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Cheers - AE

Friday, 30 October 2009

Another one gets away with it.

Tony McNumpty McNulty, a man so egregious that I once felt 'cunt' wasn't strong enough, gets to keep the money he raked off as well.
The former Home Office minister was criticised by a formal inquiry for allowing his parents to live rent free at taxpayers' expense and ordered to repay more than £13,000.
But the Parliamentary committee, who decide MPs' punishments ruled he should be allowed to keep the majority of the money claimed on the home. The official investigation said it was "reasonable" for the taxpayer to help fund Mr McNulty's parents' house as it was in his constituency and could be designated as his second home.
Yet Mr McNulty himself admitted he only stayed there for a maximum of 66 nights a year. He spent the rest of the time at the nearby £900,000 house he shares with his wife Christine Gilbert, the head of Ofsted.
If you've got a very expensive monitor for Christ's sake do not play this clip:

Oh, you just appeared to benefit did you, Tony? So can you explain in what sense you did not actually benefit by getting the taxpayer to cough up sixty large ones towards a house occupied by your parents?
The report, published by the Standards and Privileges committee, comes just weeks after Jacqui Smith, the former Home Secretary, was only mildly rebuked despite being found to have broken the rules by claiming more than £100,000 after designating her family's house as her "second home". It will lead to more questions about whether MPs should decide on punishments over expense claims made by their colleagues.
Fucking hell! After all the fuss, fury and fallout six months back is this going to be the pattern? Slaps on wrists, token repayments and weasel worded apologies? Is anyone actually going to be told to pay back the lot and, since returning all that he stole wouldn't get a burglar off scot free, are any of the bastards actually going to be punished for it? I wish I could believe it but it doesn't look likely. And we were told that some MPs were suicidal? I think maybe what someone thought were wails of despair were actually howls of laughter.

UPDATE: Elsewhere in The Telegraph:
The report from the Commons Committee on Standards and Privileges into Tony McNulty exemplifies everything that was rotten with the now-discredited system of parliamentary allowances. It also casts serious doubt on whether MPs have even begun to understand what it was about the system that caused such anger.
McNulty ... claimed the additional costs allowance (ACA) for a second home occupied by his parents in Harrow. Over a period of several years, he was paid around £72,000 to cover the costs of mortgage interest, council tax and other bills.
The question of whether Mr McNulty claimed taxpayers' money to subsidise his parents would be a matter for the police, if there were some grounds for suspicion of fraud. Yet the morality of his actions does not appear to have troubled the standards committee at all. Even though his parents were living in the house, the committee accepted that Mr McNulty stayed there occasionally, thereby legitimising his claim.
On a couple of occasions where work has taken me away from home I've stayed at my mum's rather than a hotel. Did I miss a trick there? Should I have sent my then employers a bill for mum's mortgage, utilities and council tax? Would the fact that they'd have taken little time to think about it before telling me to fuck off make me less of a cunt for trying it on?
However, the ACA was supposed to reimburse MPs for expenses "wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred when staying overnight away from their main UK residence... for the purpose of performing parliamentary duties". Since Mr McNulty chose to live just outside his constituency, it is hard to comprehend how John Lyon, the standards commissioner, managed to conclude it was "necessary" and "reasonable" for him to have a second home just a few miles away. Why did Mr McNulty not live in his constituency, and save the taxpayer £72,000?
Why did he not just flush himself down his own toilet and save us a lot more?
The committee also said that since he did not claim his full second-home "entitlement", there was no loss to the taxpayer. Oh, but there was. The expense of running a second home was incurred only because Mr McNulty did not live in his constituency, which is just a 30-minute train journey from Westminster. That was his decision; why should the rest of us pay for it and put a roof over his parents' heads as well? This point was lost on the committee, made up of MPs who presumably thought it unexceptionable.
I think there's has been a misunderstanding about the concept of a jury of one's peers: thieves should not have their fates decided by fellow thieves, and likewise MPs accused of exaggerated or fraudulent expenses claims sure as fuck shouldn't be able to rely on their honourable or otherwise friends in Parliament to smooth things over.
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