Snouts in the Trough : MPs’ Expense Fiddles

Sir Philip Mawer, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, reckons that “the sharp differences in expenses claims among MPs were not easily explicable.” Guido can explain it easily. Loads of MPs are on the fiddle.

“The degree of variation in the spend on stationery and allowances, and in some aspects of the travel regime, are not easily explicable,” he says tactfully. “It is so marked that it is bound to give rise to questions about Members’ practice.” Ahh, he does realise they are fiddling.

He intends to press for MPs to pay for at least one of their own homes out of their own pockets. So that will bugger up Geoff Hoon forinstance, who claims at the taxpayer’s expense for his constituency home, despite owning it outright with no mortage. Senior Labour figures like David Blunkett, Jack Straw, John Prescott, Ruth Kelly and Margaret Beckett have fiddled between them hundreds of thousands of pounds in unjustified expenses. Dole cheats go to jail for far smaller frauds.

Public Sector Snouts in the Trough

The clever campaigners at the Taxpayers Alliance have turned the annual City-bonus-envy-fest on its head with the release of the Public Sector Rich List 2006. Guido thinks they have missed a few public sector soak-the-taxpayers types at the BBC – which is after all in the public sector and funded by taxes. Johnathan Woss on £18 squillion or whatever seems particularly poor value. He should be on commercial TV, as enjoyable as he is, does he really need to be paid so much by the taxpayers? Don’t get Guido started on Paxman’s million-a-year…

Only the Best Wine is Good Enough for the Trough

As Guido is reduced to knocking back the cheap €2 rosé instead of the Margaux this summer he is heartened to know that official figures show the government stockpile of booze is worth £647,000. The ‘Hospitality Wine Cellar’ holds some 35,000 bottles.

The average bottle in the cellar costs more than £18, nearly four times the price of the average taxpayer’s tipple. Us alcoholics pay £7.7 billion a year in booze tax, whilst politicians drink the best vintages at our expense. Snouts in the trough slurping up the wine…

Snouts in the Trough : Peter Hain Again

Guido does not begrudge Peter Hain his boy-racer passion for fast cars. In his own younger days Guido was known to race about in a Lotus Elise and do the odd handbrake turn in a rally car. As these pictures show Hain enjoyed himself immensely dressing up and racing cars at a Rally Ireland event in Sligo.

Unlike Peter Hain, Guido paid for his boy-racer jollies out of his own pocket rather than charge it to the taxpayer. Guido’s flights and helicopters were at his own expense. Peter Hain charged to the taxpayer the £10,754 costs of his flights and expenses. There is no political justification for this, he is just enjoying himself at the taxpayers expense. No doubt he will claim some bogus “security” justification. Look at his smile in these pictures, he is laughing at you the taxpayer.

Since when has a playboy lifestyle been the chargeable expense of a minister of the crown? He should get his turbocharged snout out of the trough and pay back every penny.

See also Snouts in the Trough : Peter Hain

Snouts in the Trough : Peter Hain

The Belfast Telegraph’s David Gordon has highlighted Peter Hain’s penchant for expensive taxpayer-funded flights to sporting events in Ireland.

Hain flew in specially chartered planes to a Dublin rugby international and two Sligo motor racing events within the past year. The bill for Hain’s costly jollies comes to £10,754. Hain, a keen motorsports fan, flew with one official last October to Sligo to attend a motorsports event. The cost of this one-day trip was £2,491. In February he flew to Dublin to attend an Ireland versus Wales rugby match. Three officials went with him and the bill for the one-day trip came to £5,002. In March, he was back in Sligo again to attend another Rally Ireland event. Two officials flew with him on a charter plane for a two-day stay which cost £3,271.

The use of taxpayer-funded charter flights to attend jollies has even provoked the Conservative Party’s Northern Ireland spokesman, David Lidington: “Everyone accepts the need for Ministers to travel, sometimes at short notice, but these three trips sound like costly jollies at taxpayers’ expense.” Guido thinks Hain can get a bloody Ryanair flight to the rugby at his own expense like the rest of us.

Blunkett Sues, He Should Lose

Blunkett is suing the Sunday Times and The Times over their reporting of his expenses fiddle [as linked]. Steven Swinford wrote the articles about the disgraceful fiddle whereby MPs claim off the taxpayer for interest and furnishing costs even if they don’t have a mortgage (or new furniture). It is, they always say when challenged, “within the rules”.

But it is not honourable or justifiable, it is a blatant fiddle ripping off the taxpayer for non-existent expenses.

