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Sir Thomas, Sir Paul, Sir Ian and Sir Christopher

Nick Robinson | 09:10 UK time, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Are you bewildered by the latest developments in the MP expenses scandal?

You needn't be. It's all really very simple.

Sir Thomas has asked around half of MPs to give money back - because, even if they followed the rules, the rules were wrong.

But Sir Paul says that Sir Thomas is being too harsh and that the rules were the rules.

Neither Sir Thomas nor Sir Paul writes the rules for MPs; that's the job of Sir Christopher - except, actually, Sir Ian is the man who really writes them.

Now Sir Ian is consulting on new rules that are different from the new rules which Sir Christopher wrote.

Sir Christopher has written to Sir Ian to say that he doesn't agree with the rules, but has no complaint about the way Sir Ian has done his job.

Meanwhile, Sir Stuart hints that Sir Ian and Sir Paul are right and that Sir Thomas and Sir Christopher are wrong.

Anyway, all you need to know - according to Sir Stuart - is that the Commons is putting its house in order.

I hope that's now clear. And it might be funny if it were not so serious. The expenses scandal has undermined the standing of Parliament, it has devastated the reputations of many individual politicians, and it has led to the largest number of retirements from the Commons since World War II - and still counting.

Today should have been a day when people could say "at least they are sorting out the mess". I fear that, as on so many other similar days, that is not how it will feel.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Same old, same old!

  • Comment number 2.

    It looks like parliament is suffering from surfeit of sirs. The Queen should give her arm a rest!
    How about a cull?

  • Comment number 3.

    Well that sounds about par for the course. Expenses would not be published, then they would, they were with big chunks painted black eventually the Telegraph published them. The former Mr Speaker who said it was what was owed to him, chastised a former Minister for talking to the press. This Speaker has not done anything to sort this out.

    The Prime Minister, instead of acting once and having thought out his course of action with the repurcussions of it, has swung in the breeze hence so many people who think they are sorting out MPs expenses. I dread to think how much each of the named people are being paid, I doubt a £1,000,000 per annum would not be far away. Jobs for the boys?

    So what have we ended up with? A mess that is probably worse now than it was before. What can be done about it? With the inertia displayed by this government not a lot.

    Whoever wins the GE will have to sort this out root and branch. Increasing their pay will not be an answer. Like the rest of us they must learn to live within their means. In my view there are too many self serving people in the House of Commons who have never held a proper job. Jack Straw as an instance worked for 3 years as a lawyer, then worked for Barbara Castle until moving into her safe seat. what we need are MPs who have experience of life outside politics who are capable of independent thought and not just succumbing to the whip.

  • Comment number 4.

    Indeed Nicholas, I think you're right.

    Stuart Bell just ought to wind his neck in.

  • Comment number 5.

    Oh dear - I blinked and we've moved on from the discussion yesterday about Mr Brown's cavalier behavior over military funding. What? There wasn't a discussion?

    OK, let's move on to something really important - the goings-on in the world of Westminster...

    I despair of the BBC sometimes.

  • Comment number 6.

    This again. Proverbial bad penny. Not that interested but there is one question which springs to mind ... where does this leave Cameron with his mortgage claim?

  • Comment number 7.

    Spot on #2. It should be the turn of the civil servants to be scrutinized now.

  • Comment number 8.

    there are plenty on here who are desperate to vote cameron in and his moral crusaders to save the day. once that happens, politics will become clean again. a cameron govt = no more scandals. he will lead the way with the trusty sword of truth! (cough.. splutter...ahem)

  • Comment number 9.

    Some political leadership would not go amiss then - who should we look to?

  • Comment number 10.

    Good post Nick, it's a complete mess - egos, turf wars and long grass completing with each other.

  • Comment number 11.

    Did you neglect to mention Sir Curity who, I believe, is one of those who MPs hide behind, he having extraordinary obese size and weight.

    And there is Sir Ceptible who has the job of ensuring that what information does flow down to the common people is written in terms that endear politics rather than to truthfully explain them and those who practise.

    And Sir Cumvent is busy, as ever, looking for ways the "rules on splashing cash around" make be exploited although it is seldom clear whose side he is on.

  • Comment number 12.

    This is dangerous: changing the rules retroactively is barmy and is insidiously dishonest.

    It has further eroded my trust in Parliament.

    Ok, many MPs were milking the system but it WAS the system and the person(s) charged with approving or rejecting claims should be the ones under the microscope.

    How long will it be before government tries to retrospectively change tax demands (as it did with motor tax), child allowance etc.

    People work to the rules as they understand them. If they have been abused make those applying them to approve expenses pay the money back.

  • Comment number 13.


    Spot on Nick. Taxpayers who pay the bills have been left bothered and bewildered.

    The crooks, cheats and chancers have been left with plenty of wriggle room, disappearing in a fog of appeals and audits.

    Legg pulls no punches but will do little to assuage public anger, highlighting the shame of a House riddled with expenses cheats.

    But will the Legg audit report allow MPs to draw a line under the whole sordid saga?

    http://theorangepartyblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/mps-wriggle-out-of-expenses-crackdown.html

  • Comment number 14.

    No surprise that it's a mess.
    First the attempts to block their publication.
    Then the posturing of who is most serious about cleaning up parliament followed by unilateral knee jerk announcements...

    And what of those who are under investigation for fraud?

    Lose retrospective repayments, charge those who are guilty of fraud or tax-evasion. Simplify the rules, no expenses other than those related directly to work and have an independent (if such a thing exists) review of salaries.

  • Comment number 15.

    "Sir Thomas has asked around half of MPs to give money back - because, even if they followed the rules, the rules were wrong."

    Nick, you are completely missing the point and falling for the politicians' lame attempt to excuse their dishonest and probably illegal behaviour.

    The rules were clear, and many MPs clearly broke the rules. Expenses had to be "wholly, necessarily and exclusively" for the performance of their jobs, and also had to be "above reproach" and "do not give rise to, or give the appearance of giving rise to, an improper personal financial benefit to themselves or anyone else."

