Sunday, May 10, 2009

Proof That Tories Can't Screw in a Lightbulb

The Telegraph has now put up more details of what will be on its front page tomorrow. Read the story HERE. Lowlights include

  • Alan Duncan spending £7k on his garden
  • Michael Gove & Andrew Lansley accused of "flipping" properties (see updates below)
  • Oliver Letwin claiming money to repair a tennis court
  • David Willetts claiming £100 to employ a man to screw in 25 lightbulbs
  • Francis Maude for, well, I can't quite work it out to be honest
  • Cheryl Gillan claiming for dog food

I'm not quite sure any of this is quite on the level people were expecting, but that shouldn't diminish its seriousness. While we should wait for the full detail of some of these claims it is clear that several of them have cases to answer. And answer they should. What we don't want to hear is a parroting of the Labour Ministers' line that "it was all within the rules". We want to hear a proper acknowledgement that things went too far.

David Cameron has just said as much on the Ten O'Clock News. He said sorry. He shouldn't have been put in this position, but his reaction over the next few days will do much to shape the public's view of him vis a vis Gordon Brown. All those accused of claiming taxpayers' money when they shouldn't have done need to acknowledge it, apologise, pay any money back where appropriate, and then perhaps everyone can move on.

It's a shame David Willetts has proved that a Tory can't screw in a lightbulb, but he'll be relieved it was nothing worse!

UPDATE: Fraser Nelson has the full story on Michael Gove. He is totally in the clear and if the Telegraph are suggesting otherwise then they had better have very good lawyers.

UPDATE: Sky News is reporting that Andrew Lansley says he changed his housing arrangements when his daughter started school.

101 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's embarrassing for some, and I can imagine Cameron will be furious - but it's not as bad as it could have been. The flipping of property is the worst, and they'll have to go I think; but all in all this could have been a much worse day of headlines.

Jay said...

The whole issue leaves a bitter taste. The phrase I keep hearing is "They're taking the piss"

And they really are.

Chris said...

"David Willetts claiming £100 to employ a man to screw in 25 lightbulbs"

I think this is good value - you would need 2 men for health and safety reasons and it would take about 1 - 2 hours.

Anonymous said...

Mutter, mutter, mumble ... I want to hear about Balls'n'Cooper ...

Oliver Drew said...

Yep definitely stupid. There are two or three "serious" cases the rest plainly idiotic. Refreshing to see that Cameron and Hague, according to the Telegraph, have acted fine under the rules and that George Osborne claimed for a chauffeur from his office expenses (a minor discretion really).

So in short as compared to the equivalent in the Labour cabinet, there are not as many serious indiscretions. Cameron needs to do what Brown can't though - apologise first, which according to Iain he has, then second discipline the offenders. That will show that he actually takes the problem seriously.

He however at least is in a position to take action because he appears to not be implicated, unlike Brown, who obviously is implicated.

Bryan Dunleavy said...

I agree with your sentiments. It's a pity but theu should be subject to the same level of censure as their Labour counterparts. There is no room for relativistic judgements here. If they have been fiddling the system they should be sacked whatever the cost to the Conservatives by way of talent.
This whole business has now gone beyond any acceptable excuse.

Anonymous said...

Cameron should tell them all to apologise on camera or be sacked. And James Gray should have the whip withdrawn for good measure anyway!

Anonymous said...

Let’s stop this witch hunt now. Change the rules and get on with it. There are many good members of parliament who are having their reputations ruined unnecessary. Four soldiers died on Friday in Afghanistan, we are in middle of the world’s biggest recession and there is a possibility of a pandemic. And yet we are talking about toilet seats and light bulbs. Please will someone get a grip of reality and move on.

TheOdysseyOfHomo said...

I've been quite worried about what Monday's paper would show regarding the Tories' expenses, but if that's all there is then it's not too bad. Well, it's bad, but nowhere near as bad as the Labour party, which I'm really relieved about.

