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Old 05-27-2009, 09:07 AM
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British MP Scandals!

One UK lawmaker earns $93,100 USD per year, yet can't pay for a $15 USD bag of fertilizer out of his own pocket?!

We need this kind of accounting in the U.S. We, the public taxpayers, should have the right to know what our lawmakers are spending OUR money on!

Porn and cookies: UK lawmakers odd expenses claims

By DAVID STRINGER, Associated Press Writer David Stringer, Associated Press Writer – Fri May 8, 2009 9:52 am ET

LONDON – Porn movies. Horse manure. A chocolate Santa Claus. Expense claims by British lawmakers to pay for an array of items were exposed by a newspaper Friday, stoking public anger over lawmaker excess amid the global recession.

Britain's Daily Telegraph published details of claims related to 13 ministers and offered examples of hundreds of other bills submitted by lawmakers to Parliamentary authorities.

The documents revealed how some lawmakers used lax regulations to accumulate hefty bills to pay for housing taxes and costs of furnishing homes, while others claimed for trivial amounts — including a packet of ginger snaps worth about $1, two cans of cat food and an ice cube tray.

One lawmaker claimed the cost of servicing the swimming pool of his country home, while another paid for a hunter to catch moles who'd invaded his garden, according to the newspaper.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown — then Britain's treasury chief — paid his brother Andrew 6,500 pounds ($9,800) for cleaning services between 2004 and 2006. Brown's office said the leader's brother had handled payments for a cleaner the two men shared.

Figures released to Parliament show that the 646 House of Commons legislators claimed 93 million pounds ($134 million) in allowances and expenses last year.

Under Parliament's rules, legislators can claim expenses for a second home and expenses incurred when staying away overnight from their main home. They can claim rent, for example, or mortgage payments and furnishings, such as drapes, carpets and electrical goods.

The price for such furnishings were colloquially known as the "John Lewis list," named after an upscale British department store chain. The list is being axed under reforms of the system currently under discussion.

Lawmakers had long refused to offer receipt by receipt breakdowns of their claims for public money, until a ruling under freedom of information laws ordered them to make the details known.

About 2 million receipts for claims by legislators will be published in July under the ruling, but the
newspaper said Friday it had obtained the material ahead of its planned release.

Members of the public complain the expenses system is too generous, isn't independently audited and follows rules drafted by the lawmakers themselves.

"There can be no greater proof of the need for urgent and wholesale reform of MPs' expenses than the fact that so many people at the top of government have been making such dubious claims," said Matthew Elliott of the lobby group the TaxPayers' Alliance.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw claimed the cost of housing taxes he'd never actually paid — though later reimbursed authorities. In a handwritten note explaining his mistake, Straw wrote that "accountancy does not appear to be my strongest suit."

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham urged authorities to speed up an expenses payment. He told Parliament's fees office "he might be in line for a divorce" if he didn't receive the money quickly.

"The system doesn't work," Brown told the BBC. "I've said it doesn't work, it's got to be changed."

Britain's prime minister makes about 189,000 pounds a year ($285,000), while most lawmakers make about 61,000 pounds (about $93,100.) By comparison, U.S. legislators in Washington earn a base salary of $174,000.

A key concern for critics of the system is how lawmakers routinely switched the house they called their primary residence. Those changes meant they could claim second home allowances — like the costs of furniture, decorating and repairs — on several different properties.

Other bills show how lawmakers were prepared to claim even small amounts, including a carrier bag that cost 5p ($0.07), a chocolate Santa Claus-shaped snack priced at 59p (Eighty-eight cents) and a tape measure costing 43 pence ($0.64). One particularly wealthy Tory MP charged 10 pounds ($15) for a bag of manure for his country retreat.

In March, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith acknowledged she'd claimed the costs of two pay-per-view porn movies watched by her husband. Smith said she later repaid the money.

"The rules are being stretched to the absolute limit in a way which is allowing MPs to enhance their personal income," said Alistair Graham, who was in charge of standards in Britain's Parliament until 2007.

