Bercow was spinning hard for jailed MPs caught fiddling their expenses during his speech to the Hansard Society last night.
“The House appeared to be little more than a cross between a rubber stamp and a talking shop which had taken to collective activity such as the imaginative interpretation of what might be a legitimate expense claim as much as an odd form of displacement activity as out of any shared sense of malice or corruption.”
Jim Devine must have submitted claims for cleaning, maintenance and printing work that the judge said were “entirely bogus”, pleading guilty to dishonestly claiming £8,385, and been jailed for 16 months because he was bored.
David Chaytor’s three counts of false accounting worth £18,000, submitting claims for the rent of a flat in Westminster which he bought in 1999 and had paid off the mortgage for in 2003, seeing him sentenced to 18 months, must have been a “displacement activity”.
Certainly no malice or corruption from Elliot Morley submitting 19 claims for excessive mortgage payments and 21 second home allowance forms for a mortgage he had already paid off. Costing the taxpayer £32,000 and seeing him sentenced to 16 months.
And what of Eric Illsley, who made false claims for his second home worth £14,000 and was jailed for 14 months.
Let’s not forget Denis MacShane, awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to false accounting. These MPs were not bored, they were crooks who were banged up for breaking the law…