Tag Archives: mps expenses

Dear Daily Telegraph, Enough already. It’s actually okay for MPs to claim 11p for a ruler.

The_Daily_TelegraphSo the Telegraph is back to its old tricks on expenses. Five years ago, the paper uncovered some serious abuses by MPs at the taxpayers’ expense – along the way, the paper was also (as I wrote at the time) “guilty of flaky fact-checking, unfair distortions and disgraceful smears”.

Yesterday the paper attempted, rather desperately, to re-live past glories by running the story, ‘MPs’ expenses: Ken Clarke bills taxpayer for 11p ruler’. It wasn’t just Ken who attracted the Telegraph’s ire though: ‘Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, was found to …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 22 Comments

Maria Miller resigns – but is that all that needs to happen?

Rt Hon Maria Miller MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and SportThe writing was on the wall for Maria Miller in the 33rd second after she began her grudging apology last Thursday. Even if she had shown the required amount of contrition, the very fact that a system which allowed a committee of MPs to water down the Standards Commissioner’s judgement looks, even if it isn’t, motivated by self interest, by the privileged protecting their own.

At no point did she, or David Cameron, show any signs of “getting it”, of showing any understanding why the original issue was a serious matter.

By allowing it to become a battle between the Conservative leadership and the Tory right, one in which the latter has triumphed, Cameron has weakened his own position.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 21 Comments

MPs under attack again – for claiming mileage for doing their jobs

Having Nigel Farage on Question Time again was more than enough to make my blood boil last night. Sadly, even my Facebook timeline had little to soothe. I saw an 18 month old story being recycled again to give MPs another kicking.

In May last year the Telegraph had a go at some MPs who claimed mileage to attend Remembrance Day services, including a couple of Liberal Democrats. Why on earth should that particular engagement be any different than any other that they attend in the course of their official duties? How many people would meet work expenses out of …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 41 Comments

Why do so many Liberal Democrat MPs not claim for energy costs?

There’s a new expenses scandal in the offing. Today’s Sunday Mirror headline screams that 340 MPs are getting their second home energy bills paid. Yes, energy bills are a hot topic at the moment but let’s look behind the hyperbole.

Of course, MPs are paying their own energy bills in their homes out of their salaries. What is being paid by the public purse is the cost of their accommodation in either their constituency or London. If you’re going to do the job of an MP properly, you need two bases. It stands to reason, therefore, that the second base …

Posted in Op-eds | 48 Comments

Danny Alexander under attack in local paper over children’s travel

A few weeks ago, I wrote that the Telegraph’s attempts to make another expenses scandal out of MPs claiming for travel for their children between London and their constituency as they are allowed to do under the rules. For me, I am happy to pay as a taxpayer to pay this price to ensure that Parliament has parents of young children within it.

While there were some clearly egregious examples of abuse of the expenses system which shocked us all in 2009, I have always said that politicians, in the main, whatever party they are from, are decent people who

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 20 Comments

Using MPs’ children to manufacture another expenses scandal is just wrong

I see from the Guardian and, particularly, the Telegraph this morning that journalists are trying to make an issue out of MPs claiming, perfectly legitimately and within the rules for rent and travel costs for dependent children.

Let’s look at what the IPSA rules actually say. First on travel:

You can claim up to 30 single journeys for each of your dependants per year between your London Area residence and your constituency residence.

If you share caring responsibility with a spouse or partner, you may claim for the spouse or partner’s travel in the course of performing that responsibility. This is limited

Posted in News | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Maria Miller, the Telegraph and Leveson: how statutory regulation begins & how the press is bringing it on itself

Now I’m more than a little sceptical about Leveson: I think he’s firing the wrong bullet (regulation backed by statute) at a target that’s moving out of range (the ‘dead tree press’). However, I’m also deeply sceptical about the press’s ability to report facts straight.

Which leaves me a bit conflicted at this morning’s report: The minister and a warning to the Telegraph before expenses story.

On the one hand, you have a clear signal of the danger of letting politicians anywhere near

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

What did George Osborne agree to do that Nick Clegg refused to do?


(You can like and share this graphic via LibDemVoice’s Facebook page by clicking here.)

Compare and contrast:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

++ SHOCK! HORROR! LIB DEM MP CAUGHT UP IN NEW EXPENSES ROW!

