Insights from the UK and beyond
MPs’ expenses — worse than cash for questions?
Britain’s anti-sleaze chief Sir Christopher Kelly, Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, has said the MPs’ expenses scandal is worse than the infamous cash for questions affair that did so much damage to the John Major adminstration in the 1990s.
In that celebrated scandal, which fatally undermined Tory MP Neil Hamilton’s political career, Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed alleged he had paid two MPs to table parliamentary questions on his behalf.
Then, the envelopes stuffed with cash became the enduring symbols of Westminster sleaze. Today the equivalent in the expenses furore would probably be what? The garden horse-manure? The rented porn movies? Or maybe the most delicious of all: the moat. (Well – we’ve all been there, haven’t we, with the blocked moat misery. Why does it always seem to happen at the weekends?)
MPs squirming under the spotlight now have all said they acted within the rules. Some have even insisted they acted within the spirit as well as the letter of them, however much it might look from the outside that they have been milking the system for all it’s worth.
Who do you think is at fault? The MPs or the rules?