Westminster Palace. Photograph downloaded from the web prior to the construction of this page, photographer unknown, copyright acknowledged.
 
The Stew of Corruption
"British democracy has lost its meaning. The political and economic system has come to serve the interests of a tiny elite, vastly wealthier than the run of the population, operating through corporate control. The state itself exists to serve the interests of these corporations, guided by a political class largely devoid of ideological belief and preoccupied with building their own careers and securing their own finances". The Stew of Corruption is a blog piece written by Craig Murray, former British Ambassador, author and Human Rights activist.
 
 

MPs' expenses and the forthcoming general election

Comment and observation on Preston, Lancashire and Northern MPs

Can you suggest an MP who is worthy of respect or whom you admire? It's not a rhetorical question, how about George Galloway or John Denham? Gerald Kaufman or Douglas Hogg? What about a Lancashire MP?

Further downloads, links and comments, including for individual MPs, to follow.


Quick links to individual MPs

Janet Anderson, Hazel Blears, Nigel Evans, Mark Hendrick, Lindsay Hoyle, Denis MacShane, Ben Wallace


MPs' expenses downloads

Useful downloads for anyone seriously interested in the MPs' expenses scandal or who is considering complaining to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Right-click and choose Save Target As ... to download.

'The Green Book' on Parliamentary Salaries, Allowances and Pensions provides the rules and guidance for MPs on claiming expenses. There are several versions governing different claim periods: The Green Book 2003, The Green Book 2004, The Green Book 2005, The Green Book 2006, The Green Book March 2009, The Green Book July 2009.

'The Code of Conduct' for Members of Parliament together with 'The Guide to the Rules relating to the conduct of Members'. The code of conduct incorporates the Nolan principles for standards in public life. Even where not explicitly stated in the Green Book, member's expense claims must conform to the more fundamental principles and rules given in the code of conduct.

ACA Review: report by Sir Thomas Legg, more commonly known as the Legg Report this is strictly the 'House of Commons Members Estimate Committee Review of past ACA payments First Report of Session 2009–10' which also includes the report on 'ACA Repayment Appeals' by Sir Paul Kennedy.

Review of past ACA payments: supplementary report, Second Report of Session 2009–10. This report includes decisions on late appeals to Sir Paul Kennedy, corrections of errors and details of further repayments.

'ACA Review The Review's Approach to the ACA Rules', note of 9 October 2009 by Sir Thomas Legg. This note provides background information about the Review's approach to its interpretation of the rules governing the Additional Costs Allowance (the ACA). It clarifies or defines the fundamental principles of the ACA system which, when taken together, amount to a general requirement of propriety.

MP's Allowance Expenditure ACA only 2008-09 is the Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) or second home maintenance allowance. The given figures do not include repayments received from MPs relating to the Legg Review or any other voluntary repayments.

More downloads to follow.


MPs' expenses links

MPs' expenses links

Twenty seven MPs investigated by tax authorities over expenses

More links to follow.


MPs' expenses individual MPs

Janet Anderson, MP for Rossendale & Darwen
Janet Anderson clandestinely repaid £6,000 under the "restitution arrangements" after over-claiming for "petty cash". The so-called restitution arrangements mean MPs who admit misusing public funds can have their cases fast-tracked by making a secret apology to the Commons and returning funds without the knowledge of voters.

Commons Speaker pledges to end secret expenses deals

She also claimed enough petrol money for five round trips between her constituency and parliament for each week that parliament sat.

Labour MP's twice round the globe mileage claim
Hazel Blears, MP for Salford
Hazel Blears submitted an ACA expenses claim dated 30 June 2008 covering the three months April, May and June of 2008 which included 3 x £120 = £360 under the heading cleaning. An Assistant Validation Officer rejected the cleaning claim by a letter of 7 July 2008 for lack of a provided receipt. Given that no receipt was later submitted, and perhaps noting that there was no delay in the request (“I should be grateful if you would submit the required documentation”) for proof of expenditure, one might wonder if the claimed cleaning expenses were fully incurred.

Aspects of Hazel Blears' Parliamentary expenses claims have been referred to the police by the Hazel Must Go! campaign. They have requested a criminal investigation. Hazel Blears referred to Scotland Yard (22 December 2009)
Nigel Evans, MP for Ribble Valley
In a statement on his local constituency website Nigel Evans writes, "The revelations of MPs allowances have quite rightly brought consternation and anger amongst the general public. A system that was rotten to the core was allowed to fester, and has contaminated the trust that people have in Parliament and their representatives."

Nigel Evans sets out his position on parliamentary expenses claims
(22 May 2009)

The Ribble Valley Lancashire MP was caught in a political row after being shown on secretly taken film making jokes about MPs' expenses. He appeared in the film footage alongside his Westminster colleague Alan Duncan who later apologised for his remarks suggesting MPs were badly treated. On the film, Mr Evans complains about his parliamentary salary and the seeming need to buy cheaper drinks following the expenses scandal. He reportedly told the Lancashire Evening Post he was joking and was being “hugely ironic”. The film’s author, campaigner Heydon Prowse, said “It did perhaps show the slightly blasé attitude that a lot of MPs have towards the whole expenses scandal behind closed doors."

