Apparently there is a Code of Conduct for MPs. The first principle is: Selflessness.
"Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends."
All I can say is that our MP's must have good accountants, or perhaps not so good in some cases.
I help out with some pensioners council tax claims, and its a pure headache dealing with 'caring' council's and the hold on the purse strings. Try to claim to much, and they will prosecute, claim to little and its either silence or " you are entitled!".
Surely all expense claims should be vetted before payment, and if they are and mistakes are still getting through them someone else as well as the MPs should be on the carpet. Also, are these accounts not audited, is so why does this not pick up the alleged errors. Seems to me that accountability is non existent and it is a free for all.
... but it all keeps boiling down to the same response 'it was done within the rules' but naive as it is, I still feel that public representatives, at this high a level, have a duty to lead by example, and whilst it is clear to all that the rules are so wide open to profiteering, it is very easy to 'justify' on technicalities, it also seems clear to me that there should be a moral issue here.
All of these ministers are highly intelligent people (At least I hope so, for our sake) and they will all have a thorough understanding of the basic purpose of these expenses, and for them all to be constantly falling back on the the argument of 'it was within the rules' only goes to show to me, that they cannot justify this exorbitant spending any other way as being within the intended purpose of the expense system.
I must admit to never having had huge respect in the integrity of many of our MPs, just down to their inherent lack of general honesty, but for me this has put them in a whole new light, again, probably rather naive of me, but I now have absolutely zero respect owing to their inherent lack of specific honesty with regard to expenses.
Their hypocrisy is stupendous in preaching the cause against benefit thieves etc, many of whom probably 'twist' the benefit system loopholes in much the same way as our much respected MPs make use of the blancmange like flexibilty of the MP allowance system.
Whether they are within the rules or not, I feel many of them are a disgrace simply for choosing to use them in the way that they have.
I am waiting with baited breath for the first MP to provide medical evidence of his/her proven physical lack of moral fibre and a malformed public duty gland which caused their decisions.