It looks like David Cameron and the Tory big guns are free of any scandal, so things are still looking good for the Euros and beyond. That's assuming nothing else is going to come out of course.

Mark M said...

At least David Cameron has actually said sorry and not attempted to shelter his colleagues by attempting to deflect the argument. We've had days of NuLiebour groats moaning about leaks and parroting "it was within the rules". The nearest I've heard from them of an apology was Tessa Jowels on the Politics show this morning saying Sorry the rules were crap!!
What would really stand head above shoulders would be if to the worst conservative offenders, apologised and offered to return the money. That would wrong foot the labour lot and leave them high and dry an the mealy-mouthed weasels they all are.

Anonymous said...

How many tories does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

None, they get a man in to do it for £100.

Anonymous said...

7k on gardening? I have a gardener and just worked out I pay him 1800 a year. So what kind of complex gardening is this? He doesnt live in Kew does he?

I would except David Willets to announce that screwing in lightbulbs and changing fuses on sockets can be quite tricky so we should let him off!

Nothing on Cameron then?

Sue said...

It would be really refreshing if they just told the truth! They milked the system because they could.

Eadwulf Cudel said...

The best thing David Cameron should do is to reshuffle his shadow cabinet and take out all those who have had their reputations blemished by the "expenses saga". In one fell swoop he will gain the initiative and put the ball back in Browns court.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry folks, nothing to see here, we're all the same so don't bother yourselves and keep voting for us.....

Simon said...

You must have seen a different news to me. I saw Cameron blaming "the system", same as Brown and all the Labour MP's. He had a chance to say something statesmanlike and blew it by using the same weasel words as Labor.

Does he actually think people are stupid enough to fall for that? I know the saying "Never underestimate the stupidity, or the gullibility of the general public." is always at the back of a politician's mind but he's just showing how divorced from reality he is if he thinks they'll fall for the "system" red herring.

Events dear boy, events said...

I doubt that we will be able to move on until the party leaders get together and come up with a solution, which should have happened months ago.

Cameron can say sorry but action is needed not words.

One other matter. The role of the Speaker needs to questioned. He has failed totally on the expenses racket, as with so much else.

Prodicus said...

Speccie: 'Gove did not flip - he moved.' Talk of lawyers...

Johnny Norfolk said...

And we wonder why the opposition has been so weak. They are to busy just looking after themselves. Cameron needsa claen sweep.

Anonymous said...

Two brains and 10 thumbs.

But as with all these things I suspect Willets might have an excuse. Was it just scewing in the bulbs - ? Or was there some proper electrical work involved/ I merely point this out because recent (EU I think) regulations limit what can be done, electrically, by a non qualified person.

It may also have been that Willets had not been on a health and safety course and was not qualified to use a ladder.

But in other respects this claim and others are really pathetic and the people in question should be ashamed.

If there is a serious case of clearly self serving and plain fraudulent 'flipping' involved then I believe that serious action should be taken.

Trend Shed said...

I have only looked at this in passing - but it is not as bad as I was expecting.

Don't sack 'em. I say Cameron should make them write a cheque and pay the tax payer back.

Tories need the talent in government ( and so the does the taxpayer - there is a huge Labour mess to clear up afterall)

PhilC said...

It used to be said that Tory scandals were about sex and Labour ones about money (not if you're the Home Secretary obviously).
Are we going to see cultural differences between the claims Conservatives have made and those Labour politicians made?
Letwin claims for tennis court repairs while Prescott for mock Tudor beams.

Horshamite said...

Iain, I may have missed it but nobody seems to have outed the honest MPs who have not been screwing the country. Dennis Skinner comes to mind. I've never agreed with his politics but I've always admired his consistency and integrity.

Tory Bear said...

Parliament should be dissolved, the full expenses published for every member and the the people should be allowed to be the jury on this.

Anoneumouse said...

Were they low energy light bulbs?

strapworld said...

Neil Evans. Chris said. Bexifer, Mark M, They took public money. Our Taxation.

