Political blog, May 11: From swimming pools to dry rot repairs: How MPs have lost touch
I haven't met or talked to
many people who aren't outraged by the revelations
in the Daily Telegraph about how some of our MPs have claimed
MPs may well protest that the things they have done are within
the rules but that is not one that will wash with the public.
Indeed, there is something rather unedifying and arrogant about
politicians trotting out this excuse, as if nothing else
really mattered like a sense of humility or even an
acknowledgement that they are in the wrong and will be paying back
money they may have claimed on dog food, mortgage relief and
swimming pool repairs.
Not to recognise that voters may take a jaundiced view of the
fact that their allowances regime allowed them to claim mortgage
relief; "flip" their homes and make a profit is, frankly,
It would be interesting to see how many of those who are accused
of such practices have stood up and made speeches expressing
sympathy with those struggling to get a foot on the housing
As yet, no Kent MPs have been identified in any of the
Telegraph's reports but their details will soon become public
knowledge. The House of Commons' authorities are processing
millions of receipts submitted by every single MP over several
years. As a result of what has happened, there is speculation that
this will now be brought forward.
One of the few Kent MPs who has said anything about the matter
is the Medway MP Bob Marshall-Andrews. The Labour MP was on Radio
4's "Today" programme this morning in which he sought to pin down
the Daily Telegraph's political editor about whether the paper had
bought the information or not.
I'm not sure many people feel terribly concerned about this
aspect of the scandal - there is such an overwhelming public
interest case in this information being published that it seems
rather immaterial whether there was an element of cheque-book
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