    If the MPs were too daft to realise that claiming for duck islands and all the other dodgy claims might give the appearance of being improper, or might not be considered by all to be "above reproach", then frankly they deserve all they get.

  • Comment number 16.

    It is always good to hide Brown bad news under something but as a previous blog asked - where is the blog about chopping the MOD budget just as the military were engaged in yet another war? Where is the blog about possible £50k expense funds? Where is the ..... ?

    With regard to Knighthoods I hope the Queen is still applying the sword vertically when it is your turn Nick rather than the horizontal advice given earlier!

  • Comment number 17.

    Thank you Angel...you raised a smile. If only.....

  • Comment number 18.

    who are people supposed to analys the issues when you will not even report on them, and Caroline Wyatt on the BBC yesterday did a very very low key response , but then she is the daughter of a sitting MP,

    ps labour MP, conflict of interest anyone ?

    Defnece NR, when will you be a sir then, is the first priority of the realm ?

  • Comment number 19.

    Strikes me as a bit of a non story, this current crowd of all cpolitical olours are in a mess, even the good ones, which won't get sorted until the general election.

    Who cares whether they get some/all of it back, mud sticks.

    Nothing about the denial of the secret £50 000 slush fund then? Biggy that if it's true huh...

  • Comment number 20.

    Once again Im saddened by the calibre of people we pay to manage our country. No real passion for justice and transparency no urgency, no intellectual stamina just a laizee faire attitude. After all the media is the driver, once they have satisfied the moment no one is interested in actually resolving inequalities, justice ,competence of government - just launch a new initiative and forget last weeks issue.

    I have been involved in new initiatives, we get the minister, the press, local regional TV, lots of money being offered. Nine months later nothing - have they forgotton of course they have moved on!!!!The funding has been sent to last weeks initiative.!!! So the merrygo round continues

  • Comment number 21.

    All MP's found guilty of corruption should loose their taxpayer funded pensions - worth over 1,000,000 each in some cases!

  • Comment number 22.

    You hit the nail on the head with that, Nick.

    But Doctor Bob wrote
    "People work to the rules as they understand them. If they have been abused make those applying them to approve expenses pay the money back."

    Am I understanding this right? "Those applying the rules" would be Fees Office staff?

  • Comment number 23.

    Nick - what did you make of question number 1 at PMQs yesterday? It was skated over by most political commentators but it could apparently be political dynamite under the PM. The MPs expenses issue has been handled abysmally by the government and once again they have managed to make a complete dog's breakfast over what could have been sorted with a bit of decisive leadership.
    Gordon Brown now has the temerity to suggest that his new-found zeal for electoral reform is all to do with restoring our faith in politics and MPs. He will only do that when he stops treating us like idiots and stops behaving in such a self-serving and disingenuous manner.

  • Comment number 24.

    Simple solution to this 'state of affairs', bring in the dreaded HM Revenue and Customs team.
    Soon sort out what's allowed or not, irrespective of a list of rules.
    No doubt some MP's would also fall foul of the dreaded IR35 too!

    Why would any MP (or PM for that matter) not wish to be totally transparent in "all matters financial" and "be seen" to be prudent and an excellent 'money manager'?
    Would it not then endear them to their constituents and provide good background for future posts of Chancellor etc?

    Looking forward to the publication of every MP's current and future pension entitlements.

  • Comment number 25.

    What a discracful bunch of greedy, lying, hypocrates.
    Shame on MP Fossett. Isn't her husband the multi-millionaire writer and labour donor Sir Ken?
    What ACTUALLY happens to the money that is repaid?-disappears into the ether presumably.Sack 'em all and cut their pensions.
    We need more Martin Bells!
    Keep up the good work, Nick
    Andy Dorset.

  • Comment number 26.

    8#

    Dont be such a plonker Rodney.

    Compared to your lot over the last 13 years who have been mired in scandal since day 1, even Richard Nixon would end up looking squeaky clean! Put those stones down and step away from the big glass house. Theres a good boy.

  • Comment number 27.

    If we cant even resolve the expenses issue how the hell can our MPs sort out afghanistan? Or anything else for that matter. What ever happened to our Parliament?

    We are truly a tin pot nation. A small island. Thats all.

  • Comment number 28.

    This again. Proverbial bad penny. Not that interested but there is one question which springs to mind ...where does this leave Gordon Brown with his cleaning claim for him and his brother and SKy TV subscription?

    Call an election

  • Comment number 29.

    If the leaders of the parties in Westminster all agree that the reforms should be implemented in full, why is there all of this nonsensical and no doubt expensive, pandering to a bunch of unelected, time-expired, ex-grandees?
    This is pure, 'Yes Minister', obfuscation and fudge.
    More lucrative sinecures for the Sir Humphrey's.

  • Comment number 30.

    Come come, how can you allow the fees office to take the blame? A lowly clerk on the staff of Mr Speaker, who himself was not above an expense claim or two. Let's be serious, someone has already quoted that MP's being Honourable would certify their own expenses, so the Fees Office raised payment on what was put infront of them.

    Not their fault I am afraid, but those who managed to vote that these allowances were not subject to tax either income or CGT.

    It is down to the MPs themselves. The MetPolice should have been involved. If it was not essential for the execution of the job it was fraud. IMHO

  • Comment number 31.

    "lefty10 wrote:
    there are plenty on here who are desperate to vote cameron in and his moral crusaders to save the day. once that happens, politics will become clean again. a cameron govt = no more scandals. he will lead the way with the trusty sword of truth! (cough.. splutter...ahem)"

    Like all the Labour voters who voted for a party that claimed to be "whiter than white" and then made the Tories look like rookies on the sleaze front!

    Perhaps the Tory party should announce a plan to ban alcohol adverts - and then leave out any industry that gives them a large donation? Worked for Labour didn't it?

  • Comment number 32.

    "sagamix wrote:
    This again. Proverbial bad penny. Not that interested but there is one question which springs to mind ... where does this leave Cameron with his mortgage claim?"

