Peter Hoskin

The worst so far?

The worst so far?
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Day six in the Telegraph's investigation of MPs' expenses, and the latest revelations are perhaps the most outrageous so far.  Exhibit A: the Labour MP Elliot Morley, who claimed £16,000 for interest payments on, erm, a mortgage that had been paid off 18 months previously.  Other allegations include: Fabian Hamilton declaring his mother's house in London as his main residence, while hoovering up taxpayers' cash for his family home in Leeds; and John Maples claiming that a London club was his main residence. 

In response, Morley has said that he repaid the money after seeing his dubious receipts two weeks ago.  And I expect that others will follow suit.  But will that be enough?  So far, the familiar refrain has been that the expense claims have been within the letter - if not the spirit - of the discredited rules system.  Yet we seem to be getting closer and closer to claims that are right in neither spirit nor letter.  Mark this: the words "criminal offence" are now getting bandied around...