back to article Plod called in on MPs' expenses leak

Police have been called in to investigate the apparent presence of a mole in the Parliamentary fees office. The Daily Telegraph today ran a series of stories exposing ministers' expenses claims, after it obtained the data from a confidential source. A middle man has reportedly been shopping a CD containing fees office records …

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Anonymous Coward

reasonable grounds to believe a criminal offence may have been committed

Too right there is, but they should be cuffing the pig politicians not looking for the person that shopped them.

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Ironic, no?

The government who invented the controlled leak are going to prosecute? Better tape up the windows in the glass-house.

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Great Analogy!

Whack-a-Mole is the perfect analogy for UK.Gov's data leak protection procedures... I'll be using that!

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Anonymous Coward

Fair Enough

When you're caught with your hands in the till, it's normal to try and get at the person who reported you.

If the guy is caught, we should set up a fund for him - it's been a great service getting the "unedited" records containing location information (i.e. so we can see that people moved 3 times in a year to milk the system).

I think expense records should be published in the halls where we go to vote so we can see who's been milking the system. We need to kick out these MPs.

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Flame

Yes...

...how dare somebody reveal information detailing how our money is spent! And what on earth does this person think they're doing, distracting the press from more important matters like Pig/Bird/* flu or the Apprentice...

Doesn't it just sicken you to your very stomach? Treasonous I say. Heads must roll.

Perhaps this "free press" is once again getting a little bit too free. Maybe it's time to reign them in.

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M
Happy

Oh dear, yet another fail

Instead of dealing with the problems, let's obfuscate matters and disembowel the messengers!

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As they keep telling us

If you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear.

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Flame

Well fancy that

Politcians pass the Freedom of Information Act.

Politicians decide it doesn't apply to them. High Court says they don't understand the Act of Parliament they passed.

Politicians then decide they need time to "review their claims" (i.e. actions that your & my employer would reward via form P45).

Newspaper publishes the unsanitised version of the claims.

Politicians decide the appropriate action is to call in Plod.

You couldn't make it up.

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So let me get this straight...

Our MPs have been basically fiddling expenses for years, by making claims that are right on the edge of what is acceptable and justifying it with the now very tired phrase "I was totally within my rights".

We pay for these people to sit on their arses - thats when they bother turning up at Westminster which given the TV footage of the commons would seem be once in a blue moon.

Then, when someone tells the people who are paying these trough snufflers just what they've been spending our money on, its apparently a crime.

If I was the person who did the leak I'd demand a trial by jury... can't see them finding 12 people who would agree that the leak was not in the public interest and it certainly isn't a matter of national security.

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Silver badge

Funny Handshakes all round?

If the Police have any sense they will decline the Offer as I'm sure the nation is wondering why they are not investigating MPs for fraud and theft of public funds.

And it will be interesting to compare what is officially revealed with what is privately known to find out the really incriminating evidence.

And why don't they call Crooks, Crooks, any more, whenever it is so evident by Rules known by All.

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Dead Vulture

Of course they have been...

The person responsible for the leak will be done for inciting violence towards politicians.

As for the Gordon Brown's statement, "it's the system that's at fault, we didn't do anything wrong". What a load of bollox. It's the politician's version of "She was all tarted up, so it wasn't rape".

Bring on the vaudevillian vigilante in a Guy Fawkes mask with a penchant for alliteration.

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I'll say offences have been committed

By the MPs! This is just an attempt to hunt down and crush the person who stood up for what was right.

All these MPs found to have fiddled their expenses should be summarily dismissed.

And as for thsoe who said "it was within the rules", it's high time those rules were changed!

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Investigate the mole?

Nope, they should investigate the MP's for fraud.

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Black Helicopters

Do No Evil

Heheh, so you can't trust civil servants at the heart of the UK guvmint not to sell the data they have under their control.

I wonder when some enterprising Google employee will start looking for buyers for some user-identifiable browsing/searching/viewing data.

It's gotta be when, not if, donchafink?

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of course

The ministers named in today's expenses stories have all denied wrongdoing. ®

Of course you do.

It's your god given prerogative to f#*k the taxpayer!!

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Bronze badge

Instead of wasting money finding the leak

why not deal with the problem of dodgy expenses claims?

