A number of Tory MPs have graciously agreed to step down at the next election after acquiring fortunes in expenses.
But don’t worry about them falling on hard times. They will get payoffs when they leave and a healthy pension to see them right while they are waiting for their dole to come through.
Sir Nicholas Winterton and Lady Winterton have said they will not stand for re-election as MPs, claiming they could not maintain the “hectic pace” of politics and wanted to spend more time with their family.
Perhaps. Though in 2002, after paying off the mortgage on their £700,000 London flat with the help of expenses, the couple gave the property to a family trust controlled by their children.
They then claimed more than £120,000 in expenses to rent the flat from their children over six years.
The decision to pass ownership to their children was aimed at avoiding paying hundreds of thousands of pounds in inheritance tax.
Last year David Cameron, the Tory leader, described their actions as “indefensible”. But in a letter Cameron thanked them for their “service, energy and commitment”.
Their decision to leave at the next election rather than now means they will each receive their £64,766 salary for the year after they resign.
They will also each receive a £40,799 “winding-up allowance” and a pension worth about £30,000 a year.
The same scam is available to every one of the disgraced MPs who are now stepping down.
Anthony Steen, who spent nearly £90,000 of our cash on “dangerous trees” and protecting his plants from rabbits, insisted his behaviour was “impeccable” and he had merely been “caught on the wrong foot”.
He said, “As far as I am concerned and as of this day I don’t know what the fuss is about. What right does the public have to interfere with my private life? None.”
Which is about as much right he had to our money.