The more one reads about 'Expensgate', the more it is obvious that present Members of Parliament have been taking their paymasters for the proverbial ride. The Green Book, Revised Edition July 2009 states: "Claims must only be made for expenditure that it was necessary for a Member to incur to ensure that he or she could properly perform his or her parliamentary duties". Whether these two clauses were 'operational' prior to the latest revelations on MP's expenses or not is neither here nor there - the underlying principle was the same.
If that clause and the principle contained therein are accepted then it has to be asked how the following can be justified:
Denis McShane (Lab): Regularly submitted receipts to have five shirts washed and folded - £8.25 at time.
Anne McIntosh (Con): Purchased a 'nesting bed' - £1,046. Born in 1955 and she needs a 'nesting bed'?
David Ruffley (Con): Purchased an 'anti-moth proofer' - £2.95
Alan Milburn (Lab): Purchased Nigella Lawson measuring spoons - £760
Jim Devine (Lab): Claimed for total refurbishment of his bathroom - £1,632
Phil Willis (Lab): Claimed for kitchen units and a bathroom suite - £3,999
Lynne Jones (Lab): Claimed for Farrow & Ball Toile Trellis wallpaper - £420
Christopher Chope (Con): Claimed for a nine-inch paint roller kit - £3.59
James Clappison (Con): Claimed for slug pellets - £2.99
Charles Clarke (Lab): Claimed for two Roman blinds from John Lewis - £743
Andrew Selous (Con): Claimed for a mug of Horlicks in House of Commons tea room - £0.55
Julie Kirkbride (Con): Claimed for a extending shaving mirror - £175
Clive Betts (Lab): Bought a double oven - £599
Bob Blizzard (Lab): Claimed for an ironing board cover - £9.78
Crispin Blunt (Con): Claimed for 'brickwork' including work on his 'water wheel structure' and terracotta firelplace - £499
Rosie Winterton (Lab): Bought a handmade Iranian rug - £180
Ben Chapman (Lab): Bought a three-pack of 'waffle' coat hangers - £5
Colin Breed (LibDem): Bought storage heaters - £2,036
Danny Alexander (Lab): Bought Mr. Muscle cleaner - £0.99
Charlotte Atkins (Lab): Claimed for 'clean, repair, re-seal and polish of Victorian hall floor - £730
Robert Syms (Con): Claimed for microwave oven - £39.99
Ann Cryer (Lab): Claimed for a Roberts radio - £199.95 plus lavatory brush - £18
Douglas Carswell (Con): Claimed for pack of whole blanched almonds - £1.01
Austin Mitchell (Lab): Claimed for a replacement kettle - £74.99 also new boiler - £4,100
Barbara Follett (Lab): Claimed for a 'watering system' - £95
Vera Baird (Lab): Claimed for 'wet-wipes' - £1.89
James Arbuthnot (Con): Claimed for three garlic peeling and cutting sets - £43.56
Dennis Skinner (Lab): Total claim for dry cleaning - £1,559
Lyn Brown (Lab): Claimed for a handyman to tune her tv - £40
Sarah McCarthy-Fry (Lab): Claimed for a waterproof towelling mattress - £46
Sion Simon (Lab): Claimed for Ikea carrier bag - £0.30
Christine McCafferty (Lab): Claimed for set of measuring spoons - £1.49
Alan Haselhurst (Con): Logs for his open fire - £100
Paul Keetch (LibDem): Claimed for food blender - £168.30
John Austin (Lab): Claimed for 6 leather chairs and oak table - £649
Graham Allen (Lab): Claimed for 'platinum' carpet laid in five rooms - £3,400
It cannot be argued, by any stretch of the imagination, that any one item listed above was necessary to 'ensure that he or she could properly perform his or her parliamentary duties' - not one!
When one considers that yesterday the Daily Telegraph reported MPs had 'milked' the expenses system for £10million in the months prior to the clamp-down on parliamentary expenses, it becomes even more obvious that MPs had decided to have repairs done to their properties; purchase a few 'essentials' and generally 'treat' themselves prior to their possible/probable enforced 'retirement' from politics - all at the taxpayer's expense!
It can be held that this is nothing more than an act of dispicable, dishonest, and possibly criminal, misuse of public funds and it can only be hoped that, come the general election, those standing will be subjected to intense questioning of their morals and principles.
Politics is indeed rotten to the core!