They should pay it all back asap. and face the sack.

Cameron may say sorry, He needs to show this Country that he means busienss. He cannot have people who have used the system to take our taxes in Ministerial Positions.

Cannot change a light bulb?

Mirtha Tidville said...

The telegraph is reporting comments by a Tory peer Lord Naseby who describes Parliaments reputation as being ` down in the pits` and a General election is needed before we can move on...

Wise words from the noble Lord.Bring it on Broon

Ralph Hancock said...

Everyone including Iain seems to think that in this country you screw in lightbulbs. Do you all have people who do this for you?

Note for expatriates and those with servants: British lightbulbs have bayonet fittings. Press in, turn a little to the right, relase, and hope it stays in.

Anonymous said...

Prodicu - grow up, or at least read the story.

Gove moved back with his family to his proper family home in London. Previously they all lived together in the constituency.
The house in his constituency which he now claims for is now a genuine second home - which is allowable and indeed as far as I am concerned fair.

So the issue is far far removed from say the Smith situation. It is also far far removed from say the property empire building of Geoff Hoon.

I have no problem with MPs having a second home allowance - but they should stick to the spirit of the rules.

I hope no Tories have been as bad as Smith, but if they have they should be disciplined somehow.

jailhouselawyer said...

As OH has said on another thread, sorry is not enough. The word means nothing. It does not even damage limitation.

MPs are claiming on expenses what ordinary folk have to pay from their wages or benefits.

Cameron can say sorry all he likes 'til the cows come home. Nobody likes to be ripped off. And when it is done by those as wealthy as MPs...

Liz said...

My heart sank when I read your original post - I've been so impressed with Michael Gove in the relatively short time he's been a politician. Very pleased indeed to see that he actually appears to be as clean as a whistle.

I'm also very pleased that Cameron actually apologised on tonight's news. It's incredibly important to demonstrate that the Tories are approaching this in a different way from Labour, who are causing me considerable wincing every time I open a newspaper at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Iain, with regards 'paying the money back', you are entirely wrong.

The only reason they would pay it back is because they've been caught with their snouts in the trough. Would they have paid it back if these receipts had never been published? Of course not.

No, people need to pay with their jobs AND pay the money back.

Roland Deschain said...

Proof That Tories Can't Screw in a Lightbulb

Iain, the Tories are so useless they couldn't screw in a brothel.

Anonymous said...

David Willetts / Cheryl Gillan.

I would need to know the amount of their total expenditure before passing comment. Whilst it is wrong to claim for dog food [!] my view is that she is not exactly going to be flogging the dog off for a higher price having 'improved' it with some Winalot...

And Willetts was probably only following the rather silly 'elf and safety' approach in offices where all 'portable appliances' have to be tested, and only the 'on-site facilities' team are meant to change light bulbs.

Yes, it is petty - but it is this nonsense about building up a property portfolio at taxpayer expense that pi$$es me off.

Even bloody Letwin with his tennis court is one of those 'well if he wasn't spending it on that he would be doing up the garden'. Shameless, but not quite as bad as all this 'flipping' nonsense which really irks me very much indeed.

Anonymous said...

i see the other parties are not exempt either - see today's news of the world......

Eckersalld said...

They're all at it - the silver lining of this cloud being it could now be a good time for independentsTime, I feel, for a coalition of the little people to take back the power, and grind the political elite firmly in the dirt.

I have no doubt they'll also be on the take, but better a regular person than the parade of greedy, money-grubbing, professional political little sh**s we have now.

Martin S said...

It depends what types of bulbs they were. And where they where.

Alex said...

This new independent auditor seems to be a fudge. all auditors ever do is tick a box if everything is in accordance with the rules, no matter how bad the rules are. The government will then declare that all payments have been certified by the auditors, but we would be in the same position as today.

Martin said...

No but they can screw the public.

insert-coin-here said...

So Cameron thinks this is jsut of case of saying 'woops,you got us,we are very sorry' and we should all just move along?

