Sunday 17 May 2009

The Scroungers!!!!!!

For months now, rumours have be circulating Westminster that the Pigs, sorry MP’s, have been worried that the public will find out exactly how much they have slurped up out of the trough.

Some of the material was due to be published in July under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, but crucial details, including the addresses of MPs’ second homes, were to be deleted, ensuring that some of the worst abuses of the system would remain hidden from public view.

Mr Brown learnt that several ministers, including Alistair Darling, Geoff Hoon and Hazel Blears, had kitted out more than one house at taxpayers’ expense by switching their designated second home from London to their constituency – a process which everyone now knows as “flipping” after the Telegraph coined the term the next day.

Mr Hoon, the Transport Secretary, had built up a £1.7 million property empire with the help of public money; Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, had billed the taxpayer for almost £10,000 in stamp duty and other costs for buying a new home before he “flipped” his address, and Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, had avoided paying £13,000 in capital gains tax when she sold her “second” home by telling the taxman it was, in fact, her main residence.

Others faced accusations of sheer greed: Margaret Beckett, the Housing Minister, spent £72,500 on her constituency home in four years, despite having no mortgage. She had even tried to claim £600 for hanging baskets and pot plants. Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, put in bills for £3,000 of work on his Hartlepool home after he announced he was quitting as an MP. David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, had been asked by his own gardener if all the work he was doing was really necessary.

John Prescott proved a headline writer’s dream yet again by claiming back the cost of having broken lavatory seats repaired twice in the space of two years, and submitting a bill for £312 to supply and fit three mock Tudor beams to a gable on the front of his house. It also turned out that the former deputy prime minister, who has admitted suffering from bulimia, claimed the maximum possible amount for food – £4,800 per year.

Harriet Harman, the Leader of the House, who, as a London MP, was unable to claim a second homes allowance and hence was one of the only Cabinet ministers not directly caught up in the scandal, was despatched to a BBC studio to carry out damage limitation. She found herself being harangued on Newsnight about why one MP had claimed back the 5p cost of a carrier bag. It was, she insisted, “all within the rules” – a familiar refrain in the days to come which did nothing but infuriate taxpayers whose money had been converted into everything from plasma screen TVs to glittery lavatory seats.

Not only were MPs claiming public money for such fripperies as home cinema systems, antique rugs, silk cushions and ride-on mower servicing, some were guilty of dreaming up scams which in some cases netted them tens of thousands of pounds. As well as the numerous MPs who were guilty of “flipping” their homes, others had climbed the property ladder by buying and selling houses which they renovated at the taxpayers’ expense, or of furnishing two houses by claiming items for their “second” home but having it delivered to their first. Some went on shopping sprees in March, the last month of the financial year, to “use up” any allowances they had not yet claimed, and many claimed their main family home as their “second” home to recoup the cost of expensive mortgage interest payments and household bills, while telling Parliament their “main” home was a poky flat or rented bedroom.

Even Gordon Brown himself had “flipped” his address from his London flat to his Scottish constituency house when he took up residence in Downing Street, enabling him to continue claiming expenses.

Barbara Follett, the Tourism Minister and wife of the multi-millionaire author Ken Follett, had claimed £25,000 for security patrols outside her London home, saying she didn’t feel safe in the capital of the country she is supposed to promote to the world. Phil Hope, the Care Minister, claimed £37,000 for refurbishing and furnishing a tiny flat; Phil Woolas, the Immigration Minister, was paid for women’s clothing and tampons, and the former minister Keith Vaz spent £75,000 on a central London flat despite living with his family 12 miles away.

