 wrote:

    "Can she explain why it was necessary to have weekly gardening in October?"

    Perhaps you need to listen to radio four and Gardeners Question time, then you would understand that not only is garden maintenance an all year task but also that hedge and tree pruning is done in the autumn... Not that I'm saying that such expenditure is justified, just that complaining about something you obviously understand little about is not the best way of validating your complaint!

  • Comment number 72.

    #61. At 00:06am on 19 Jun 2009, Gojuryu5 wrote:

    "Now, if MPs are as busy as 'Boilerplated' suggests they are, some of them even have to work at weekends aparently, when will Mr Hoon ever get time to watch it?"

    Hence the digital video recorder, I suspect! Oh and sometimes, like many in certain jobs, especially public/media employment, people are required to watch programmes as part of their work or to keep up with 'events' dear lad, you would soon be complaining if he didn't do that, 'not knowing what was going on in the world, how ridiculous, I though he was meant to be a politician'...

  • Comment number 73.

    #67. At 04:05am on 19 Jun 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    "if the average Brit was only half as outraged by the expenses as, say, currently, an average Iranian is re. their vote, wouldn't we be seeing tens of thousands of people surrounding Westminster? talk is cheap."

    Could it be that Iranians have a real grievance, rather than much hot air and hyperbolic anger by people in the UK at not being able to play the same rules...

  • Comment number 74.

    #69. At 04:34am on 19 Jun 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    "honestly, what choice do we have [at an election]? they're all of the same ilk."

    If you're such an upstanding person there is nothing to stop you from standing for parliament, run on an 'anti-sleaze' ticket and you might find people put up the funds for your deposit and campaign expenses etc...

  • Comment number 75.

    I have just looked at the 2007-8 expenses for Alan Beith, a much revered MP for North Northumberland, and nothe the he has claimed for £117000 second home and that his wife, a Lord, has claimed £60000 for the same home. Seems to me that the only solution is to vote the lot out next election. It also makes me wonder just how much the MEP's are ripping us off and what value they are as there seems to be no contact with them or any debate on the new and unnecessary laws foisted on us byu the Brussels dictators.

  • Comment number 76.

    #74

    I guess that is why the main parties need so little money to run their campaigns is it? I mean, all you have to do is stump up some cash and get a few nominations and you are away. Forget the family, your job, and your previous lifestyle you are going to Westminster (or not as the case may be).

    Once upon a time, shortly after "universal" suffrage, it was possible to stand quite easily and there were jobs available if your bid failed. But, I am afraid, our party system soon wrecked simplicity in favour of protectionism. There are solutions but only if we really want true democracy.

  • Comment number 77.

    I have to comment on Boilerplated...They just HAVE to be either an MP or in an MP's press office. There is no way an average member of the public would put this much effort into defending the MP's expenses. The thing to remember about these expenses is that they may be in the letter of rules, but definitely NOT in the spirit of the rules. On one of the first pages of the green book is the statement to MP's about claiming their expenses.
    "...expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred when staying overnight away from their main UK residence (referred to below as their main home) for the purpose of performing Parliamentary duties."
    In the many Blogs posted people are siting examples of building renovations and gardening projects being undertaken with Taxpayer funding.
    The onus is primarily on the MP to know right from wrong and understand that having that perfect shade of bark bordering his manicured lawn is not a necessity which will help him or her perform thier function (presumably sleeping) any better. Please stop trying reply with flimsy excuses to cover up blatant misuse of our money.

  • Comment number 78.

    #76. At 07:50am on 19 Jun 2009, Humblebeginnings wrote:

    "There are solutions but only if we really want true democracy."

    Or indeed a true political mess, it's actually possible to have to much democracy, nothing gets agreed, governments are always falling, policy is always lurching from one side of the pendulum to the other meaning that costs rise and even more tax-payers money gets wasted...

  • Comment number 79.

    Why on earth do we have to give MP's expenses anyway? I have looked at the list of the things they get for just being an MP and I am gobsmacked that they are allowed to claim for everything else. I would love a job where I could legitimately bank my salary and just live on expenses and the perks. It is about time that it was stopped and to stop it who do we have to ask, The MP's !! catch 22 or what!!!!