I’m deeply grateful to the Manchester Evening News and its reporter Deborah Linton for exposing Manchester MP John Leech’s shameless attempts to exploit the taxpayer by…

(brace yourselves for the shock)…

… offering coffee to staff working at his constituency office and members of the public visiting him.

With unbelievable extravagance, Mr Leech has splashed out on two £34.99 coffee makers from Aldi for his Didsbury office. As if that weren’t shameless enough, he also bought coffee beans to actually put into the actual coffee makers!

Then to …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 22 Comments

MPs and expenses: return to an unwelcome past

Oh dear:

MPs are trying to block publication of material which could show they are renting their taxpayer-funded homes to each other, it is claimed.

Expenses watchdog The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is considering an Freedom

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 22 Comments

Danny Alexander: pay tax as I say not as I do?

Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander wrote a powerful article — Rich tax dodgers are as bad as dole cheats — for this week’s Sun newspaper. His condemnation of those, such as Jimmy Carr, who legally avoid paying their taxes couldn’t have been stronger:

… to most people it’s outrageous that a few of the very richest and their expensive financial advisers are devising ever more obscure and underhand ways of not paying their tax. When it comes to paying their fair share, some of the people

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 32 Comments

“The pillars of the British establishment are tumbling” – Clegg

The Independent features an interview with Nick Clegg, given on Friday during his visit to Paris.

He speaks of “politicians falling to their knees ingratiating themselves with media moguls”, “too many vested interests tied up with each other” and “a culture of arrogance and impunity” as he lists the casualties of recent crises: journalism and hacking, MPs’ expenses, and banking.

Here’s an extract:

The deputy prime minister senses a rare opportunity in the hacking scandal to carve out a separate niche. The Liberal Democrats have never wooed or been wooed by the media moguls. Unlike David Cameron and Ed Miliband, Mr Clegg

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 12 Comments

Do CCHQ staff have to bring their own toilet paper in to work?

I only ask, you see, because earlier today the Conservative Party’s press team decided to highlight the fact that a Labour MP, Chuka Umunna, claimed £43.12 for “soap, toilet roll etc”.

Toilet paperWell, the claim was for his office where staff work. So quite why would someone want to pick on an employer providing toilet roll (and soap! yes, soap! the sheer luxury!) for his staff?

But perhaps that’s how CCHQ works and the staff there are so used to having to bring their own toilet paper …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Former Conservative peer Lord Taylor sentenced to 12 months for expenses fraud

From the BBC:

Ex-Tory peer Lord Taylor of Warwick has been jailed for 12 months for falsely claiming £11,277 in parliamentary expenses.

The 58-year-old claimed travel costs between his Oxford home and Westminster, as well as subsistence for staying in London.

He said he had made the false claims “in lieu of a salary”, and had been acting on the advice of colleagues.

Lord Taylor pleaded not guilty to the charges, but was convicted in January.

Read the full story at the BBC News website.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Statement from David Laws

From a party news release:

David Laws, MP for Yeovil, today commented on the conclusion of the Inquiry by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, and the Standards and Privileges Committee.

The Inquiry identified a number of breaches of rules, in particular it found that Mr. Laws was in breach of the partner rule, and should have designated his constituency home as his main home from 2004/05, on the basis of the nights spent test.

However, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards accepted that Mr. Laws’ motivation was privacy and not financial benefit, and both the Commissioner and the Committee accept that his claims would …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 63 Comments

Nick Clegg sells second home, returns profit to the taxpayer

Nick Clegg has kept his promise made a year ago, to return any profit from the sale of his constituency home to the taxpayer.

Clegg told his local newspaper, the Sheffield Star, that he has now written a cheque to the House of Commons authorities for £38,750.

The Star reports:

Although he could have been allowed to keep the money under current rules, the Hallam MP and Lib Dem leader said he wanted to “lead by example” and that he hoped other MPs follow suit as they are forced to sell second homes and rent properties instead.

The new regulations come

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments

Nick Clegg’s delivery diary

Nick Clegg’s article in the Indy today is a spare, evidential piece, as neatly sliced and lacking in rhetoric as an appointment diary.

But what a diary. Flip back a year, and Gordon was driving to the Palace to call the General Election, as the Liberal Democrats prepared to launch their manifesto.