    My guess is that as Camerons mortgage claim was for a mortgage (which can be claimed for) the majority of it will be allowed.

    Cameron will probably have to pay back less than Brown (who despite having full use of grace and favour houses still managed to run up a large bill for his second home)

    We even paid for him to watch Sky Sports! As a result of the recession many people have had to take Sky Sports off their packages to save money but if you are the PM you just charge it to the public purse.

    Why can't he just listen to Five Live like the rest of us?

  • Comment number 33.

    Perhaps if Sir Thomas had actually done what he was supposed to, rather than trying to invent some new rules, retrospectively impose expected ones and second guess Sirs Christopher and Sir Ian then perhaps Sir Paul would not have merited a mention at all.
    Everyone knew the rules were useless, all he had to do was see where even these had been bent by MPs - not impose his own ideas.

    As with all things it seems, if you want to turn a shambles into a complete farce just add the civil service and job done.

  • Comment number 34.

    Traditional Chinese ethics demanded office-holders rise ABOVE rules, teachers' flock OUTSHINES themselves, citizens care for and VENERATE their elderly. I believe this nation once had its miniature of personal integrity exemplified by the likes of Sir Thomas More; but how many know far more of Henry VIII? Principle has not counted in western culture but UK especially for decades - let's be HONEST about OUR corruption; we laugh at banana republics but it's our casino constitution that is ultimately risible. British hypocrisy has always been legendary - it now parodies itself in (the mistress of) Parliament for all the world to snigger over.

  • Comment number 35.

    24#

    "Why would any MP (or PM for that matter) not wish to be totally transparent in "all matters financial" and "be seen" to be prudent and an excellent 'money manager'?
    Would it not then endear them to their constituents and provide good background for future posts of Chancellor etc?"

    Unfortunately as most of their constituents either couldnt be @rsed voting, for them or anyone else, have the attention span of a goldfish or dont have English as a first language and in some cases combinations of all three, the MP's probably figure that what their constituents think doesnt matter a bit. The only two people they have to please are the party leader and the chief whip. Anyone else can just go swivel, they dont Need To Know.

    Laws are for little people and the opposition. Rules for politicians.

  • Comment number 36.

    #24 umh IR35 and labour MP's that would be interesting

  • Comment number 37.

    #8 and blair claimed he was going to be whiter than white.

    Misleading Parlianment on an issue that you cannot get more important than going to WAR no less.

    make the pre-97 people quite clean really .

  • Comment number 38.

    Can we please get to some really political issues like the non-running of the MOD by the treasury and the PM former role in this , and the role of the former PM role in it too. Or is that an inconvience for the
    Bliar Brown Balls Corperation. (B-BBC)

  • Comment number 39.

    Well at least we have finally got rid of the rules of Sir Feit and not made the silly mistake of getting Sir Mise involved!! We now have a bunch of Sirs who know exactly what to do to sort out this sad sorry state our parliment is in, not!!

    At some point, no doubt, Sir Cuitous, Sir Cumdiction and Sir Cumvallation will be appointed to help our poor, misunderstood, "we're honest really" M.P.s to get away with it, like the Sirs who helped out the honourable and trustworthy bankers!!

  • Comment number 40.

    31. mark
    "Like all the Labour voters who voted for a party that claimed to be "whiter than white" and then made the Tories look like rookies on the sleaze front"!
    .........
    facts then mark. a list of labour sleeze v tory sleeze.
    good luck!

  • Comment number 41.

    Nick

    this is just a story that should not be on the agenda anymore.

    We are still stuck with the same ROTTEN PARLIAMENT as in the summer.

    It has not changed

    I does not serve us it serves its self.

    If they really had got it, they we would have had an election and moved on with a new parliament.

    They thought that they would let it go quiet and we would all forget. They should all face the electorate and nothing will be resolved until they do.

    Here is an indication of how they think they have got past the worst and we have forgotten..

    Brown at PMQ's

    We want to bring in AV because the people want change due to the expenses and other scandals.

    This as everyone can see is just a blatant lie.

    He want the vote change for Labour party advantage.

    SO in Browns eyes MP's expenses has just become a political pawn to be used for electoral advantage. Not a crisis that has shattered all trust in this rotten intake of MP's.

    These people are fools and we need to get rid of them.

    There is not a single aspect of our national life that has not been tainted since this Government got power from 25% of the electorate.

  • Comment number 42.

    Nick, you know a lot of the secret stuff that the public never gets to hear about. What information is there on all the expenses documentation that Tony Blair had shredded? Wasn't there a mole quietly stuffing receipts into his or her waistband for later leaking? Isn't ANYTHING being done to investigate this loss of paperwork.

  • Comment number 43.

    Just a thought.

    How can you claim second home allowance when you only own one house?

    Can that be explained?

  • Comment number 44.

    The absurdity of this saga has reached new heights. MPs have been asked to repay £1.12m at the end of an enquiry that has cost £1.16m - which makes the taxpayer £40,000 out of pocket. Cheers.

    Also, while a very MPs have totally abused the system and should be dealt with severely, the average over-payment - approved by Parliamentary authorities, remember - amounts to little more than £11 per naughty MP per week; and less than that, of course, if the squeaky clean MPs are factored into the calculation.

    Some scandal!

    Macaulay comes to mind: 'We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.'

  • Comment number 45.

    26.perry winkle
    "Compared to your lot over the last 13 years who have been mired in scandal since day 1, even Richard Nixon would end up looking squeaky clean! Put those stones down and step away from the big glass house. Theres a good boy".
    ...........
    blimey perry, your back from bowls early today.. or is it morris dancing on thursdays?... anyway, perhaps a list of labour mps who went to prison v the same number under last con gov. (i do like that abbreviation...con) anyway. look forward to the list old boy!

  • Comment number 46.

    46.
    perry.
    ps. did you get the duck house built in the end?

  • Comment number 47.

    Perhaps Gordy could "guilotine" the MP's expenses budget as well.

  • Comment number 48.