Nice try to distract us but I'm not biting!

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"believe a criminal offence may have been committed..."

"... in relation to the way in which information relating to Members' allowances has been handled"

And how about the way that Members have stuck their snouts in the public trough?

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Anonymous Coward

Just a thought

So they've been found out and are trying to make it look as if it's them who are the victims,

Apart from that as far as I understand it Waqui Jaqui is under investigation for, or at the very least suspected of, fiddling her expenses. Is this an insider parliamentary whitewash type of investigation or have the police been called in? If it's the latter does anybody know if a sample of her DNA has been placed on the DNA database?

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Alien

Labour are a bunch of......

CROOKS. See Baroness Uddin also ripped off taxpayers. www.baronessuddin.co.uk

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Oh good.

So...something embarrising happens and the police are called in? The police force is becoming increasingly politicised (sp?)...how long before the country ends up like that in the Gred Mandell novels.....

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Happy

Pre-emptive Freedom of Information

Ah, that's is absolute prime time entertainment. The timing is excellent - they won't be able to get a sensible reply in before Monday, so that's a solid weekend of exposure. Yum..

Whitehall has been as leaky as the proverbial sieve when it suited them, but when it's NOT "a good day to bury bad news" (to quote but one of the many examples) all of a sudden everybody is up in arms (especially because it exposes what appears to be rather systematic abuse) and the Information Commissioner is called in - that poor man who is not allowed to bark unless Whitehall agrees with it.

I think we can rightfully call this simply a pre-emptive Freedom of Information exercise - this is data that should have been public anyway. Let me try this oft-used phrase:

Surely, they don't have anything to hide?

Hahahaha..

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Linux

Oh Dear.....

I am sure. That the majority of the UK including myself would commend the person who gave this informaiton to the press. This type of information should have been public anyway. They use our money to buy items. We should have a right to contest the purchases.

MP's (Major Pricks) are using this person as a scape goat because we do not trust them to run this country anymore. They are milking us out of everything we hae when us Joe Public have to scrimp and scrape to have enough money to pay for food. They can live a lavish lifestyle of free porn and free bathplugs.

He should not be charged with releasing public natured information. This is what we inveted the internet for?

Next time they will be on WikiLeaks.

Join the Anti-Waqui Jaqui Group

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=78316223575&ref=nf

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Anonymous Coward

Of course the data has been mishandled

Should have been published on the net years ago.

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Black Helicopters

The only criminals here

are the 600+ residents of the palace of westminster

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Black Helicopters

If you have nothing to hide...

then, MPs, you have nothing to fear. Prove your innocence, open up your expenses to indepedent review.

No? Ha! thought not.

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@anonymous John

"If you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear."

Bravo, sir. Superbly put.

Hilary Benn will come out of this as Labour Leader. In opposition, granted, but leader nonetheless.

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In serious need

The UK is in serious need of a law that protects whistleblowers. Oh, there is one, but for some arcane reason it doesn't seem to apply to whistleblowers who embarrass the government (especially the labour government). Think Dr David Kelly, the leaks to Damian Green, and now this whole "pigs nose in the trough" expenses affair.

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Anonymous Coward

@ AC 20:48

IIRC, wistleblowing legislation used to have a public interest clause, but that didn't last long under Bliar.

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Coat

All this wouldn't have happened if onlly

we all had id cards... Geddit?

Mine's the one loaded with RFID tags...

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Hazzah!

Who maintains the MPs 'leisure-time' records?

- Madame lash

- Nazi dungeon girls

- School-days and S&M club

They're all pervs!

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Could somebody please?

The way that politicians get away with gouging the public is by hiding behind titles (Minister of Fiddles) or by articles like this that will not name them. Can someone please list the names and electorates of these miscreants?

It all down to you evil bandits who believe in and support democracy. I just wish it was only you they stole from.

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N

And what about

The lying, thieving, deceitful pack of toe rags otherwise known as government?

They are the ones who need investigating

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These expenses

might be enforceable in a court of law but it's not acceptable in the court of public opinion. No hold on that can't be right...

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Jobs Horns

Until I read the word.....

"Leak" I was thinking "excellent theyre going to prosecute these thieving Ministers" but then the word "leak" entered my vision . They are guilty of immoral earnings.