Now, Nick writes,

…something is happening that, for the Liberal Democrats, is a new experience: the policies we championed during the election are becoming reality. I don’t mean that consultations are being announced, votes held, or papers published. Over the next few days, lives will be changed for

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 3 Comments

Dominic Carman selected as Liberal Democrat candidate for Barnsley Central by-election

Barnsley Liberal Democrats today selected Dominic Carman as their candidate for the March 3 Barnsley Central Parliamentary by-election, at a hustings in the constituency.

Carman, son of the late George Carman QC, and biographer of BNP leader Nick Griffin, previously stood for the Lib Dems in Barking, East London at the 2010 General Election.

The by-election was caused by the resignation of the constituency’s MP, Eric Illsley, who has now been jailed for 12 months for fraudulently claiming more than £14,000 in Parliamentary expenses.

Commenting, Dominic …

Posted in News, Parliamentary by-elections and Selection news | Also tagged , and | 22 Comments

Press Complaints Commission upholds MP’s complaint over expense reporting

Here’s the main part of the ruling against the East Kilbride News:

The complaint was made by the MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, Michael McCann. The article related to his Parliamentary expenses, which had been published following the release of the figures by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). Mr McCann argued that a claim made in the article – that his expenses “include £1150 in hotel bills to fund his trips to Westminster, while he also claims for a rented property in central London” – was misleading because it suggested that he had claimed for hotel rooms at

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Eric Illsley MP pleads guilty to expenses fraud charges

From the BBC:

Former Labour MP Eric Illsley has admitted he fraudulently claimed more than £14,000 in parliamentary expenses.

He pleaded guilty to three false accounting charges over claims for council tax, maintenance, repairs and utility bills for his second home.

Illsley, appearing at Southwark Crown Court, previously denied all charges.

He was re-elected as Labour MP for Barnsley Central in May, but had the party whip withdrawn after being charged and now sits as an independent.

The hearing has been adjourned for four weeks, for a pre-sentence report. If Illsley receives a prison sentence of less than a year he may remain an MP, but if he is sentenced for longer, he will be disqualified from being an MP under the Representation of the People Act 1981.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 35 Comments

Former MP jailed for expenses fraud

Disgraced former MP David Chaytor was today jailed for 18 months, after admitting to three charges of false accounting on his expenses, totalling over £20,000. He had faced a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment, but his guilty plea was taken into account.

The former Labour MP for Bury North had made claims for renting two properties which were owned by him and his mother, and for IT consultancy for which he was never charged. According to the Daily Telegraph, Chaytor had spread more than £91,100 of expenses claims across five different properties in five years, ‘flipping’ the designation of his second home six times.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 29 Comments

Three former Labour MPs face criminal trial over expenses

The Supreme Court has ruled this morning that three former Labour MPs should face criminal trials over their expenses claims.

Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine, charged with theft by false accounting, had previously argued at the Court of Appeal that only Parliament could hear their case.

The three have now exhausted their challenge to an original ruling which rejected their claims to Parliamentary privilege, a 300-year-old immunity from legal proceedings arising from actions within Parliament; however the judge ruled in June that individual expense claims are “not covered by parliamentary privilege and… triable in Crown Court”.

From the

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

Nick Clegg won’t keep profits from second home sale

Nick Clegg has confirmed that he is selling his constituency home, and will return any profit to the taxpayer – as promised earlier this year.

From the Press Association:

The Lib Dem leader, who has been the MP for the constituency since 2005, has referred to the house in Sheffield as “modest” and revealed he had bought it in a “complete state of disrepair”.

Defending his expenses claims in respect of the house, he told the BBC’s Andrew Neil in April: “I think, unlike almost everybody else, I have said very clearly and very openly that my approach to this is

Posted in News | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Parliamentary privilege doesn’t protect against criminal trial

Three former Labour MPs and a Conservative peer lost their appeals this morning, over last month’s ruling that they could not avoid trial for alleged expenses fraud by claiming Parliamentary privilege.

From the BBC:

Elliott Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Lord Hanningfield had argued at the Court of Appeal that only Parliament could hear their case.

The four all deny charges of false accounting over their expenses.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment.

The men had appealed against a ruling in June by Mr Justice Saunders sitting at Southwark Crown Court in central London.