Does he seriously think that he is displaying the leadership qualities that the country is going to need to get us out of this mess?

He is certainly no Thatcher,he isnt even a convincing Tony Blair impressionist.


Pathetic.

Arden Forester said...

Two Brains Willetts needs a man for 25 light bulbs? How cheap were his brains and how expensive were the bulbs? The man must have seen him coming!

Oldrightie said...

As OH suggests, just sweep them away. Gove did up a property in order to maximise his profit. Pay all this money back and quit.

Sweatygingerbiker said...

Tachybaptus

Not all UK lightbulbs are bayonet fitting. About a quarter of mine are screw type fittings. Most spotlight type bulbs are screw type. They can be awkward to remove sometimes so maybe Willetts didn't want to strain his limp wrist and erred on the side of caution and got an expert onto the job.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

When are you going to turn your attention to MEP's expenses Iain?

Unknown said...

The public wont be appeased by a simple apology, they sort of got that from Brown, we need to see blood on the carpet.
At least 2 or 3 of the main offenders should be sacked from the shadow cabinet and Gray should have the party whip withdrawn.

Anonymous said...

Remind yourselves Willets getting an electrician in to sort faulty lighting out is correct,as DIY electrical work is now outlawed by the EU,I think from last year,paying for it is another matter.

Opinicus said...

I don't think they've left a moderniser out.

Think like new Labour; act like new Labour.

Ralph Hancock said...

Sweatygingerbiker 12.16:

Yes, that makes sense. I can see that as a politician he might very well need 25 spotlights.

not a fan of mr d. said...

One too many mistakes by Duncan. He should go.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that there is a consensus that there needs to be an idependant body set the rules and to agree to the expenses. Once that's introduced, the MPs will then argue that there is no need for them to be made public. Which is worse, they set their own rules and we can hold them to account or its all done in private and we never have an idea of what goes on?

rik said...

For their duplicity and hypocrisy any MP who has worked the expense system should be faced with 1 of 2 options.

Provide an unqualified apology plus refund all monies (plus interest) for any dubious expense claims or tender their resignation.

I think this is the least the tax payer deserves.

Guthrum said...

Cameron needs to start sacking a few people to regain credibility- but he won't

Taking one penny out of pockets of people that are struggling and still having to pay taxes is utterly wrong

Anonymous said...

I agree with Tory Bear. Dissolve parliament and lets have an election. The people can then decide.

Anonymous said...

As somone who knows the school which Andrew Lansley's daughter attends, I know he is telling the truth here. I remember quite vividly he bought a house in Orwell not that long ago into which he moved his family from London - it would therefore be reasonable to change his second home into that which his family did not live. It's not as if he has been constantly flip flipping to maximise the benefits

Anonymous said...

To put it in context. One low income family earning say 16,000 a year, worked for nearly 6 months for the taxman, to pay for Michael Gove's house furnishings.
These house furnishings in no way help him to do his job as an MP.
That doesn't sound fair to me, but we'll have to wait and see for the reaction from the public.

cassius said...

The revelations may not be as bad as Labour, but Cameron & Co need to show a real difference in their approach and re-affirm their respect for the electorate.

Sorry is a start, but the best thing would be for the worst-implicated (and it appears to me that Gove at least may have a genuine explanation for "flipping") should immediately and voluntarily step down from the Shadow Cabinet until after an election.

They can, in honour and honesty, say to the voters that they wish above all else to serve in a future Tory Government, but that - in the light of the revelations - they cannot do so until the electorate have once more returned them to Parliament. There need be no more opprobium than that - in essence this is a matter of personal integrity and the trust of the electorate.

I, for one, will be somewhat dissapointed if anybody in the Tory party takes the view that this is politically "unneccesary" - that may be true, but it misses the point. Above all the electorate want to know that the Tories "get it".

someday said...

The fact that Willetts needs to employ someone to put his light bulbs in does not surprise me in the slightest.