Nigel Evans, MP for Ribble Valley, 'laughs off' expense row footage (12 August 2009)

Nigel Evans said he was being “ironic” in secretly filmed footage of him joking about the expenses scandal. The film author appears to suggest Mr. Evans had a frivolous attitude to the whole matter.

Nigel Evans caught up in expenses film row (13 August 2009)
Mark Hendrick, MP for Preston
Mark Hendrick's Parliamentary ACA expense claim errors of judgement appear  to be serious. Jump to summary. The given links are in the chronological order of underlying article publication. Further comment, links and a summary pending.

Preston MP Mark Hendrick signed off and thus certified an expense claim for Christmas cards but seemingly blamed the against the rules claim on a member of staff. He gave the Lancashire Evening Post one hour to examine his Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) for second homes and Incidental Expenses Provision (IEP) claims covering the past four years. A claim for a bed which cost about £1,500 was queried, the claim limit for a bed then being £1,000, but the claim was apparently later approved because it included a base and bedding.

MP tried to claim Christmas cards on expenses (26 May 2009)

According to a newspaper report Mark Hendrick has insisted that his mortgage interest claims complied with the rules. He refused to disclose his mortgage documents, which he said he had regularly provided to the House of Commons fees office, but none of these documents were in the files seen by The Daily Telegraph. It later transpires that he had been asked to make substantial mortgage interest repayments to the public purse. Some of his expenses claims, including those for a bed, television, washer-dryer and new external doors, were purchased in Preston when his designated second home, the property for which he is allowed to claim the additional costs allowance, his additional expenses, was in London. A claim for £1,590 for a bed and pillows was reduced by the House of Commons fees office to £1,000.

MPs' expenses: Mark Hendrick admits estimating claims for mortgage interest (27 May 2009)

Preston MP 'estimated' mortgage interest (27 May 2009)

MP admits claiming for two mortgages (28 May 2009)

MPs' expenses: Mark Hendrick paid back £7,000 after claiming for loan on two homes (29 May 2009)

Council leader defends city MP (29 May 2009)

Angry reaction to MP's expense claims (29 May 2009)

MP faces party over expenses storm (12 June 2009)

Preston MP claimed £7,000 on home improvements (18 June 2009

Mark Hendrick improved his homes on us (19 June 2009)

MP Hendrick backed by party (19 June 2009)

Complaint over MP's expenses (21 August 2009)

Mark Hendrick says he has repaid a total of £17,268.39 of his ACA expense claims:

Watchdog tells city MP to repay £7,000 (21 December 2009)

MP claimed for doors before 'flip' (5 February 2010)

Mark Hendrick Summary

Summary pending.
Lindsay Hoyle, MP for Chorley
Lindsay Hoyle submitted an ACA claim form dated 12 May 2008, covering April, the first month of the expense claim year 2008-09, which included a claim for £80 in cleaning expenses. A Validation Officer rejected the cleaning claim by a letter of 21 May 2008 for lack of a provided receipt. Given that no receipt was later submitted, perhaps noting that there was no delay in pointing out the need for receipts or copy invoices, one might wonder if the claimed cleaning expenses were fully incurred.

In January 2008, his regular monthly interest claims of £711 were interrupted by a claim for £770.83 but his interest claim for February was for only £554.51. Thereafter his mortgage interest claims reverted to a long-standing £711 per calendar month.

According to the Lancashire Evening Post:

"A document within his expenses files revealed how in February 2008 Mr Hoyle claimed £770.83 in mortgage interest payments, which included £662.67 in interest payments on his home loan and £108.16 on a second loan.

An official in the Fees Office questioned the claim and Mr Hoyle's wife, Catherine, who works in his Chorley office, admitted an error had been made.

The MP's second home claims were then docked by £108.16 the following month.

Mr Hoyle told the Evening Post: "As soon as we noticed, it was paid back immediately. It was one mistake on one month and it was paid back.""

MP opens expenses claims to the Evening Post

Lindsay Hoyle's mortgage interest claims rose to £945-50 or thereabouts from September 2008, presumably as a result of an increase in his mortgage.

Denis MacShane, MP for Rotherham
Aspects of Denis MacShane's expense claims under the Incidental Expenses Provision (IEP) are being investigated by the Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards.

MacShane faces expenses probe

Denis MacShane will probably be challenged at the general election by independent prospective candidate Peter Thirlwall. Peter is a Borough Councillor who joined the Labour Party in 1979 and "left it in 2008 when I realised that the Labour Council had no real interest in serving the people of Rotherham, only themselves."

peter4rotherham
Ben Wallace, MP for Lancaster & Wyre
"A Lancashire MP has said expenses he was ordered to repay were "overpayments" from the Parliamentary fees office. Lancaster and Wyre MP Ben Wallace, who publishes all his expense claims on his website, was overpaid by £1,079.99 for mortgage interest in 2008-09, according to the Sir Thomas Legg report, released last week." Comment awaiting refinement.

MP first to publish his expenses

Garstang MP defends 'fourth highest' expense claims

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