    #34

    Oooh, ShirleyWoo, you are awful, but I like you.

    It would be interesting to know just what the first vestiges of the move from honesty to patent dishonesty were, and when they happened. My guess is they occasioned during the Thatcher years, although there are just too many examples to pick on one in particular.

    Of course, the "common" people of the UK have little choice than to do the best they can fiddling their money; those in employment probably have less of a hard time than those on benefit it would seem. Naturally it is not the job of politicians, their supporters, or their leaders, to set examples (unless they are bad ones).

  • Comment number 49.

    80% of the MPs are corrupt. The other 20% knew what was going on and did nothing to stop it or even blow the whistle.

    Vote out all sitting MPs.

  • Comment number 50.

    #43:

    "How can you claim second home allowance when you only own one house?"

    Well, obviously the house you own is your second one. Simple really. The first one might be, for example, a house in Downing Street funded by the taxpayer or your sister's spare bedroom. You don't need to own it. The important thing is that you need to own your second home* and to spend a huge amount of money on it.



    *Obviously that doesn't apply when filling in your capital gains tax return, for which the designations of main and second home are COMPLETELY different.

  • Comment number 51.

    Another day to be celebrated in the calendar perhaps - All Sirs' Day

  • Comment number 52.

    It is becoming clear that 'Call me Dave' is not going to tackle the flippers is his own party, particlarly the worst of the lot in Epping Forest.
    How in God's name can the country trust him to sort out the deficit if he allows MPs to legally avoid Capital Gains tax on properties paid for in part by the taxpayer ?
    Wake up Dave! This one's not going away no matter how long you avoid it and it's costing you votes

  • Comment number 53.

    #41

    The "rotten" Parliament is full of lots of parties, not just "rotten" New Labour, although I do concede all the leaders seem more rotten than almost anything else in the entire world, including all known life forms. (And those thick bleaches don't work on 'em either.)

    But, to get back to expenses, it is interesting to note the rows there were in the 1950's on the same subject. So over a very long period of time expenses have been highly emotive; then a certain lady came along (and because she may have liked to go shopping) they got a whole lot worse.


  • Comment number 54.

    34 "SHIRLEY WOO"

    Your Confucian output was excellent.

  • Comment number 55.

    I hope the cost of the Leg report will be charged to those MP's who had inflated claimes. Why should the Tax Payer foot the bill to recover their mistakes.

    So 1.1Million to be repaid and around 1.1million to identify the errors.

    So we need to recover 2.2Million from the MP's

  • Comment number 56.

    45#

    I told you this the other day and I'm kind of half sad, half pleased to be proved right in my accusation of you being the type of person who constantly asks the same mud-flinging accusatory questions without stopping to consider your own party's sins. You're all the damned same. Pathalogically incapable of owning up to your own screw-ups.

    There are a number of Labour MP's from this administration and the previous one who SHOULD be in jail.

    But they are NOT and NEVER WILL BE because the New Labour administration has politicised the Police Force who nowadays may as well be the armed militia wing of the party.

    No matter how illegal, no matter how heinous the crime, there is NO Labour MP who will get sent down for doing anything.

    Your party has nothing but contempt for the law of the land and has twisted it to suit its own agenda and doesnt give a monkeys about how often it flouts the law. They think they are above it. Laws are only for little people and opposition politicians.

    You've bought off the police force. You've manipulated the judiciary. You treat the electorate with nothing but contempt. You've created a climate of fear and surveillance where the police force can take an innocent citizen's life in public, in broad daylight and get away with it.

    And you've got the brass neck to lecture ME about two politicians in a party I dont even support who were rightly caught, jailed, served their time and then chucked out of thier party when the mob who'se praises you sing like a demonic hymn acts like a cross between the Wiemar Republic, Emporer Nero and the Soviet Politburo?

    Now you can sit there on planet lefty and crow about it, but perverting the law of the land for your own political gain is about as low as you can sink and that is why this bunch of stinking, lying, hypocritical, self serving thieving apparatchiks will be thrown out on the streets in three months.

    God you socialists make me retch sometimes.

  • Comment number 57.

    No memtion of Benefit In Kind income tax.

    IE any payments that were not wholely required for their jobs as an MP should incoure Income Tax, even if they were paid by the fees office.

  • Comment number 58.

    "lefty10 wrote:
    31. mark
    "Like all the Labour voters who voted for a party that claimed to be "whiter than white" and then made the Tories look like rookies on the sleaze front"!
    .........
    facts then mark. a list of labour sleeze v tory sleeze.
    good luck!"

    Well some of the Labour list is contained here (it is not up to date - but to be fair the people behind the website have been pretty busy)

    http://www.labour-watch.com/sleaze.htm

    But lets pull at some highlights (or low lights)
    Mandleson mortgage
    Blair mortgage
    Keith Vaz
    Jacqui Smith (claiming her sister's spare room as her main home to trough on benefits)
    John Prescott (affair while Deputy PM)
    Cash for Peerages
    New Labour allowing cigarette ads on F1 cars after a large donation from Bernie Ecclestone (resulting in both Blair and Brown lying in public)
    Jo Moore burying bad news
    Scottish Labour leader having to resign after not declaring donations

    My memory might be a bit hazy on the Tory front but here are their low lights:
    John Major having an affair while a back bencher
    Jeffery Archer
    Jonathon Atkin
    Cash for questions
    Neil Hamilton
    David Mellor

    The majority of Tory sleaze was down to affairs (or lying about them!). However the majority of Labour sleaze is financial (and lying about it!)

    Considering that a Tory MP cheating on his wife doesn't really have an impact on the country as a whole and Labour changing laws to benefit donors DOES impact the country I know which sleaze I consider to be worse!

  • Comment number 59.

    "Exiledscot52 wrote:
    Just a thought.

    How can you claim second home allowance when you only own one house?

    Can that be explained?"

    The second home allowance will also cover rent paid on a second home (and associated living costs)

  • Comment number 60.