Meanwhile, Margaret Moran, the Labour MP for Luton South, was exposed as the Queen of the “flippers” after she claimed money on three homes, including a house 100 miles from her constituency which she nominated as her second home days before claiming £22,500 to treat dry rot. The Telegraph also published extracts of begging letters from MPs whose claims had been questioned by the fees office. Sir Gerald Kaufman claimed he needed thousands for a new kitchen because he was “living in a slum” (his flat is just off Regent’s Park); Kitty Ussher, the Work and Pensions Minister, asked if she could bill the taxpayer for having her swirly Artex ceilings replastered because they didn’t suit her “taste”, and Shahid Malik, the Justice Minister, suggested it was “natural justice” that he should be reimbursed for a £2,100 television because he said no one had told him there was a limit on what he could spend.

Back in Parliament, MPs who had shunned the gravy train over the years were sickened at the behaviour of their colleagues. Kelvin Hopkins, the Labour MP for Luton North who lives in the same street as Margaret Moran but claimed just £296 in accommodation expenses in one year, said he was “astonished” at what had been going on, adding: “I frankly didn’t know that all those things were possible within the rules. I’ve never had a second home so I didn’t know you could switch them.”

Sinn Fein’s five MPs, who have claimed £500,000 for second homes despite refusing to take up their seats in parliament. All five, including Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, rented the same three London properties from the same family at rates well above the market norm.

Now it’s the turn of the Tories and some of the claims were even fucking worse then the Socialist fuckers.

Douglas Hogg’s £2,200 claim for having his moat cleared at his mansion in Lincolnshire (he also claimed for his housekeeper and for having his piano tuned) and Michael Ancram’s £98.58 claim for having his swimming pool heater repaired (despite having a personal fortune of more than £8 million).

Sir Michael Spicer claimed for maintenance of a “helipad”, though he said this referred to a family joke, and for the installation of a chandelier; Oliver Letwin claimed £2,000 to replace a leaky pipe under his tennis court, Alan Duncan claimed more than £4,000 in gardening bills, including having his ride-on mower serviced; and David Heathcoat-Amory dumped the cost of 550 bags of horse manure on the taxpayer.

We also learned that the fucker David Willetts charged the taxpayer £135 to have a workman replace 25 bulbs in his house, while Cheryl Gillan claimed £4.47 for dog food and David Davis charged £5,700 for a portico. Michael Gove, meanwhile, had spent £7,000 on furniture before “flipping” his address.

By 3.30pm Mr Cameron was live on TV, saying he was “sorry” and announcing that his front bench team would be repaying the money they had claimed for furniture, gardens and fripperies. Anyone who refused would be finished as a Tory MP, he said. Even Mr Cameron himself would be repaying a £680 bill for having wisteria cleared from his chimney.

Before long, Labour’s refusal to admit any wrongdoing began to crumble, with Hazel Blears brandishing a cheque for £13,332, made payable to HM Revenue & Customs in lieu of the capital gains tax she should have paid when she sold her second home, and Margaret Moran announcing she would pay back the £22,500 dry rot money in full.

The fuckers were then queuing up to pay money back, most notably Phil Hope, who appeared close to tears as he announced he was going to return £41,709 for furniture he had crammed into his tiny London flat. Others hastily repaid money before the Telegraph had a chance to “out” them, including Ronnie Campbell, the Labour MP for Blyth Valley, who repaid £6,000 of expenses used to buy furniture.

Then it was the turn of the Liberal Democrat fuckers

Nick Clegg, who claimed the maximum possible second homes allowance, repaid £80 for foreign phone calls; Chris Huhne repaid £119 for a Corby trouser press; and Sir Menzies Campbell handed back £1,400 he had paid to an interior designer who was also a family friend.

The most astounding claims then started to emerge

Elliot Morley, the former agriculture minister, had claimed £16,000 for a mortgage that no longer existed. Mr Brown withdrew the whip from Mr Morley.

Andrew Mackay, one of David Cameron’s most senior advisers, resigned his position after admitting he and his wife, the MP Julie Kirkbride, had made expenses claims on two homes at the same time.

Shahid Malik, the Justice Minister, who claimed £66,000 on his second home while renting a constituency home for well below the market rate from a landlord with a criminal record.

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