  • Comment number 80.

    Can we please stop this pathetic witch hunt? It has become a ridiculous farce that would be amusing were it not for the fact that it is seriously affecting the MPs' abilities to do the job that we democratically elected them to do. I want my MP in Parliament and in his constituency helping to promote our area, to save jobs, to help get us out of the economic troubles we are in. Not fending off questions from every pedant in the land about an expense claim for cheesy biscuits! For all I know, it was part of a larger bill to host a constituency reception, but of course the media won't tell you this. They prefer to present 'the facts' with no explanation, knowing that it is human nature to draw the very worst conclusions from 'the facts'. I admired the Telegraph for a good bit of investigative journalism, but they have now stooped to the level of the red-tops with their insinuations and accusations. They have run the expenses issue on the front pages for weeks now, trying to wring every last drop out the issue and in doing so they have undermined their own credibility. The expense system needs to work, we need to know it works, and that's all. Anyone claiming fraudulently should be dealt with by the disciplinary system, and if necessary by the judiciary. Not by the media. Let's not forget that media barons are very rich themselves, and many have their own quasi-political agendas. They are unelected, yet it seems that they are pulling the strings of our elected Govt and this is hugely worrying. The Govt should stop pandering to them, draw a line under the matter, promising and delivering a robust expenses system, and get on with their real work.

  • Comment number 81.

    Oh dear..

    #67. jr4412 wrote:
    "...if the average Brit was only half as outraged by the expenses as, say.."
    #73. Boilerplated wrote:
    Could it be that Iranians have a real grievance, rather than much hot air and hyperbolic anger by people in the UK at not being able to play the same rules...


    Just how cynical can one man be..? On the one side Boilerplated says we dont have a real grievance. In the next breath is the statement we would all be doing the same thing. All those with no moral compass perhaps Boilerplated.. MP for which constituency exactly..?

  • Comment number 82.

    #77

    "I have to comment on Boilerplated...They just HAVE to be either an MP or in an MP's press office."

    Not at all, and if the BBC wants to organise a "Jeremy Kyle" style lie detector test, bring it on... Could it be that I just think about the issues and don't allow mess the hysteria to cloud my thoughts?... Also I have never defended things like Duck Houses etc.

  • Comment number 83.

    In reply to comments made @ #80

    "Can we please stop this pathetic witch hunt? It has become a ridiculous farce that would be amusing were it not for the fact that it is seriously affecting the MPs' abilities to do the job that we democratically elected them to do. ..//.. Let's not forget that media barons are very rich themselves, and many have their own quasi-political agendas."

    Well said, and lets not forget that until this 'expenses scandal' broke the heat was on the financial and banking institutions, much of that heat coming from MPs themselves...

  • Comment number 84.

    Me thinks Boilerplated protests too much. And clearly he/she has lots of time on his/her hands - so id say politics is top of the list of likely employment.

    Boilerplated - can you explain to me in what way having a well manicured garden is required or necessary in order to fulfil duties as an MP? If you can, i am more than happy to send Mrs Beckett a nice little shrub she can add to her mini-Kew.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    #84

    "Boilerplated - can you explain to me in what way having a well manicured garden is required or necessary in order to fulfil duties as an MP?"

    In the same way that you, assuming that you have a garden, will have a well manicured garden - we are talking about their homes, yes it might be their 'second' home but they still have to live there, why should they live in a tip, property maintenance still has to be carried out...

  • Comment number 87.

    The difference Boilerplated is that i actually pay for my own garden - I dont go round my neighbours asking them to stump up the cash!

  • Comment number 88.

    I would very much like to know the percentage of MP's that have not been involved in this MP expenses scandal. I am not sure if everyone is involved or whether it is a minority or majority of MP's. It would be nice if the paper could publish on line a list of MP's not involved.

  • Comment number 89.

    It was interesting to note that my MP Des Browne claimed £5000 for something called Labour Party Properties Ltd. (page 32) of 2007 - 2008.
    Perhaps the BBC could investigate ?

  • Comment number 90.