The judge had rejected

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , , , and | 4 Comments

Former Labour MP sues Sunday Telegraph over expenses story

The Press Gazette reports:

Former Labour backbench MP Frank Cook has filed a libel writ against the Sunday Telegraph over a front-page story from May 2009 about his expenses.

He is demanding damages of up to £50,000 from publishers Telegraph Media Group over a front page story and two inside pieces in May 2009 in the Sunday Telegraph.

The stories, which he claims were defamatory, were headed “MP claimed £5 for church collection” and “I’m sorry church claim was unfair.”

Cook, who represents Stockton North, is also suing over a comment headed: “Now it is the people’s turn to be heard.”

He says the articles

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Peer and 3 former MPs facing criminal trial

A judge has ruled that three former Labour MPs and a Conservative peer may not avoid trial for expenses fraud, rejecting their claims to parliamentary privilege.

Parliamentary privilege is a 300-year-old immunity from legal proceedings arising from actions within Parliament; however the judge ruled that individual expense claims are “not covered by parliamentary privilege and… triable in Crown Court”.

From the BBC:

Mr Justice Saunders rejected arguments by Elliot Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Lord Hanningfield that only Parliament could hear their case.

There was no bar to a trial, he said.

The four, who all deny charges of false

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Maybe Labour was right about Gene Hunt after all

Back near the beginning of the election campaign the parties had a bit of fun with a Gene Hunt election poster. Labour had Gene on his red Audi Quattro, warning us about a return to the ’80s. The Conservatives thought the reckless Hunt, who frequently bends and breaks the rules to get results and thumbs his nose at authority, was a rather positive model and put out their own version of the poster.

It seems Labour was nearer to the truth.

There are MPs – in all parties – who have exploited the expenses system to enrich themselves at the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 25 Comments

LibLink: Mark Pack – Why do we demand such high standards of politicians?

Over at The Independent, Lib Dem Voice Co-Editor Mark Pack takes a look at the Telegraph’s pursuit of David Laws and Danny Alexander.

On David, Mark notes:

… for me, the dividing line between reprimand and resignation in matters of personal financial affairs should be whether or not you have personally gained from a breach of the rules. … in this ironic situation where a politician gets into trouble for claiming less money than he could have done, I regret that he has decided to resign.

And on Danny, he writes:

It’s an odd form of morality to criticise someone for paying no

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 22 Comments

Innocent or guilty, there is no case for Laws to resign

I’ve read, and listened to, a great deal of comment about David Laws today. Rumours are currently circulating that Laws has resigned from the Government. If so, I think it’s a great shame, a great injustice and a great disservice that’s been done to the British people.

Let’s take the absolute worst case scenario: that Laws knowingly broke the rules, saw himself and James Lundie as partners, chose not to admit it and took the money.

If that were the case – and Laws says it isn’t – the public purse will have been no worse off as a result …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 68 Comments

David Laws issues statement on his expenses and sexuality

David Laws has apologised, promised to pay back up to £40,000, and referred himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner after the Telegraph published expenses claims showing he rented a room from his partner.

The paper’s story shows that David:

  • David claimed between £700 and £950 a month between 2004 and 2007 to sub-let a room in a flat in Kennington, south London, owned by his partner who was also registered as living at the property;
  • from 2007, David then began claiming of £920 a month to rent the second bedroom from a new house bought by his partner,

Posted in News | Also tagged | 221 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRichard Dean 27th Aug - 5:43pm
    @Alice. My point is not that at all. I am asking: what will an electorate understand if we say that "the LibDems are a feminist...
  • User AvatarAlice Thomas 27th Aug - 5:11pm
    Richard - the interpretation given here, as stated, is that a party is feminist when it espouses feminist ideals as the Lib Dems do and...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 27th Aug - 4:48pm
    Hi David, you make a good point that a company could leverage their assets and return money to shareholders anyway, but perhaps this should be...
  • User AvatarCllr Mark Wright 27th Aug - 4:44pm
    Maajid is rapidly becoming one of the most interesting people in the party. Well done!
  • User AvatarWilliam Hobhouse 27th Aug - 4:39pm
    Thanks Ed, I take from your response that, while pure and applied R&D do join up sometimes, the science budget is about university research and...
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 27th Aug - 4:36pm
    @Alice. But is that the same as saying the LibDems are "a feminist party"? How will voters interpret this phrase? Is white light the same...