    Nick, if you're looking for ideas for a bit of good old-fashioned investigative journalism (you do do investigative journalism, don't you?), how about finding out why Sir Thomas's inquiry cost £1.16 million. That seems a bit excessive to me. Where exactly did all that money go?

  • Comment number 61.

    44. At 12:20pm on 04 Feb 2010, Buddhaman:

    Buddhaman
    Only someone in the public sector would even attempt to make such a riduculous argument

  • Comment number 62.

    "lefty10 wrote:

    blimey perry, your back from bowls early today.. or is it morris dancing on thursdays?... anyway, perhaps a list of labour mps who went to prison v the same number under last con gov. (i do like that abbreviation...con) anyway. look forward to the list old boy!"

    True, the Tory party had more MPs go to prison. But there are several MPs (of all parties) who should probably be in prison for their expenses abuse (two Labour MPs claimed for phantom mortgages - which I would consider fraud and they should be facing prison for that)

    That there are no Labour MPs who have been sent to prison for their actions doesn't mean that there shouldn't be.

  • Comment number 63.

    £1.1m over 4 years, 500 MPs, that's about £500 a year each - fairly insignificant in the scheme of things.
    £1.1m over 4 years, 50m people in the UK, that's about half a penny a year each.......
    How much time, resources and self-rightious c*** has been spent on this, when there are so many important things that need our attention.

  • Comment number 64.

    40. lefty10 wrote:
    .........
    facts then mark. a list of labour sleeze v tory sleeze.
    good luck!


    Good luck, lefty!
    Hope for your sake M_WE doesn't have the time or the inclination to take up the offer.
    For a taster you can order The Big Red Book of Labour Sleaze online.
    As one of the reviews says, not for socialists who are easily depressed.

  • Comment number 65.

    Are you bewildered by the latest developments in the MP expenses scandal?

    --------------

    Not so much bewildered as bored.

    Bored silly actually.

    Lets move on. Pay back some money, press charges against the worst offenders, but stopping sodding telling me about it.

  • Comment number 66.

    #40 going to WAR in IRAQ , that'll do nicely

  • Comment number 67.

    52#

    "How in God's name can the country trust him to sort out the deficit if he allows MPs to legally avoid Capital Gains tax on properties paid for in part by the taxpayer ?"

    Quite right too. That Hazel Blears took some talking into giving the money back didnt she?

    Another selective memory socialist..... its a wonder you lot can remember where you last put your left foot, your memories are that selective....

  • Comment number 68.

    #40 gilotining the MOD budget when going to WAR on Blairs watch

  • Comment number 69.

    58#

    Thats barely scratching the surface. Hang on, I'll find the other sleaze list...

  • Comment number 70.

    Thank you, Nick. You have certainly summed up my complete confusion about this process. It's even more confusing that two of the "sirs" involved are called Kennedy. Not related by any chance, I suppose?

    There was an opportunity here to set a decisive format for clearing up the expenses scandal once and for all and setting in place a new, more transparent, financial regime for MPs. As it is, we just seem to have had wave upon wave of new reports, new consultations and new rulings on individual misdemeanours, each new emanation saying something slightly different from the last.

    To complete my confusion today, I searched the Legg report for a mention of my local MP, Justine Greening, but she appears not to be referred to at all, even to say she is in the clear (which I suspect she is). What am I to make of that?

  • Comment number 71.

    #56,45, 2 months in gail for standing on a roof , if he had broken in the police would not have bothered to turn out.

    6 months for standing on a gantry, yet peod's , rapist and murderer's let out early.

    because you are political inconvience to ZANU_Liebour you are sent down after a show trial.

    the list is endless.

  • Comment number 72.

    #58 you forgot JS husbands porn on the tax payers. Why would he want porn in a happy marriage ?

  • Comment number 73.

    Come on Nick, this expenses 'scandal' is a storm in a tea cup. Soon blow over, no casualties. You said so yourself when the scandal first broke.

  • Comment number 74.

    58#
    And you lefty...

    Now this list is only upto 2006. Theres another FOUR YEARS WORTH to come!

