NOT A single member of parliament apologised for the unforgivable figures leaked from expense reciepts in a revelation that has plummeted the Government’s reputation to an all-time low.
With Parliamentary trust heavily tarnished and Gordon Brown’s reign as Prime minister on a knife-edge, statistics uncovered by the national press detailed MP expenditure that verged upon a farce.
Among a host of embarrassing revelations, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears had claimed for three properties in a single year and consequently attracted heavy pressure to resign from her post. Chancellor Alistair Darling switched his designated “second home” four times in as many years to maximise his claiming power. Foreign secretary David Miliband used taxpayers’ money on gardening at his constituency and a host of other bizarre MP claims, including horse manure, a super mop and a packet of maltesers were revealed as many MPs claimed up to £150,000 of their allowance last year.
Mr Brown’s chances of retaining his post as Prime minister also took a severe blow, after details of his use of £6,500 to pay for he and his brother to have a cleaner for 26 months were unveiled.
Just last week he had made an attempt to amend the beleaguered MP expenses system, yet after the latest damage was shown, Mr Brown blamed the system and not the MPs that have been abusing it, a strange excuse considering he had “reviewed” it just last week.
The newest of an array of MP errors highlighted the Parliamentary sleaze culture that has left Britain’s tax payers reeling. The leaks, added to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s claims for adult movies on behalf of her husband, highlighted the debacle that has ensued over the past few months in Westminster – leading to the lack of trust many Britons have with Brown’s Labour Government.
All the Government seems to be doing these days is apologising for their mistakes. Former Chancellor Brown has overseen an alarming slide, resulting in recession, sky-high unemployment levels and the falling value of the pound. While spending your way out of trouble can be a reasonable idea, as it has the potential to stimulate the economy, Brown has poured in borrowed money for quick solutions, but little seems to have changed as Darling’s optimistic Budget forecast looks to be unlikely.
Numerous MPs have milked the system and gone to the limit of their expense allowance. While it is legal, and allowed by Parliamentary bosses, this week’s statistics have crossed a moral line with hardworking voters littered across it.
The Cabinet, in particular, represent the nation and have the responsibility to be model professionals and exemplary British citizens. Damien McBride’s smear emails towards Conservative MPs led to his resignation and brought embarrassment to the Labour Party.
From the Tory end of the spectrum, Eric Pickles second home allowance claim sparked controversy and fellow MPs, as well as the British public, hit out at his expense claims on an edition of Question Time. His comment that commuting for a month was “tough” also sparked uproar and undermined many people who face the situation week in, week out.
But this parliamentary sleaze and claiming culture is far from the truth for the majority of the parliament members. The sleaze and expense claims that have covered national newspapers has damaged the reputation of hardworking MPs who act as role models, do all they can for the benefit of their constituency and act within moral and legal limits.
These latest figures are just a selection from the catalogue of errors that has brought the Government into serious danger of being toppled by David Cameron’s Conservative Party.
Surely, with the UK in a torrid financial state, MPs should be concentrating on the salvation of the economy during Britain’s hour of need, rather than refurbishing their conservatories.