Is this divorce time for the 'Mother of all parliaments'?
It has been a sad week for politics in London as scadals have plagued both houses of the British government. New Labour it seems is tainted with old fashioned sleaze as they wilt under daily allegations of misdeeds in Members expenses. Although MP's expnses were due to be released under the Freedom of Information Act next month, they had argued that certain things, like addresses should be withheld. Being right minded citizens in this security riddled culture, we accepted that this was a reasonable request.
However, The Daily Telegraph bought the original files from a whistleblower and we now see that it wasn't so innocent. The problem stems from the fact that MPs whose constituency's are more than a certain number of miles away from the House of Commons, is allowed to claim for a second house. This is a quite reasonable allowance if it were not for the fact that I think it is based on the distance a 'sedan chair' or maybe pony and trap can travel.
Certainly those with seats a long way away should be allowed to claim for a second abode that is near the Parliament is clear, although, New Labour abolished late sitting ( this is when the house would debate long into the small hours of the morning) so that MPs should always be able to get the last train home, making a bit of a nonsense for the MPs within striking distance of London.
We get to the nub when it has been revealed that MPs can change the status of their homes, as often as they change their underwear. What this means is that virtually everything in your second home can be claimed for as this is the extra home you need to cary out your duties. A senior minister with a straight face told the world that her main house was a rented room in her sisters house, whilst her second house was the one where her husband and children lived, which meant everything in that house could be claimed for. It came to light that the tax payers were funding her husband watching xxx rated movies.
Another minister change the status of her first and second homes four times. Then there were the MPs who changed their house status from second to first just before they sold it (at a great profit), I am sure it had nothing to do with the fact that selling your first home attracts no tax but selling a second home attracts Capital Gains Tax..
Then there is Luton, a town that has 2 MPs, that strangely live in the same road. One has only one house and has claimed a modest sum over the previous 10 years. The other has two houses and has flipped their house, one time to their boyfriends house on the coast, just as it needed many thousands of pounds in rennovation works. SHe had the brass neck to try and convince us that she needed a family life to be able to perform as an MP. The second MP just got on the train everyday, just like so many of his constituents who work in London.
Somehow we expected the Tories to be at it. One charged for his moat to be cleaned, another for a chandeliere well par for the course but the worse was a husband and wife, both MPs one claimed one house as their first house, the other claimed the second house as the first. This must be a criminal act of conspiracy to defraud the British tax payers.
Some were found claiming for mortgages that had already been paid, some claimed for a £0.99 bath plugs.
All the MPs came out saying Oh I made a mistake and ofcourse I will pay this back etc etc.
Well one TV station had an investigator who works for the local councils looking for benefit frauds. He said that these are the same excuses that benefit cheats use, the only difference is that they go to jail.
The upshot was that the Speaker of the House of Commons was forced to resign, something that has not happend sine the 1600's, think about it over 300 years. Was it his fault, not really, but he spent a lot of taxpayers money trying to block MPs expenses being published, he attacked MPs who aggreed with the press about the shame of the situation, he felt that rather than sorting the terrible situation out, he should bring in the police to find the whistleblower so that they could be prosecuted. He had already allowed armed. that is ARMED, police to enter Parliament to search an MPs office something that was unheared of. So he lost the confidence of the House.
Meanwhile, over in the House of Lords some New Labour Life Peers were the first to be suspended in 300 years for offering to make amendments to a law going throught the house for a very large sum of money.
The whole of this country is sickened to its collective stomach.