The Telegraph declined to say whether it had paid to obtain details of the expense claims, or specify how it received the information.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090508/...maker_expenses



Living good on the taxpayer nickle while everyone else struggles to pay their bills and keep a roof over their head. Changes need to be made or it's time to clean house. Where is the accountability for their actions?

Justice Secretary Jack Straw should be charged with a crime just like anyone else would have been had they done what he did!




Printed in USA Today, 5/13/09, page 8A:

"British Lawmakers' expenses under fire.
"Britain's primary opposition leader banned members of his party from filing expense claims for food and household items amid public outrage for reimbursements on items such as swimming pool construction and tennis court upkeep.

"Conservative David Cameron said his party's lawmakers would reimburse expenses, such as chandeliers, sleigh beds and manure, though they were technically allowed under the complicated system for claiming household costs. Details were published in Britain's Daily Telegraph. The ruling Labor Party members have also claimed cat food, eyeliner and cookies. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged to reform the system."



Printed in The Daily Telegraph, 5/14/09:

Elliot Morley suspended from Labour Party over MPs' expenses

Elliot Morley, the Labour MP and former minister, has been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party after claiming expenses for a mortgage that did not exist.

See complete article here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...-expenses.html



Next article in The Daily Telegraph, 5/14/09:

Andrew Mackay resigns over 'unacceptable' claims: MPs' expenses

Andrew Mackay has resigned as Conservative leader David Cameron's Commons aide over "unacceptable" expenses claims.

Read full article here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...-expenses.html


It appears the commoner has been fed up with these rascals abusing their positions and are finally making their voices heard.

WHY CAN'T WE DO THIS IN THE U.S.? If none hold them accountable for the small things, none will hold them accountable for the big things, and they will continue to get away with it.



13 May 2009 Labour MP's 41,000 payback

Junior health minister Phil Hope has announced he intends to repay almost 41,709 in expenses to restore his credibility among his constituents.

The Corby MP said he had not broken any rules with the claims for household furnishings for his London home but the outcry had made he and his wife to decide they must repay all the money to restore their credibility with voters.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8047598.stm



14 May 2009 MP joins calls for Speaker to go

Liberal Democrats Home Affairs spokesman Chris Huhne has joined the calls for Commons Speaker Michael Martin to step down from his post.

Read full article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8051161.stm



15 May 2009 Expense row minister steps down

Labour MP Shahid Malik has stepped down as justice minister pending an inquiry into claims about his expenses made in the Daily Telegraph.

Read full article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8051091.stm



15 May 2009 Calls to prosecute expenses MPs

There are growing calls for a police investigation into some of the MPs' expense claims revealed by the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The TaxPayers' Alliance has complained to police about former minister Elliot Morley, who claimed 16,000 for a mortgage he had already paid off.

Full article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8051601.stm



Watch the lawmakers take the heat (and the gaul of Margret Beckett!)



British lawmaker caught ...being honest!


British expense scandal ousts lower house speaker

By JENNIFER QUINN, Associated Press Writer Jennifer Quinn, Associated Press Writer – Tue May 19, 4:31 pm ET

LONDON – For the first time in three centuries, the speaker of the House of Commons has resigned — the biggest casualty in a widening scandal in which lawmakers expensed such things as installing a chandelier or cleaning a moat at a country home.

Michael Martin took just 30 seconds Tuesday to break with centuries of convention, announcing that in the interest of maintaining unity in Parliament's lower house, he would leave his prestigious post by June 21.

"That is all I have to say on this matter," Martin said softly in his Scottish accent, swiftly calling the house to order and moving on to other business.

Entire article here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090519/...kers__expenses



20 May 2009 Expenses reform 'to boost trust'

Commons leader Harriet Harman has set out changes to MPs' expenses she says will put Parliament "above reproach".

Moving from self to external regulation was necessary for "reparation and for reassurance" following the outcry over leaked expenses revelations, she said.

Full article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8058736.stm


"When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people there is liberty."
~Thomas Jefferson

That is applicable to any nation.


