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Paper Monitor

12:28 UK time, Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

There are only a few subjects which the papers can all agree are a Good Thing - the Queen, for example (although yes, Paper Monitor does know that constitutionally speaking, she's not a subject).

There are a few more issues which the papers all agree are a Bad Thing - and MPs' expenses is definitely one of them.

Today's Daily Telegraph places the two side by side - a picture of Her Majesty, next to the news that "MPs are allowed to hide expenses details".

More than 50 MPs have been allowed to censor details of their taxpayer-funded expenses claims after information about their second homes could compromise their security.

No rules have been broken, and nobody accuses MPs of doing more than the existing rules allow. But the press speaks more or less as one in its suspicion that even if nothing has been proved, the withholding of information makes it look, as one MP tells the Daily Mail, "like there is something to hide".

The Sun's editorial curls its lip in contempt:

If MPs showed as much skill running the country as they do crafting their expenses, Britain would be powerhouse of the world.

The Sun manages to unearth the only vaguely glitzy aspect of the story: LAMPARD THE MP'S LANDLORD - it transpires that the Chelsea ace is letting a flat to former defence minister Sir Peter Luff. This, it turns out, is news to both the letter and the lettee.

Unfortunately, the showbiz connection ends there. The papers have a harder job setting pulses racing with the news that Tom Watson rents from a senior official at Unite, or that Steve Webb MP is renting a house from Lib Dem peer Baroness Tonge - who as far as we know, never scored for England or dated Christine Bleakley.

The Telegraph adds a nice picture of the stately home, Burghley House, into the mix - but before Paper Monitor can put on a good Loyd Grossman voice and say "Who lives in a house like this, David?" it turns out that planning minister Nick Boles only rents a house NEAR this.

Paper Monitor suspects that, wherever the story goes from here, the only MP's second home likely to be followed up in Wednesday's papers is the tent in Australia currently occupied by Nadine Dorries.

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