Jon Harvey said...

I do think there are a lot of people in glass houses. MPs appear to have a 'self employed' status and given that have been want to do the things that many company directors and self employed people do - look for all the loopholes and exploit them. Since I set up my own company, I have had several people advising me to scrutinise the HMRC handbooks to make sure I am claiming for every expense I can. People have said - if I buy a computer for my son - I could claim it as a business expense and so on.

I don't do these things because 1) it is not ethical - even if it is barely legal, and 2) I really can't be bothered (for example, to record my mileage into town for supermarket shopping where I might happen to pick up a stamp for a business envelope - and so claim an expense..)

But plenty of people do do this... so are the MPs doing anything different?

I am not seeking to excuse or condone what the MPs have done. But a little less sanctimonious sniping from some quarters would be good - especially from journalists who (from my experience) often have PhDs in how to make the most from expenses.

And the argument that it 'is not public money' is not true - any fiddling of expenses means you are not paying tax that you should - hence it is public money.

As I said before - this is all down to trying to sort this through 'rules' - instead we need principles, accountability and transparency. We need every MP to hold a public AGM - where they can account to their electorate at least once a year for their performance, House attendance, expenses etc etc

Anonymous said...

Eton HQ should launch a prompt appeal for light bulbs and dog food to help our hard pressed Members.

Boo said...

Hmm did not see Eric Pickles on this list.

Has he been mentioned, is he in the same boat as Balls and co?

Anonymous said...

Too small?

Flemingcrag said...

The Michael Gove story is crumbling already, read the Fraser Nelson recollection of an interview he did with Mr Gove in September of last year. The change of house designation was explained in full then, nothing to do with milking the expenses system, everything to do with maintaining a healthy family life.
There are many times now and this is just another example that the Telegraph is more acurately the Labourgraph and its editorial slant owes more to being led by the nose by the "Brown spin machine" than by anyone bearing the title of Editor in its ranks.

Query on Brown... said...

I notice that the DT is backtracking on Brown and the cleaning contract and that his sister in law came to his defence in the Guardian - claiming it was all to help out the singleton Brown during his busy days in London.

But didn't these expense reviews cover 2004 onwards?

Brown married in 2000.

obviousalias said...

Mr Gove is not in the clear, Mr Dale, and if you think he is you are allowing your party allegiance to blind you. Thousands of people have to make the commute he has cheated his way out of, without the option of an expensive solution stolen from the taxpayer.

golden_balls said...

i find the excuses given by some for the tories expense cliams very amusing. lets see if anyone has the balls to pay the money back. I won't hold my breath.

Cameron has two options order any mp that is shown to have robbed the taxpayer via his/her expesnse claims to pay it back. If they don't sack them.

Do i think that will happen not a chance.

If it doesn't then please mr cameron no more weasle words and admit your party is as corrupt as the current one.

Little Black Sambo said...

Anon said, "There are many good members of parliament who are having their reputations ruined unnecessary." [sic]
Funny how the silliest comments tend to come from Anon.

strapworld said...

Having just witnesses Alan 'I have been calling for these expenses to be stopped for years' Duncan on Sky News/BBC News I am absolutely disgusted.

He may have said Sorry. But he should pay that money back immediately. He did not need that money, he is a multi millionaire,

He looked and sounded as genuine as Gordon Brown!

Mr.Cameron; This one has to go!

English First said...

Parliament is now unsustainable in this form! It should be dissolved immediately!

Gary Elsby said...

Does the Tory list of shame mean that they can not be trusted to run a Country?

I thought Dave was all about righteous difference?

Tough on claims, tough on the causes of claims, and all that?

I've always said that Tories are all the same (even within the rules) and I've been proven right.

I accept any apologies that you may offer and with no charge.

Unknown said...

David Willets tried to mend the Electric Light
Himself. It struck him dead: And serve him right!
It is the business of the wealthy man
To give employment to the artisan.

With apologies to Belloc!