    I don't understand the minds of business/economics reporters. Today an article about UK motor vehicle production being down. It compared May 2009 with May 2008 and showed unsurprisingly, a massive drop. Yes, this is news but we all know we are in a massive recession. Surely we now want to know comparisons with previous recent months so we can judge if things are improving or otherwise. Time and again, You the BBC reports comparative figures that show the worst scenario because it is more sensational often neglecting the underlying real situation

  • Comment number 91.

    I love Boilerplated. He's top Beelzebub in the Devils Advocates Club.

    Now, must be off, Jonathan Djanogly (Conservative maj. 12,847)has made me some jam.

  • Comment number 92.

    How many bloggers have complained to the Metropolitan Police about potential fraud in relation to MP's expenses?

    What responses did you receive from the police?

    Are you aware of case law (Blackburn vs Regina)where a complaint was made about a Metropolitan Police Commissioner not enforcing the Gaming Act? It established the principle that the Police cannot set aside the law. This suggests to me, if allegations of fraud are put before the police and they don't act, members of the public can take the police to court.

    Finally, does anybody know if Misfeasance in Public Office applies in relation to the expense claims and the degree of diligence applied to managing, reviewing, challenging or authorising them? (I'm just wondering why no Senior Civil Servants have been sacked.)

  • Comment number 93.

    Further investigation - over the last 4 years Des Browne has, through the taxpayer, paid out £19,000 to Labour Party Properties Ltd
    A new type of political levy?

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.

    Best way to deal with this housing claims fiasco for second homes is to buy a block of flats, furnish them with the basics they need, which is no more than you'd get in a basic budget hotel room, plus a cooker and fridge. If they want anything extra, then it comes out of their own pockets. If they were at home, they'd have to buy their own food, so why should it be different when they are in London? No wonder our taxes and council taxes are so ridiculously high with this kind of money hand out culture going on!

  • Comment number 96.

    Last year I tried to get a petition listed on the 10 Downing Street web-site which was rejected (on 30/06/09) on the grounds it was, "Outside the remit or powers of the Prime Minister and Government." The petition stated:

    We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to: provide an unqualified assurance that all current & previous members of the Houses of Commons & Lords serving from 2001 until the present day have fully met their obligations in respect of payment of all personal taxation including any in respect of limited companies or limited liability partnerships. In the event that such an unqualified assurance cannot be given, we require HM Inspector of Taxes to commence immediate investigations into the tax affairs of all members of the Houses of Commons & Lords.'

    I think the content of the petition remains highly relevant.

    As the Prime Minister is the First Lord of the Treasury, I would have thought such a request was well within his remit. Perhaps, somebody knew the game was up?

  • Comment number 97.

    I, too, have been outraged by the judgment of our MPs concerning their expenses but I now feel I need to know how this culture came about. Do BBC journalists know - was it a case of the MPs couldn't give themselves a pay-rise so decided to allow themselves generous expenses? If so, when did it start (pre-1997?) and how do today's expenses compare to those allowable in the past? Also, how does the Fees Office figure in all of this? Does the media have access to ask them questions? I have read snippets of information on this in Private Eye but wonder if other members of the media are investigating it.

  • Comment number 98.

    #87. At 10:08am on 19 Jun 2009, snaresbrook75 wrote:

    "The difference Boilerplated is that i actually pay for my own garden - I dont go round my neighbours asking them to stump up the cash!"

    Nor are you required to live in two places at the same time, at the tax payers behest, so that they can complain that they haven't the gumption to sort out their own personal problem with the DWP or NHS etc. and have to pass their problems onto their MP...

  • Comment number 99.

    I sometimes wonder if the MP's are deliberately shooting themselves in their collective feet, or are they being manipulated?

    In no way can yesterdays' revelation of acres of black inc be called "transparency" in any way or form.

    If they are trying to see how far they can make fools of the British public, then I would suggest they should beware. The day of the election draws ever more near, or if things get really get the public's hump up, open revolt.

  • Comment number 100.

    Have been following MPs' expenses claims closely. However, can't find Speaker Martin's. Is it my fault? Hope someone will poit out my mistake. ACC.

 

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