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Paper Monitor

12:45 UK time, Friday, 11 December 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Last time it was a duck island, this time it's a bell tower that's got the papers fuming. The new slew of expenses claims from MPs has Quentin Davies, the Labour MP for Grantham and Stamford, as the big villain.

It's the hokey-cokey performance he went through with the £20,700 repair bill for the bell tower and roof of his country home that dominates the front pages. His expense claim was in, then it was out and now the papers want to shake him all about.

You see Mr Davies submitted the claim only to withdraw it three months later - 10 days after newspapers started leaking details of expenses. He says the bell tower repair bill was mistakenly lumped in with his roofing bill and he never meant to claim for it.

"Ding dong immorally on high" is the Sun's headline. It goes to town on Mr Davies, who, luckily for the now Labour-hating paper, happens to be a Labour MP.

The Daily Mirror remains firmly on Labour's side, pointing out Mr Davies was in fact a Tory MP before defecting to Labour. Various papers run photos of said second home with bell tower. Second mansion, more like. So big the Guardian can't fit the whole house on its front page, where Marina Hyde wonders if you see Douglas Hogg's moat from Quentin Davies's bell tower.

"As neighbouring Lincolnshire MPs, the pair boast two of the more recherché publicly noted architectural features in the east Midlands...
For the purists, of course, Labour's Davies will always be the Salieri to Tory Hogg's Mozart, with even his most audacious work failing to touch the inspired majesty of Hogg's full-time housekeeper and piano-tuning bills."

Back to the Mirror, which reserves its ire for the Conservative leader's seeming don't-do-as-I-do-do-as-I-say approach.

David Cameron, May 10, 2009:
The public are really angry and we have to say: 'Look, this system was wrong and we are sorry about that.'
David Cameron, two days later: He claims £1,081 mortgage interest on expenses, part of his £20,240.15 second home claims for the year.'"

But the best headline is saved for shadow chancellor George Osborne and the MOT for his posh oven - "AGA LOUT". Ho, ho, ho.

Among the details dug up by the Daily Mail are Jacqui Smith's claims for "more porn, a double bed and a new TV". Snigger, snigger. It also has the most entertaining rundown of what was claimed for - "glittering toilet seats, Persian rugs and everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink".

The £1.29 claim by Tory Mark Francois for a King Pot Noodle is Paper Monitor's favourite. Who would have thought such a thing would pass the lips of a Tory?

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