Anonymous said...

We now know that a sizable number of MPs are fiddling, from the trivial to the eye watering. The spotlight should also be thrown on Martin, how he fought to keep it suppressed. I also believe his receipts were shredded.

Cneifiwr said...

To: The Comptroller of the Fees Office, House of Commons

From: The Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Dear Sir

May I draw your attention to the excellent series on property maintenance and estate management recently published in the pages of the Daily Telegraph. I am possessed of a large property with a spacious and most convenient park called Rosings.

My nephew, who contracted a most unfortunate marriage (but that is by the by), is a Member of Parliament in the Conservative interest and recently elected to make Rosings his second home. As a consequence of this change, I am now having to accommodate his staff who all appear to have the most exotic antecedents. I am therefore seeking your guidance on what my nephew terms a "democratic makeover" of the servants' wing, to wit fixing to the exterior a number of beams to produce a faintly Tudor appearance in a fashion which, I am told, was recently carried out by the owner of a rather small and inconvenient suburban villa in Hull. Imagine having to cope with only eight bedrooms!

I understand that under your rules, such work must be deemed necessary to assist my nephew to carry out his parliamentary duties and to make good any dilapidations to the fabric of the house. Pray tell me how we can be seen to satisfy these requirements, so that we may submit a claim.

The cost of the work is a trifle at £37,000, as the timber will be supplied from my estate at very reasonable prices. I have also condescended to allow my own workmen to carry out the work.

Yours faithfully

Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Anonymous said...

Cameron might be taking a better approach than the labour party, but to say will be "looked at" is just another insult. He needs to set a proper example by making some of his party members resign or get sacked or pay back the money. He will lose votes if he does anything less than this.

Martin S said...

Gordon Brown should go to the country, say the 'great and the good'"And not before time!" I hear you cry

David said...

Its worth reading the full gove story - frankly it doesn't look as great as Iain is suggesting.

"Mr Gove bought a £331 Chinon armchair from there, as well as a Manchu cabinet for £493 and a pair of elephant lamps for £134,50.

He also claimed for a £750 Loire table – although the Commons’ authorities only allowed him to claim £600 – a birch Camargue chair worth £432 and a birdcage coffee table for £238.50. Other claims in the five-month period included Egyptian cotton sheets from the White Company, a £454 dishwasher, a £639 range cooker, a £702 fridge freezer and a £19.99 Kenwood toaster."

All this to furnish a house he then sold. Where are those elephant lamps now?

simon said...

Of course, it was clear to all in September that the expenses story was going to come out and house-flipping would look bad. So was Gove just getting his post hoc justification in early?

lezzer said...

before Gordon Brown does a cabinet reshuffle and promotes his mate ED to the treasury two things should happen
1.Look at Ed's record at Education-does he deserve promotion?
2. Publish expenses of Ed and Yvette.Nothing to hide ?

Rob said...

To be honest I was expecting much worse. The Lansley and Gove 'flipping' issues appear to have sound reasons and were not for monetary gain. £100 for lightbulbs is just there for embaressment purposes. The two in hot water are Duncan and Letwin. They should repay the money claimed and I'm sure Cameron will be pressing them on this in private. Still, not quite the orchestrated fiddling that we've seen over the last few days.

Mark M said...

While I agree Gove had a legitimate reason for moving his second home, that doesn't necessarily explain why he spent thousands of pounds using taxpayers money to do up that home before moving into it.

I still think he has questions to answer, but not as serious as the 'Chipmunk Flipping' that many other MPs have engaged in.

Anonymous said...

As a Tory voter I am ashamed that the party which aspires for power
has these rotten apples right in the front bench.
Cameron should show real leadership and demand his shadow cabinet colleagues that they 1) return the money 2) appear on the media individually and apologise. If they fail, he should send them back to backbenches. Otherwise, his credibility will take a big dent.
I am really appalled by the scroungers like Gove, Grayling and Duncan. Gove never impressed me. His education briefings are shallow and is too inexperienced to
hold that portfolio. Grayling is simply reactive and ineffectual. Bring back David Davis if Davis is in the clear regarding the expense claim. Alan Duncan a pathetic apologist and an underperformer. If he cannot spend a few thousand from his own substantial wealth to tend his garden, he is a loser any time. Why do we need these people?

