Socialist Worker

MPs line their pockets with more cash than ever before

Issue No. 2505

Its a big trough!

It's a big trough! (Pic: Tim Sanders)


MPs’ expenses claims have soared by more than 40 percent in just five years.

Some politicians are claiming nearly £3,000 a month in rent and up to £25,000 a year in hotel bills, the figures reveal.

In the years since the expenses scandal, claims have risen by 43 percent from £79 million to £113 million, according to a book, Parliament Ltd, by Martin Williams.

He found the bill for flights was up 50 percent to more than £1 million a year.

Costs for second home rents have risen from £6.2 million before the expenses scandal in 2009 to £9.3 million last year.

The new system is regulated by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which has infuriated some MPs with its rules.

They refer to Ipsa as “I’m Paid Sod All” and complain they’re unable to make claims for items such as taxis because, one MP says, “it’s emotive”.

Another complained about claims being made public, meaning they were wary of claiming for first-class travel. It’s very difficult to work in standard class,” the anonymous MP said.

“But if you go first, Ipsa publishes it as first-class travel and the papers love ‘greedy MP’ stories. It really annoys me.”

Tory Andrew Bridgen claimed for nearly £25,000 of hotel bills after staying in a hotel for 165 nights. New rules mean that politicians can claim up to £150 a night for hotels.

Other MPs signed housing contracts for renting properties in London amounting to up to £3,000 a month.

Some 46 MPs own property in London but rent it out and claim funding for rent on a separate property.


Buying whipped cream won’t help with spots

The government has introduced confused legislation on what are no longer deemed to be legal highs.

The Home Office writes, “A customer who looks over 25 attempts to buy several containers of whipped cream canisters containing nitrous oxide from a shop at 11pm.

“They are not buying anything else. In this scenario the cashier should consider not selling the goods.”

They compare this with “a male who looks in his 50s” buying anti-freeze and other products “related to car maintenance”.

“It may be difficult for conventional retailers to know if a substance is affected by the Act or not,” the Home Office admits at one point.

The Home Office clearly envisions youthful drug fiends, unable to stay off the stuff even immediately ahead of purchasing it.

The document asks, “Do they have physical symptoms of intoxication such as bad skin, weeping eyes, rash around the nose?”

So those with spots and hay fever may finding shopping a little more difficult from now on.


Prince Andrew failed to take bribe

Shooting oil workers not a problem for the prince

Shooting striking oil workers not a problem for the prince (Pic: Open University Flickr)


Prince Andrew brokered a £385 million deal for a consortium in Kazakhstan. The queen’s son was allegedly in line for £4 million in commission from the deal in the oil-rich country while acting as special trade envoy for Britain.

He used his position as a royal to facilitate the venture on behalf of Greek and Swiss clients.

In 2011 he used his relationship with the Kazakh oligarch Kenges Rakishev to help a Greek utility firm and a Swiss finance house bid for infrastructure contracts.

The Duke of York emailed Rakishev asking for assistance for the two firms, Aras Capital, from Zurich, and EYDAP, Greece’s largest water firm.

For his trouble, Prince Andrew was to be offered commission.

The deal collapsed when Kazakh police opened fire on a group of striking oil workers and the companies, not Andrew, got cold feet.


French state helped out their pet drug baron

Francois Thierry was the face of the French state’s anti-drug policing under both centre left and centre right governments.

He used the position to help France’s biggest smuggler import large quantities of cannabis, it emerged this week.

Thierry personally recruited drug kingpin “Sofiane H” in prison.

Sofiane H was freed soon after and he became a top secret informant for the cops.

From then on he began monthly “supervised deliveries” of tonnes of cannabis, in association with police and with complete impunity.

Cops even picked up drugs from Morocco on a beach in Spain and brought them to French territory for him, whistleblowers told the police watchdog.


Spooks fight for equality

the listening people at the spy centre GCHQ are on a quest. They write, “GCHQ will be running a series of girls-only development days to inspire and encourage girls to consider cyber as a career. “Women are hugely under-represented in Cyber and yet it is a career path that offers a wide variety of exciting and creative roles.

“GCHQ will be running a CyberFirst Girls Competition, aimed at 14/15 year olds.”

They are teaming up with Edinburgh Napier, Bradford, Worcester and Bournemouth Universities.


Shadow transport secretary Lilian Greenwood wanted to know if the Cabinet airports committee had met this year to discuss building a new runway at Heathrow. Cabinet minister Oliver Letwin said that to reveal a get-together “could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion”.


POLICE have been rapped for creating a sand sculpture of a naked female murder victim with a spade sticking out of her back. It won a team from the Devon and Cornwall force first prize in a competition on Perranporth beach, Cornwall. Devon and Cornwall Police said, “If any offence has been caused, we apologise for that.”


THE THINGS THEY SAY

‘I just always used to make it all up’

Boris Johnson on facts

‘More ethnically segregated’

Labour’s Chuka Umunna claims migrants don’t integrate

‘Donald Trump-style solutions’

What Umunna says people in Britain will look for if the problem continues

‘It has caused hardship and poverty for millions’

Film director Ken Loach on the European Union

“Cold, unfriendly, charmless, not as clever as she thinks she is, lacking imagination, unable to think outside the railway lines and intellectually dishonest”

A Tory MP on Theresa May

‘I would, of course, vote for her’

The same Tory MP when asked if they would back May for Tory leader


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