… it now emerges that David is retaining both the property and his ministerial limo on the eminently vague basis of “security issues” – odd when you consider that Mo Mowlam was not provided with so much as a tin hat on being booted out of the Northern Ireland Office, with the additional quirk that she had occupied the very property in which David now resides. The Revenue assures Simon that now he is no longer a minister, the car and house should count as taxable benefits, so we call the Cabinet Office to check this is all in hand. We know bothering with tax is terribly petty bourgeois – working class, even – but is he considering it for old times’ sake? “Er… I’d better speak to the Revenue,” says Steve in the press office. He returns with an intriguing reply. “As with any other taxpayer,” he says, “tax law is applied after due consideration of the facts.” The facts from where we see them, Steve, are that a chap provided with a free £3m Belgravia house would usually land a tax bill of around £83,000 a year. And we can’t help thinking that might be a bit steep on a salary of £57,405. “Well,” says Steve. “We can’t comment on individual cases.” Our apologies for being vulgar.
Guido has previously noted that the Guardian Diary’s Marina Hyde has a penchant for lifting her stories from blogs. Today’s diary has this lead story;