I would even suggest Her Majesty to dissolve this parliament and appoint a council of ministers, honest and trusted men and women from parties and outside to run this country for a few years so that the parties retreat and reform.

Anonymous said...

Obviousalias - My view is that MPs (labour Tory whoever) ARE entitled to second homes. This to allow for the fact that they work in at least two places. The second home should be where ever the family are not. In this case this is what Gove has done.

I not go down the line that MPs should commute like the rest of us. Their hours are to varied - especially a front bencher.
I live near Oxford. If I were an MP for Oxford I would not want to commute every day.
If you, Mr Alias (et al) do not like that then tough, You are just being one eyed and bigoted. We have a government a parliament - its costs money to run a government and opposition. I am happy to face up to that.

Fraud like Smiths is a different matter. Quite frankly Brown is as guilty as Smith since he, in govt with a grace and favour hime, does not need a second home allowance. Did Blair fund his homes in the ame way?

There is no evidence that I have come across that there is Tory fraud. I am happy to condemn it if it surfaces. But as long as Brown does not sack himself I do not see how anyone else can lose their jobs.

What Smith has done BTW is fraud since it is a conspiracy to maximise a return based on false information to the authorities.
Claiming for silly stuff is bad (very bad) but there is a crucial difference - the claim is just that - a claim. The fees office (and ultimately the Speaker) are totally wrong to accept the claims.

Anonymous said...

to paraphrase fivelive last night:

Nolan: How did you come to the exact figure of £210.31

Woolas: Look I didn't have to submit receipts you know, I could've just claimed £400 no questions asked

Nolan: If someone breaks into my house and only steals one of my TVs am I supposed to be grateful to them?

Woolas: You're making me angry now mate

At which point I had a Gordon Brown moment. Can I submit for a new radio on expenses?

Anonymous said...

"but if that's all there is"
Tory CCHQ Trolls doing a damage limitation exercise.

Anonymous said...

Never mind the Labour chipmunk--what about a cull of the Tory chipmunks?Starting with Dunky and the Berc.

neil craig said...

How many Tories does it take to screw in a light bulb?

2 but they have to be VERY small.

Boo said...

I wonder when they will cover the speaker.

Point 1. He is in charge of the commons, (at least i think he is.)

Point 2. There have been some leaks saying he put pressure on the regulatory body not to meddle

Point 3. I would put money on him having some embarising claims, yet no coverage so far.

IF there is a fiasco in the school system, the education secretary resigns.

If there are prisoners rioting, the home secretary resigns.

Unless I've got my chain of comand wrong, the buck stops with the speaker

Rob said...

Anonymous said...

"but if that's all there is"
Tory CCHQ Trolls doing a damage limitation exercise.

Anonymous Labour bot trying to stir the pot?

Anonymous said...

"I live near Oxford. If I were an MP for Oxford I would not want to commute every day.
If you, Mr Alias (et al) do not like that then tough, You are just being one eyed and bigoted. We have a government a parliament - its costs money to run a government and opposition. I am happy to face up to that"

If you stand in the constituency in which I am a voter, I would not vote for you-tough for you. If like me others follow you will lose your deposit. Arrogance is the reason the voters hate MPs. As a Conservative voter I would not hesitate to vote for a minor party candidate if the Conservative candidate has the attitude similar to yours. Second homes are misused. Hotels
or rented flats should be an alternative. The govt could buy or built a chain of flats for such MPs. I am fed up with people inventing arguments and excuses. If Cameron does not take strong action, he will lose the nex eletion and Tory sleaze of John Mahor'stime will come back to haunt him.

Weygand said...