May 20, 2009 UK House of Lords suspends 2 over corruption claims

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Britain's House of Lords voted Wednesday to suspend two of its members over corruption claims -- the first time a lord has been barred from the chamber since 1642, a spokesman for the chamber said.

Lord Taylor of Blackburn and Lord Truscott allegedly agreed to use their influence to get a loophole into a proposed tax law in exchange for cash, but the person offering the bribe turned out to be an undercover reporter.

Full article here: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe...ds.suspension/



25 May 2009 Ministers 'in tax advice claims'

Alistair Darling is among nine cabinet members who used 11,000 of taxpayers' money to pay for personal accountancy advice, the Daily Telegraph has said.

It says he, Jacqui Smith, Hazel Blears, David Miliband, James Purnell, Douglas Alexander, Geoff Hoon and Hilary Benn claimed for tax return processing.

Full article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8066452.stm



Though I am not a British citizen, I think this abuse of the trust is disgusting. Just because it is within rules does not make it right or just.

Now, shall we do the same here in the states? Me thinks we could use a good house cleaning...

Last edited by Allen Farlow; 05-27-2009 at 09:14 AM.
 
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Old 05-27-2009, 01:19 PM
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America has it's issues with bad politicians just like Britain does.

So, Allen help me understand why you are posting these articles that I can go to google news and read? Daily.
 
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Old 05-27-2009, 01:53 PM
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Corneo, yes we certainly do have issues with bad politicians and we just can't seem to bring their crimes into the light of day.

You don't understand why I'm posting these? Well, I created a new thread about the British MP scandal, which you managed to find, obviously, and the articles are about the British MP scandal.

So you can read them on Google News. Fine. But others might not think to do that, so I''m making them aware of what's happening in Britain. They may chose to read it or chose not to, just as you are free to do.

Or in other words, to spell it out for you, it's Information Dissemination.

To your understanding,

Allen
 
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:06 PM
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I'm asking because I can't find the relationship between the internet world (which this site is about) and "British MP scandal". I can see where politics play a part in the internet world as far as relating to internet laws but I fail to see where "British MP scandal" affect the internet or the people who use it.

That's why I was asking.
 
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corneo View Post
I'm asking because I can't find the relationship between the internet world (which this site is about) and "British MP scandal". I can see where politics play a part in the internet world as far as relating to internet laws but I fail to see where "British MP scandal" affect the internet or the people who use it.

That's why I was asking.
corneo? What the heck are you going on about? The politics forum is a subforum of our lobby, which means it doesn't have to be related to the net. We expect it to be off topic.

The topic has been introduced for discussion. If you don't want to discuss it, ignore it.
 
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:14 PM
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Ha ha, nice try.

The British MP scandals are political, this is the political section of this forum.

Anything else you don't understand?
 
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Old 05-27-2009, 03:48 PM
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Apology to corneo

Hey corneo! Please accept my sincere apology if I came across as slapping your fingers in the forum. That was absolutely not my intent. I meant to come across in a teasing manner, not in a moderating manner. You are a valued member in this community, and I want to make certain that you know that.
 
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Old 05-27-2009, 04:41 PM
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Now let's get back to the topic, which was . . .

Quote:
Though I am not a British citizen, I think this abuse of the trust is disgusting. Just because it is within rules does not make it right or just. Now, shall we do the same here in the states? Me thinks we could use a good house cleaning...
 
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:06 AM
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Well the government is teetering on the verge of collapse. The results of the Local by elections and the European Parliamentary elections held yesterday will be interesting.

A number of Ministers have resigned over the last few days, calling for the Prime Minister to step down in their resignation letters. The economic crisis, the scandal over the MP's expenses, the resignations and now what seems to be poor election results may be too much for Gordon Brown. He may be forced into declaring a general election sooner than later. There has to be one anyway by June next year.

The government has lost a great deal of moral authority I feel over the expenses scandal. In fact I would say all politicians are now seen as being on the make. Of course this isn't true, but clearly a large number have been shown to be at least using the rules to their financial advantage at the tax payer's expense. Which is unacceptable.
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