    April 2006 Cameron MacIntosh says he was offered Peerage for loan
    April 2006 Peter Law’s 'peerage'
    April 2006 Charles Clarke & the failed deportations
    April 2006 John Prescott's Affair(s)
    April 2006 Cherie Blair’s hairdressing bill
    April 2006 - Jack McConnell under pressure over breaking the ministerial code of conduct by giving public backing to a luxury golf resort planned by Donald Trump which could prejudice the planning process for the development
    April 2006 - Revealed that Jack McConnell met with furniture tycoon Robert Morris over compensation to relocate his factory on the route of the M74 extension. The £35million was more than double the original compensation offer
    March 2006 - Defeated Labour MP Calum MacDonald gets publicly paid job as Forestry Commissioner
    March 2006 Tessa Jowell & husband
    March 2006 Peerages for Cash
    March 2006 Prescott pays no Council tax
    March 2006 Margaret Beckett’s Royal Flights
    February 2006 Ken Livingstone loses Standards Board appeal over anti-Jewish remarks
    October 2005 Blunkett resigns over links to DNA firm
    October 2005 Cherie Gets £100,000 for “charity” speaking tour
    October 2005 Stephen Byers apologies for lieing over Railtrack
    September 2005 Michael Watson MSP jaimed for arson
    August 2005 - Revealed that disgraced former Scottish Executive special adviser, Phil Chalmers, is heading up a bid by French IT firm Atos Origin to secure some of the ID card contracts
    July 2005 - Defeated Labour MP David Stewart gets job with the publicly funded SCVO only two months after losing his seat
    June 2005 Cherie Opens Shopping centre for Malaysian millionaire
    June 2005 Labour MSP Ken MacIntosh resigns over non declaration of financial interests
    June 2005 Cherie Blair cashes in on Tony’s Washington trip
    May 2005 Birmingham Labour Party accused over post voting irregularities
    April 2005 - Brian Wilson MP's final section on Register of Members' Interests shows directorships and advisory roles to renewable energy firms. As Energy Minister he promoted renewable energy
    April 2005 - Revealed that Jack McConnell met with Labour donor Willie Haughey to discuss compensation on a land deal where the M74 would pass through Haughey's property. Initial compensation of £7.4 million rose to £16.5 million
    March 2005 Labour charges £200 for candidate contact details
    February 2005 Cherie Blair embarks on lucrative Australian speaking tour
    January 2005 Candy Atherton’s researcher digs for gay Tory dirt
    January 2005 - Jack McConnell fails to register a holiday at the Spanish villa of BBC broadcaster Kirsty Wark
    January 2005 - Sarah Davidson, once an adviser to former Scottish secretary Helen Liddell, lands a £75,000-a-year job enforcing McConnell’s smoking ban. The new job was never advertised. She was the civil servant who presided over a £200m rise in the cost of Holyrood before taking a six-month sabbatical to travel round the world
    December 2004 Oona King offered £10000 to bed Labour Euro MP
    October 2004 - Revealed that 70% of Scottish quango appointees have links to the Labour party
    August 2004 August 2004 - Former Edinburgh Labour Provost Eric Milligan appointed Scotland’s “welcome czar” to the tourism industry. Although not paid a salary he receives expenses to travel the world
    June 2004 - Willie Haughey, who has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Labour party, appointed to the post of chairman of Scottish Enterprise Glasgow.
    May 2004 Lord Drayson’s company wins non competitive tender contract after £50,000 donation to Labour
    May 2004 - Failed Labour candidate Hugh Raven, a former parliamentary assistant to Peter Peacock, the education minister, awarded a £23,415 contract as a board member of Scottish Natural Heritage
    April 2004 Beverley Hughes resigns over Immigration scandal
    February 2004 Labour criticised by Electoral Commission for late tendering of accounts
    January 2004 - Revealed that Schlumberger hired disgraced special adviser Philip Chalmers to run the Scottish Tourist Board’s Visit Scotland website. The website is part of a Scottish Executive PFI contract
    November 2003 Margaret Hodge forced to resign over libelling Demetrious Panton
    September 2003 - Harry McGuigan, a leading Lanarkshire Labour councillor appointed as a member of the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration board
    August 2003 David Kelly commits suicide
    August 2003 Chris Bryant pictured in briefs on Gaydar website
    August 2003 - Defeated Labour MSP Iain Gray appointed as Alistair Darling's special adviser at a salary of £60,000
    August 2003 - Failed Labour candidate Pat Kelly appointed to board of Scottish Water.
    March 2003 Clive Betts MP employed rent boy in House of Commons office
    December 2002 Cherie Blair apologises over links to conman Peter Foster
    October 2002 - Lanarkshire Labour party hold a Red Rose Dinner attended by a notorious drug baron called Justin McAlroy
    October 2002 - Forty-four constituency Labour parties in Scotland revealed to have failed to register agreements to accept regular donations from trades unions. Failure to do so is a criminal offence
    September 2002 Labour MP Alan Meale in trouble over deportation case linked to donation
    July 2002 Carphone Warehouse chairman claims Lord Levy tried to nobble a £1 million donation
    June 2002 Ken Livingstone accused of manhandling his partner while drunk at a party
    June 2002 Black Rod accuses Downing Street of trying to muscle in on Queen Mother's funeral
    June 2002 Labour spin doctors accuse Paddington crash victim Pam Warren of being a Tory stooge
    May 2002 Stephen Byers resigns from government after various scandals
    May 2002 Tessa Jowell criticises Labour for accepting donation from Richard Desmond
    March 2002 Lakshmi Mittal
    March 2002 Donnygate Doncaster Labour scandal ends in prison for Labour councillors
    February 2002 Arthur Andersen & donations to Labour
    February 2002 Martin Sixsmith forced to resign by Stephen Byers
    February 2002 Jo Moore resigns over ‘burying bad news’ email
    January 2002 - Norman Murray, Labour councillor and former convenor of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, appointed board member of the Scottish Ambulance Service at £7,305 a year
    January 2002 Labour spin doctors trash reputation of Rose Addis
    January 2002 Enron accused of buying access to Labour after donation
    December 2001 Keith Vaz criticised by Standards Commissioner over business links
    December 2001 Nigel Griffiths and £40,000 office expenses
    November 2001 Henry McLeish resigns as Scottish First Minister after office expense scandal
    November 2001 November 2001 - Jack McConnell admits to affair with Labour party secretary who he tried to keep in situ by appealing to Labour MPs for funds. He says he has had no other affairs
    July 2001 Hindujahs receive passports after Labour donation
    May 2001 May 2001 - Robin Young, a former non-executive director of Bovis (construction managers of the Scottish Parliament) appointed as permanent secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry
    April 2001 - Failed Labour candidate Keith Geddes appointed to board of Scottish Natural Heritage
    January 2001 Buyer of Millennium Dome Robert Bourne accused over donation to Labour
    January 2001 Peter Mandelson resigns for the second time
    November 2000 Cherie Blair & Nannygate
    July 2000 David Blunkett fails to declare income from rent on his Wimbledon home
    June 2000 Geoffrey Robinson in trouble with Belgian tax authorities
    June 2000 Lord Ali in trouble for using House of Lords as business address
    April 2000 John Prescott fails to disclose benefit of Union owned flat
    January 2000 Geoffrey Robinson faces fraud inquiry over Transtec
    January 2000 Gordon Brown faces Inquiry over flat purchased from Maxwell ruins
    January 2000 January 2000 - Police arrest Philip Chalmers, who earned £50,000-a-year as head of the Scottish Executive’s strategic communications unit, for being drunk at the wheel of his car in a red light district with a prostitute
    October 1999 Ron Davies goes badger watching
    October 1999 October 1999 - Failed Labour candidate Joan Aitken appointed as the Prisons Complaints Commissioner
    September 1999 Scottish Labour Party lobbying scandal
    July 1999 Ken Collins, former Labour MEP, appointed chairman of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency with a salary of £45,000
    December 1998 Geoffrey Robinson resigns over loaning money to Mandelson
    December 1998 Peter Mandelson resigns over Geoffrey Robinson loan
    November 1998 Nick Brown admits paying for gay sex
    October 1998 Ron Davies’s Moment of Madness on Clapham Common
    July 1998 Downing Street adviser Roger Liddle investigatedover lobbying links
    March 1998 Lord Irvine’s £650,000 of wallpaper
    March 1998 Scottish Parliament building tendering process & construction
    July 1999 Derek Draper & Lobbygate
    August 1998 Robin Cook’s affair with Gaynor Regan exposed
    November 1997 Bernie Eccleston’s £1 million donation investigated
    May 1997 Mohammed Sarwar accused of bribery
    Each year Blair's freebie holidays"

  • Comment number 75.

