mark thomas - who I dont always agree with, but his intentions always seem well founded - has been taking it to The Man again -
'How many constituents feel that their MP is simply not up to the job unless they have a chandelier? And now Elliot Morley has claimed £16,000 for a mortgage that had already been repaid and he didn't notice. What planet do you live on when you don't notice £800 turning up in your bank account each month? Quite clearly, the rules have been broken.
Quite simply, none of us one of us could get away it. When benefit cheats get caught working and signing on, they get punished. They don't form a committee made up of other benefit claimants to debate how they might make new rules to prevent themselves from doing it again. They certainly don't appear on BBC News barking that "they work extremely hard and made a simple mistake."
Nor can an exposed tax dodger offer to pay back money because they are "concerned about how it looks to the outside world", and then walk away with no repercussion.
It is unfair, unjust and profoundly undemocratic. Which is why lawyers acting on my behalf have served legal papers on Speaker Martin this morning. As the chair for the House of Commons Commission, he should take urgent steps to commence a review of the department's actions in dealing with MPs' applications for expenses. These should include an independent audit of expenses and the forced repayment of wrongly claimed expenses; and in cases of fraudulent claims, the police should be called in. Speaker Martin has 14 days to respond. If he does not, I will instigate a judicial review of Speaker Martin's decision, on the legal grounds that public law should be consistent. MPs should not be allowed to be above the law and what is good enough for us is good enough for them.
I'll keep you posted on how I get on.'
this is going to be good...