Socialist Worker

MPs’ expenses scandal ends after evidence is shredded

Issue No. 2428

MPs expenses have been shredded

MPs expenses have been shredded (Pic: Wikimedia Commons)


MPs’ expenses are finally safe from scrutiny after the House of Commons authorities destroyed all record of their claims.

Members of the public who have written to Kathryn Hudson, the standards watchdog, to raise concerns about their MPs’ claims have been told there can be no investigation due to lack of evidence.

The move is necessary to comply with data protection laws, a Commons spokesperson said. 

However, under that same set of guidelines, the pay, discipline and sickness records of Commons staff are kept until their 100th birthday. 

At the height of the expenses scandal in 2010  MPs agreed to stop shredding expenses claims. 

But the new policy came to light after Tory activists asked Hudson to investigate accommodation claims worth £103,000.

They were  made by Andrew Turner, their local Conservative MP, between 2004 and 2010.

David Pugh, Alan Stovell and Gary Taylor are members of the Isle of Wight Conservative Association. They alleged Turner had improperly designated the 

five-bedroom island home as his “second home”, while telling the fees office that a one-bedroom flat in London was his main home.

Hudson, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, refused to investigate, citing “availability of evidence”.

“All records relating to expenses claims before 2010 have now been destroyed,” she wrote.

“No unredacted information is now available here.”

The shredding of all the forms and receipts  means that, somewhat conveniently, no new expenses investigations of MPs can take place.


Tory MPs are still unpleasant drunk

Tory MPs were invited to a country retreat for an awayday last week.

The high jinks, which cost £20,000, unfolded at Park Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chipping Norton.

After strategists considered how many dog whistles one minister can blow at once, the real fun started at a dinner—with unlimited free wine.

Sir Alan Duncan,  produced a portrait of George Osborne naked.

The dodgy jokes flowed like the wine. Tory MP Philip Davies mocked Osborne’s chief ally, business minister Matthew Hancock, saying, “Anyone tempted to lick George Osborne’s backside should be careful because if you go too far you will find the soles of Matt Hancock’s shoes in the way.” 

Michael Gove took part in a version of the radio quiz show Just A Minute chaired by Gyles Brandreth, declaring, “As Chief Whip I must insist MPs do not sleep with one another tonight

 “However, I am available myself, and you all know my room number.”


The queen is looking for staff to work at Windsor Castle for £1 below the London Living Wage.

Two jobs advertised on the official British Monarchy website pay a salary of £6,916 for 20 hours work per week—just £6.65 per hour.

The jobs, a sales assistant and coffee shop assistant in the Windsor Farm Shop, require previous “Enthusiastic” candidates.


Bankers’ trifle and bombing for peace

Troublemaker would struggle to spend over £74,000 on trifle and ice cream, but for the Bank of England it was child’s play. 

The Bank spent this catering at its “carefully budgeted” summer party in July.

The Bank also spent almost £20,500 on entertainment for around 3,200 guests. 

The total cost of “Governor’s Day”, as the annual fete at the Bank of England Sports Ground in southwest London is known, grew to just under £100,000.


Britain’s first anti-war memorial intended to oppose aerial bombing has been restored—which is nice. 

It was commissioned by Sylvia Pankhurst outside her house in Woodford Green in north east London in 1935. 

Iain Duncan Smith, Tory minister and supporter of bombing Syria unveiled it last month—which is a little less nice.


Odey hedges on donations 

Crispin Odey, the hedge fund boss who last year hosted a reception to introduce Ukip leader Nigel Farage to City donors, seems to have done a reverse Douglas Carswell by switching his financial backing to the Tories.

Odey made a private gift of £10,000 this month to Jesse Norman MP, the Treasury Committee member. Norman recently said plans to push more people into completing self-assessment tax returns could prove “quite onerous”.


Lloyds Bank won an award for the organisation that is “doing the most to support and nurture young women in business”. 

It announced 9,000 job losses of mostly women workers the next day.

Tickets for the Women of the Future Awards, whose patron is Cherie Blair, were £222.


Payday loans good for you

The Respublica think tank—founded by “Red Tory” Phillip Blond—has launched a report hailing the potential “social good” of the parasitic payday loan industry. 

The report, launched on Monday of this week in parliament, was “kindly supported by” the Consumer Finance Association—the trade body for payday lenders.

“The short-term finance sector can become a source of social good, helping consumers ‘climb the credit ladder’ through integration of the sector ...these firms can also be part of effectively supporting those who fall into unsustainable debt.”

Respublica accounts show the Tory’s operation in the red to the tune of some £100,000. Perhaps they need a payday loan?


ALL RISE...

47

The number of billionaires in Britain according to Oxfam. Between them they have £95 billion

29

The number of  billionaires in Britain in 2009


‘I’m voting Ukip because the Tory MP did nothing for us’

Prospective Ukip voter in Rochester. The Tory MP in question was Mark Reckless—now Ukip’s candidate

‘We’re f***ed’

A Labour MP tells the Sunday Herald how the party would fare if Jim Murphy is elected leader of Labour in Scotland

‘Am I supposed to exist on no victuals at all?’

Tory councillor Rodney Bass doesn’t have the stomach for austerity after gobbling £995 of free food in Essex council’s canteen. He pockets £43,225 in allowances

‘Less fortunate places that haven’t had the benefit of British rule’

Tory mayor of London Boris Johnson pities those places that escaped good old British imperialism

‘I have tendered my resignation as a local councillor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’

Tory councillor Alan Mellins who called for Travellers to be “executed” resigns


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Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 4 Nov 2014, 17:44 GMT
Issue No. 2428
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