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UK MPs’ expenses: who’s next?

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The scandal engulfing British members of parliament over their often startling expenses claims has started to bring down some prominent victims: the speaker of the House of Commons, two Labour Party MPs and four from the Conservatives at time of writing.

The Daily Telegraph, which obtained a disk containing unexpurgated details of claims for moat dredging, floating duck houses, plasma screen televisions and reimbursement for mortgages long paid off, is now on Day 19 of its unremittingly lurid revelations.

It’s hard to imagine that there can be much more of this, at least as far as the House of Commons is concerned, yet there probably will be.

Some political commentators are now beginning to wonder where else this story will lead.

from Africa News blog:

A question of scale

For days now Britons have been regaled with newspaper stories detailing the dubious expense claims of their Members of Parliament.

The Honourable Members, it seems, have been charging for everything from a few thousand pounds for clearing a moat to a few pence for a new bath plug. An outraged nation has risen almost as one to denounce its greedy lawmakers.

Getting a nose in front

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Hosting a shindig conference at one of Britain’s most prestigious racecourses in the genteel spa town of Cheltenham hardly sends out a message that David Cameron’s opposition Conservatives are trying to reach out to the masses.

But the decision to come to the rolling hills of the Cotswolds sheds light on one of the obstacles standing between Cameron and the keys to No. 10 Downing Street.

Another bumper Budget?

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All we’ve heard for the past few weeks is how little room there is for Labour to pump more money into the economy to fight the recession.

The increasingly popular — and confident — opposition Conservatives have gained ground by blaming Prime Minister Gordon Brown for turning the public purse into a public hearse.

Big Beasts in different cages

They are known as the “big beasts”, those polticians that hold, or have held, heavyweight government posts and stalk the landscape as if they own it.

The return of Ken Clarke to the Conservative front bench as business spokesman offered Westminster watchers the delicious prospect of watching an admired political performer take on
another just as adept at the stalk and kill in the form of Peter, now Lord, Mandelson.

MPs and the “John Lewis” list

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bigben2.jpgHow much should MPs be allowed to keep confidential?

The High Court has ruled that Members of Parliament must disclose details of expenses claimed for second homes and the location of those properties.

House of Commons authorities had sought to block the publication of second-home expense claims for 14 current and former MPs — including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown — requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

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