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

  • Comment number 76.

    The ruling class always has a different set of rules. As with the banks and financial services they were free to do whatever put money in their own pockets and with total disregard for the public. The lack of ethics in government and banking is the problem and nothing has been done to correct either. Honesty, integrity and ethics have long been forgotten by those in power. It may be best to get rid of all of them and start anew.

  • Comment number 77.

    NR anymore on the French Army/navy/Airforce coming to protect us ?

  • Comment number 78.

    NR talking of MOD issues , you visit the US-UK HQ and see the good work
    and what they did for ex-service personal particularly with PTSD.

    And how they had won award for the good use of ESF monies, but
    then suddenly in the foreor of over stretch issues they were constructively shutdown. Any comment

  • Comment number 79.

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

  • Comment number 80.

    #63 does not even compare with the debt's created by brown balls and co,
    so NR why are you bloggging this and not the debacle at the MOD ?

    remind me of TSR2 , how many of them are we going to see this time then

  • Comment number 81.

    64 "For a taster you can order The Big Red Book of Labour Sleaze online.
    As one of the reviews says, not for socialists who are easily depressed"

    It does look jolly interesting doesn't it. Now apparently on its second print and in the first one alone it listed 140 instances of sleaze.

    Thing is, if these instances weren't true, don't you think the book & its authors would have been in the libel courts a long time ago.

    As for...

    "sagamix wrote:
    ..where does this leave Cameron with his mortgage claim?"

    I'd missed one of sagamix's post on another subject but there's no chance of missing this one. It's been posted at least 200 times. And fully ansered 200 times to no avail. I actually fell asleep half way through reaZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


  • Comment number 82.

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

  • Comment number 83.

    Nick, I like the post. Maybe not the most crucial item on the agenda of the politics of our country today but highlights a very good point about the progress made so that it can all look like the people are getting a good deal. After all, we tax payers can afford all of this.

    I find all this criticism disappointing, isn't it obvious that in a time of rising unemployment we need to make sure there are employment opportunities available to all. If all these people weren't involved, we may have to see them enter the unemployed statistics and that would be ever so bothersome to the government. Therefore, they've all been given jobs to ensure that doesn't happen. See, isn't Gordon so kind to have done this.......

    Now for the more serious tone of discussion, how many bureaucrats does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Would be interesting to see what answers are posted.

    This is nothing but a sign of a wasteful government that is incapable of doing anything. One person and possibly one reviewer could have done the job, but instead we have far too many bureaucrats treading on each other's feet so that come the end of the day everyone has an excuse as to why things ended up the way they did and Gordon can sit on his throne and say that it had nothing to do with him even though all these people were appointed by the government.

    I doubt any of the parties will truly be able to get to the root of this infection that corrupts our parliament, but given the choice between Gordon or anyone else, I would vote for anyone else, it would even be a tough call between who I would prefer more between Nick Griffin and Gordon Brown and Gordon just wins but only by a small amount. Luckily, I doubt Nick Griffin will be the next PM.

    If we were on a sinking ship, the government would propose legislation that MPs should be saved first and they'd easily win that vote in parliament. The point is that no matter the party affiliation, they're all MPs and they're all in the same position so even if party politics come first, the political elite will always find a way to look after itself first.

    If they had wanted this sorted, MPs should have gone to their constituents for talks and discuss with their constituents about the rights and wrongs of their actions. The verdict and punishment should have been by the constituents. With regards to reform, have open discussions with the people and stop the whole political propoganda machine that achieves absolutely nothing. There should be a referendum on any proposals and if any MP rejects the people's wishes then they prove that they're not representative of the elctorate and should leave and never enter politics ever again.

  • Comment number 84.

    67. At 1:25pm on 04 Feb 2010, Perry Neeham wrote:
    52#

    Another selective memory socialist..... its a wonder you lot can remember where you last put your left foot, your memories are that selective....

    Silly Perry
    Despite Conservatives like you, I do actually want to vote for them...
    Try sticking to the issues. Socialism left mainstream politics along time ago

  • Comment number 85.

    73. AndyC555:

    "Come on Nick, this expenses 'scandal' is a storm in a tea cup. Soon blow over, no casualties. You said so yourself when the scandal first broke."


    Was that Nick's infamous 'small beer' moment? Damned expensive small beer it's turned out to be.

  • Comment number 86.

    56. peryy angry.
    so i waded through your paragraphs of guff and eventually realised that you couldnt answer the question without "should have and ought to". you could have just said i cant do it and then youd have had more time to get to bingo!

  • Comment number 87.

    >>DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:
    >>Nick, if you're looking for ideas for a bit of good old-fashioned >>investigative journalism (you do do investigative journalism, don't you?>>), how about finding out why Sir Thomas's inquiry cost £1.16 million. >>That seems a bit excessive to me. Where exactly did all that money go?

    Well, there's the salaries of the people involved, plus all those hefty expenses :) Obviously, it must cost an absolute fortune for a few people to go through a list of receipts with a calculator, pencil and paper. Perhaps it was the last-minute purchase of moral integrity which was expensive - it appears to be in very short supply at the moment and I believe that pushes the price up.

  • Comment number 88.

    The political and media elite are still not getting "it".

