There is a range of different ways of making money out of parliamentary expenses – and our politicians have milked them all.
Many of the recent revelations in the expenses scandal are centred around claims relating to housing.
Shahid Malik, the justice minister, resigned last week pending an inquiry into the unusually low level of rent he was paying to a landlord in his constituency in West Yorkshire while claiming £66,000 in allowances for his London home.
Elliot Morley, a senior backbencher, was stripped of the Labour whip after “forgetting” that he had paid off his mortgage and improperly claimed more than £16,000.
David Chaytor, a backbencher, was suspended from the parliamentary Labour party after admitting an “unforgivable error” in claiming £13,000 for a mortgage he had already repaid.
Most people are outraged at the extravagance of many of the claims – such as those of Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman who claimed £1,851 for a rug imported from a New York antiques centre and had tried to claim £8,865 for a plasma TV.
But to claim expenses for mortgages that don’t exist takes corruption to a new low. Continue reading