Expenses leak shows how out of touch MPs are
The Mole: As one Tory MP claims for horse manure, it's clear that members of all parties are deep in it, says our Westminster insider
Gordon Brown and his fellow Cabinet ministers are suffering this morning but the fact is that MPs from all parties will be shown to have had their snouts in the trough by the time the Daily Telegraph finishes publishing its revelations about parliamentary expenses.
As a result, this episode threatens to destroy what flimsy vestiges of respect MPs had among the public for their public service. (The hunt is on among Fleet Street's finest for the three MPs who are said to be 'on suicide watch' because of the revelations.)
The fact they were all acting within the rules underlines the most damaging factor that MPs have become detached from the reality of life for the rest of us, who have to pay our own bills out of our own incomes.
And the expenses scandal is only part of the story - MPs' gold-plated pensions put them on a par with the bankers they are so quick to demonise.
Don't be surprised if the fallout eventually damages David Cameron as much as Brown. It could also lower the turn-out at the general election.
In the meantime, here are a few of the tastiest expense claims the Telegraph is promising to expand upon in the coming days:
• Two packets of Pampers at £5.65 each, charged by a junior Labour minister after he became a father.
• A Dyson carpet cleaner costing £299.99, claimed by a LibDem MP.
• Two tins of Cesar Chicken and Turkey pet food costing 78p claimed by a Tory MP.
• A chocolate Santa costing 59p, charged by a Welsh Labour MP.
• A packet of ginger crinkle biscuits costing 67p, bought by a peckish Labour backbencher.
• A bag of horse manure charged by a wealthy Tory MP for his country retreat.
I also note that one Tory grandee charged £35 per quarter to the taxpayer for a mole catcher at his country home. A fat lot of use that was! ·
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