The question is not whether there was a good reason for flipping but whether in doing so an MP took the opportunity to make claims which were against the spirit of the rules, eg tarting up a house just before selling it.

But even where claims are legitimate, it is still embarrassing to be outed as somebody who aspires to purchase a 'Chinon' chair or a 'Manchu' cabinet from some toff store.

All the more so when so many electors will be clicking their tongues and asking why their MP didn't know he could have got a nice 'Reims' chair from DFS for half the price (and maybe a year's interest free credit). But then of course the MP was not paying so why should he care.

LearnedFool said...

I thought the rules regarding benefit cheats were clear cut. Let the law proceed unhindered on that point...

Paul Halsall said...

I think David Cameron is getting out of this lightly. Clearly the easiest way to maximise the amount collected from the ACA was to have a high rent or a high mortgage on the second home. It's clearly easier to secure a high mortgage if you are already rich like Mr. Cameron. As a result, although his claims are "simple" and straightforward, that seems to derive from his greater wealth.

With other cases, in which minute details from receipts are causing embarrassment to individual MPs, we are, it seems, dealing with cases less well off people trying to spend up to a limit that Mr. Cameron reached easily.

http://englisheclectic.blogspot.com/2009/05/david-cameron-gets-off-lightly.html

Anonymous said...

All the good and worthy members of the Tory Party who raise money year in, year out will be having a very long think about these "honourable" Members (I JEST) they send to Parliamnt.Enough really is enough this time.Many members will expect to see some political blood on the carpet prior to the "vote begging" for 4th June.

Anonymous said...

Our MPs snouts are so deep in the expenses trough that their tails have gone curly. Its little surpise they can barely come up for air long enough to oink …we operated within guidelines

So to save them the trouble (we appreciate theyre very busy people) Rip Her To Shreds has gone all creative on their behalf, and this week on our Spotify playlist - following in the hallowed footsteps of Jarvis Cocker

We want to live like Common's People....

www.riphertoshreds.co.uk/the-beat-goes-on/spotified/the-playlist/

Rip her To Shreds

Martin S said...

Does the Tory list of shame mean that they can not be trusted to run a Country?What about your list of shame, Gary? The Labourlist of slime and shame?

Wake up. That smell in your nostrils? It isn't coffee, it is Labour Party Ordure.

A reminder for Gary Elsby

Martin S said...

Forlornhope! Thank you! I was going to track that Belloc poem down, now I do not have to!

This might be a duplicate post. Firtefox just did something a bit weird!

Steve H said...

Though I don't think we should be paying to change MP's lightbulbs in the first place, we oughtn't to assume that it's just a case of reaching up and unscrewing them. Was woken up last night by the bloody fire alarm malfunctioning, only to find that the landlord had stuck it to the ceiling at the top of the stairwell. Inaccessible without a long long ladder.

There's also the case of one of the most intelligent MP's in the Commons who cannot can't change his lightbulbs without a long ladder since he knocked two rooms in his house into one. He now has the tallest lounge in Birmingham.

Anonymous said...

So is Dave(Wisteria)Cameron going to take action or will it be the usual political flatulence?

Anonymous said...

Can we just have a quick straw poll here? Put your hand up if, having had 25 lightbulbs blow within a short space of time in your home, you wouldn't call an electrician.

Anyone?

Thought not.

Stephen Gash said...

David Willetts claiming £100 to employ a man to screw in 25 lightbulbsI've always thought that Tories call David Willetts 'two brains' because the rest of them can't muster half a brain between them.

I wonder if the light has now been switched on with them?

Anonymous said...

The position for tomorrow is BRACE,BRACE,BRACE!

Anonymous said...

So Gove fans, tell us how

a £331 Chinon armchair
a Manchu cabinet for £493
a pair of elephant lamps for £134,50
a £750 Loire table
a birch Camargue chair for £432
a birdcage coffee table for £238.50
etc etc etc

were necessary for the carrying out of his duties as an MP?