    Fraud was committed. This is now self-evident. Those who are involved should not be politely asked to return their ill-gotten gains and the matter left to rest. Prosecutions should be brought, assets seized and punishment handed-out.

    My local MP, Rudi Vis, made excuses to me in a letter about how his wife was ill and they moved to a grand country house for her health. While retaining the home in the constiuency. And claiming for both through flipping. He seemed to think this was reasonable.

    For anyone living in the real world, if your spouse gets ill you have to make hard choices about how you adapt your life - you don't steal from your employers and claim it was allowed or just an honest mistake when you're caught.

    This country really needs less reality TV and more civil protest.

  • Comment number 89.

    #73:

    "Come on Nick, this expenses 'scandal' is a storm in a tea cup."

    Sorry, Andy, but I totally disagree. Over half of all our MPs have been found to have overclaimed on their expenses. Do you really not consider it scandalous that over half the people who make the laws in this country are comfortable with acting dishonestly (or at best negligently) for their own personal gain?

    Personally, I think that is outrageous, and if a single one of the MPs who have over-claimed on their expenses is voted back in after the election, I shall totally despair for what has become of the British electorate.

  • Comment number 90.

    56. Perry Neeham
    Further to the sleaze thread, jailed politicians, politicized police.


    ...add to that the false arrest of an Opposition MP and the raid on his Commons office, an action defended by the then Home Secretary.

    Even the Tories never managed that one.

  • Comment number 91.

    To tell you the truth, I am fed up with it. I actually don't care about it and don't personally get uptight saying "it's my money they stole" because if you look at it properly you will see that it would only amount to a tiny weeny amount to each and every tax payer in this country.

    However, what I think is that the stupid idiot in the Fees Office should be hauled over the coals - the silly person or persons who actually signed off these amounts leaving the MPs of the opinion that they the MPs were not doing anything wrong.

    Two things - Fees Office accountable and the principles of those who abused the system with claiming huge amounts. The others I would forget.

  • Comment number 92.

    58. mark.
    hazy indeed. i did a list and its just slightly a tad longer lol. somewhere on these blogs. ask perry. he likes to copy, paste and burn anything anti -tory. a sort of pointless crusade. fitting.

  • Comment number 93.

    Any more of this and even more people will vote for the party which has not got any expenses scandals and who are not afraid to speak out even though they get abused everywhere by looney left multiculturists. 900,000 have voted for them so far and they do not even have candidates in every single constituency. Think what the figure would be if they do.

    I am talking about the BNP of course. Labour's fault.

  • Comment number 94.

    Today in Scotland we have just been told that Alex Salmond is the ONLY political leader to be exonerated in the expenses scandal.
    You will find this info in the Press and Journal, not the BBBC who accused him some time ago - big headlines in the "Quality"press of Scotland at the time of accusation and not a peep today!
    ( Just in case you are unaware of which papers like to describe themselves as the " Quality"press of Scotland , they are called the Herald and Scotsman, however many in Scotland call them something else!)

  • Comment number 95.

    ah, i see the right wing are hunting in packs again and smell blood. pathetic.
    anyway
    perry.74.
    i see from your long long list that again you had to fill it will alot of minor nothings in order to give it effect. You are the master of guff.
    ie. priministers wife and hairdressing bill v Archer was found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice at the 1987 trial. He was sentenced to four years' imprisonment by Mr Justice Potts.
    Or Ken Livingstone accused of manhandling his partner while drunk at a party v
    Aitken was charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice, and in 1999 was jailed for 18 months.
    You have also filled the list with unproven accusations, questionable decisions and also expenses scandles that equally apply to the tories. Of course labour are far from perfect but that alone doesnt revivie the credibility of your sixth form blog. Stick to morris dancing perry!

  • Comment number 96.

    lefty10 your comments strike me as being pretty pathetic. As someone who has realised he is on the losing side and is trying to take cheap shots at everyone else on his way down. Bingo, duckhouses seriously? Grow up this blog should be for adults only and your petty insults don't add anything to your argument. At least Perry went all out and got some evidence of labour's misdoings over the past few years (he clearly has too much time on his hands). I've looked several times and can't see your list...

  • Comment number 97.

    #83:

    "Now for the more serious tone of discussion, how many bureaucrats does it take to change a lightbulb?"

    I'm guessing 64.

    This is how it would go:

    1 to notice that the old lightbulb is no longer working

    10 to sit on the working party to confirm that the the lightbulb is indeed no longer working

    10 to sit on the next working party to determine what is to be done about the fact that the old lightbulb is no longer working

    2 to monitor the expenses of the above 2 working parties

    25 to run a competitive tendering process to see which electrician gets the job of changing the light bulb

    1 to hobble the results of the competitive tendering process to make sure that the electrician who actually gets the contract is the son-in-law of one of the Ministers

    5 to write a report on the light bulb changing process

    1 to leak the report on the light bulb changing process to the press

    8 to write an urgent press release to clarify that the Minister's son-in-law was chosen for the job because, despite the higher costs, he had particular expertise in changing this particular kind of light bulb and was therefore the only electrician who was actually suitable for the job and any suggestions of nepotism are entirely without foundation

    And finally, 1 to phone the electrician.

  • Comment number 98.

    #87:

    LOL! I knew there had to be a good reason!

  • Comment number 99.

    96. you obviously havent read perrys towards me. but i guess thats irelevent to you because you agree with his arguements. zzzzzz

  • Comment number 100.

    "lefty10 wrote:
    58. mark.
    hazy indeed. i did a list and its just slightly a tad longer lol. somewhere on these blogs. ask perry. he likes to copy, paste and burn anything anti -tory. a sort of pointless crusade. fitting."

    I am sure there is more Tory sleaze out there, but as I mentioned I only did the low-lights from both parties.

    If I was going to detail all the sleaze I would still be working on the list now.

    There are very few people at the heart of New Labour who haven't faced accusations of sleaze. Labour ran in 1997 on a platform of being "whiter than white" but the first accusations of sleaze came about within months of the party being in power.

 

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