The article in question identified David Blunkett, Jack Straw, John Prescott, Geoff Hoon, Ruth Kelly and Margaret Beckett as fiddling between them hundreds of thousands of pounds in unjustified expenses. It is a joke at the taxpayers expense that they are allowed to get away with this.

Guido hopes the Sunday Times & The Times stick to their guns. It is not as if Blunkett has much of a reputation to defend – he is a proven liar who has been caught fiddling his expenses before and has had to resign from office in disgrace twice. Blunkett is feeling a bit cocky having won a couple of court cases recently. This one he deserves to lose.

Here is something of interest, of the mortgage fiddling men named in Swinford’s article – Blunkett, Prescott, Straw and Hoon – the first two have been exposed in the press for having illicit affairs, the latter two have not as yet.

See also :
Hoon Fiddles Expenses “In Accordance With The Rules”
Four Lords A-Fiddling

If You Go Down to the Lords Today…

If you go down to the Lords today,
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the Lords today,
You’d better go in disguise.
For every Lord that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the Lordships claim their allowances.

My thanks to a very diligent co-conspirator who not only found the fabled whereabouts of the Lords’ Queue, but sent a map too. The legendary Lords’ queue is where they get their day (and overnight) allowance. The sight of all those Noble Lords queuing every day to claim their allowances, having spent precious little time in the Lords Chamber and even less time contributing to Lords debate is truly something to behold. Even without fiddling their expenses they can make £150 a day just for joining the queue – and many do just that.

The noble Lords queue up once a day in the evening at their Fees Office (administered by Black Rod) near the Pugin Room on the ‘red benches’ side of the Palace of Westminster. An MP or a Commons researcher with a Category 10 Pass could legitimately encounter the Noble Queue by taking a short cut from the Pugin Room through the Lords Library corridor back to Commons territory. Guido would like a picture of that queue – this is a covert mission, surreptitious use of the camera-phone will be required. In return for undertaking this risky mission there will be a prize of a copy of bestselling The Bumper Book of Government Waste* to the person who first emails or texts Guido the picture.

Don’t forget to nominate politicians with their “snouts in the trough” to : Pork Busting, giving the name of the politician and the reason. Guido is compiling from the emails a list of politicians with their snouts deep in the public trough and will then organise a readers poll to find our piggiest politician.

*Prize courtesy of publisher Stephen Eckett at www.harriman-house.com

"Snouts in the Trough"Get Your Nominations In!

Don’t forget to send Guido your nomination for the politician with his or her snout deepest in the taxpayer’s trough. A number of you have nominated Cherie Blair – alas Guido has decided she is in a different category since she claims her hairdressing and travel expenses from charities and Labour party members. Strictly the nominees should be MPs, MEPs or Peers.

Email nominations to : Pork Busting, giving the name of the politician and the reason. Guido will compile from the emails a list of politicians with their snouts deep in the public trough and then organise a readers poll. There will be a prize of a copy of bestselling The Bumper Book of Government Waste to the person who makes the best nomination.

Ann and Nick Winterton, the husband and wife couple who are both Tory MPs have been nominated for their sterling work in double claiming their mortgage allowances to a total of £33,351 last year – just to show it is a bi-partisan thing they were beaten by Labour MPs Ann and Alan Keen who were nominated for scrounging a tax-free £35,338 off the taxpayers to allow them to enjoy their Covent Garden pied a terre conveniently close to the Opera House - equivalent to over £1,000 a week in subsidy if it were taxed.

More than enough to pay the interest on a £1 million mortgage, no wonder they are laughing…


Nominate MPs with Snouts in the Trough

Two years ago when this blog got started one of the main motivations was how much Guido detested the venality of politicians politicising all aspects of our lives at our expense. They talk about the public interest when really they

[…]

Hoon Fiddles Expenses "In Accordance With The Rules"

On Sky on Sunday Geoff Hoon was droning on in that New Labour speak of his when he was challenged about claiming £72,000 in expenses while the outgoings on his Derbyshire home were around £35,000. He became very animated and

[…]

MPs Get Fat on Your Taxes

Guido wants to reach for the gunpowder when he reads that MPs are entitled to a £400 per month food and grocery allowance. That’s over £13 per day, no receipts required. Guido has a policy idea – MPs should

[…]

Pompous Statement on behalf of the Follets

The Torygraph’s Spy column has obviously stung the Follets with this; “Champagne socialist MP Barbara Follett has been under fire for claiming £20,000 in expenses to pay a mortgage on her London pied-à-terre, even though her £2 million constituency house

[…]



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