David Blackburn

Some Tories are yet to repay their expenses

Some Tories are yet to repay their expenses
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Bad news for David Cameron in the Standard this afternoon – several Tories have not made expenses repayments that were agreed seven months ago. After yesterday’s success, the last thing Cameron needed was a question over the effectiveness of his Scrutiny Panel, established to go “beyond the letter of the rules”, which he deemed too lenient to placate public anger.

Bill Cash is the major culprit exposed by the Standard. He agreed to repay £15,000 for an unacceptable rent/mortgage arrangement, but Commons records disclose that he has only repaid the £429 he claimed on an antique desk.

Although the non-compliance of Tory MPs is a problem for Cameron, this isn’t merely a story of rapacious Tory MPs. At the Scrutiny Panel's behest, David Willetts repaid the £135 he claimed for changing a light bulb, but Sir Thomas Legg’s audit deemed that this claim was not in breach of parliamentary rules and deducted £135 from another bill Willetts owed. Once again, Legg’s ad hoc approach has worsened the situation; this saga of light bulbs and flower pots drags on and the public’s ire continues unabated.