David Chaytor, the soon to be former MP for Bury North, drew up a tenancy agreement with his daughter but disguised their relationship by giving her middle name as her surname. That is deception. That cannot be spun as an over-sight in the way he is trying to make out that continuing to claim for a phantom mortgage was an over-sight. Chaytor claims his mother was sick, he was so busy he didn’t notice the mortgage was paid off, the dog ate his conscience etc.
The Sunday Times reveals that Chaytor
“claimed that he was renting his flat from a woman he called Sarah Rastrick. These are the first names of his daughter Sarah Rastrick Chaytor, who had recently graduated from university when the arrangement started.”
We already knew that Chaytor had also used the name Sarah Rastrick when paying his daughter £5,000 from his Commons office allowances for research while she was a student. Using his daughter’s name to commit fraud is particularly low. Guido thinks there is a good chance that Chaytor will go to jail. Rightly so…
The semi-official LibDem policy of exploiting the expenses system for political rather than personal gain is looking likely to become a campaign issue. This is in some ways a more insidious form of sleaze. There is circumstantial evidence that Hampshire’s LibDem MPs; Sandra Gidley, Mike Hancock, Christopher Huhne and the retiring Mark Oaten have manipulated the Communications Allowance to save their party spending some £17,000 on envelope stuffing machines, which they claim are not used for political communications.
LibDem MPs like Sarah Teather have subsidised their constituency offices out of public funds for partisan purposes. She like many LibDems candidates uses an unincorporated association (controlled by LibDem activists) which publishes no accounts to produce her party literature. The not unfounded suspicion is that this is effectively a slush fund used to gouge the taxpayer at inflated costs for ‘official’ literature which subsidises the printing of unofficial party leaflets. These are not isolated cases, Cowley Street advises MPs to be “imaginative” in exploiting “grey areas”. They are still ripping off the taxpayer just as much as David Chaytor.