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Ian
Flame

Expenses

I used to work as a civil servant.

Everything claimed on expenses had to be receipted. All goods bought on monies claimed) belonged to to the department.

Similar rules exist in my current job.

Jaqui Smith, staying in london AT HER SISTERS HOUSE, claiming her sisters house is her primary residence and then claiming expenses money for her own home in Redditch area is breaking the personal gain condition. Arguably, she is stealing from the taxpayer, whatever, even if it is within the rules, it is immoral.

The Average salary in the UK is approximately £22,000. The cabinet minister claiming £100,000 over 4 years for mortgage interest... £3000 more than the average wage is sickening, though, it would be equally sickening if it were £10. The personal gain condition is broken again.

I work away from mt primary home. I am renting in the town where i work. When I finish this job, if i finish this job i will hand back the keys. The monies claimed will go to the land lord and receipts go to the company. I do not gain. I paid for my own TV, My apartment is furnished. No need to spend money there, and, i will not be trying to claim for my TV.

The MPs are in the jobs for 5 years at a time, possibly extended each general election. There is no need for them to BUY accommodation, renting is more than good enough. If they want entertainment systems, that is their choice... buy a TV set..... Or rent from Granada (or whoever) and hand it back when they are voted out.

These people are public servants who volunteer for a highly paid job. They have no need to claim luxuries against the public purse.

Travel should be on the same terms as Civil servants, second class, unless there is an exceptional reason to travel first class.

Cloting for duties can be justified, if i buy a set of overalls, i want to be reimbursed.

The robbing swine we have as politicians make me sick, all colours of politics....

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Go

Get real

1 - UK politicians have been milking the public purse for as long as there has been (a) a public purse to milk and (b) politicians to milk it.

It is not a Labour thang but hapless Labour politicians have jumped on the bandwagon.

Rest assured that if the Tories were elected tomorrow the first thing they'd do is evict people from government accommodation and set in their own harvesting machine (they set more of it up and it tends to form Tory unwritten manifesto: support your leader and the sun will shine brightly upon you and your bank balance).

2 - 2nd homes. These are enshrined in almost all aspects of (un)civil servantry. If one is asked to take on a post at so-and-so then rest assured there will be funds made available to ease the transition.

Also: we'd like you to take on a post at acting level of income considerably above your present level. You will be in place for two years before your retirement (bump up the final salary pension before retiring on an unadvertised post in an "acting" capacity.

3 - however bad it might seem what our MPs are doing (and it is very, very, very bad) rest assured that (un)civil servantry is doing far worse based on a practice and unofficial policy of "harvesting" along with "evasive accountability".

Notice the great reluctance for open accountability/public accountability in the UK?

Is it happenchance?

Uh-huh baby. It is quite deliberate and active portrayal of "accountancy avoidance" at work.

4 - Sgt Bilko - eat your heart out m8y!

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Go

A possible solution?

The following is probably a constitutionally challenging potential solution and I fully accept that there is no such thing as a British constitution.

1 - the people involved seek an audience with Queen's Privy Council and disclose to QPC exactly what they did, why they did it and what they hope to seek by doing it. (To be helpful: to make public overindulgencies by Her Majesty's ministers and elected representatives, for the benefit of Her majesty and Realm, to encourage wider, truer and public accountability of those individuals responsible to Royalty)

2 - the same individuals go to a very, very high ranking police Station and make themselves available for questioning by Police

3 - same individuals appeal for protection by Police from (a) elected representatives with or outwith ministerial briefs and (b) senior managers within their organisations that might also wish to inflict harm upon them

4 - Her Majesty rapidly confers Knighthoods or similar position upon those individuals for acting in best interests of the Realm

Now that really might take people's (including the press) attention from bankruptcy of UK plc?

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Flame

so lets get this right

There is going to be an investigation costing gawd knows how much money but a lot of police time and effort to find someone who has released information that should already be in the public domain but for MP's delaying it......

If they are the same police that investigated the donations row where all the parties admitted breaking the law but the cpa found there was no case to answer then the people should be pretty safe.

The court of human opinion will soon be the voters of this country and i hope they remove the lot of them and lets get all fresh faces in and destroy all of their gravy trains.

It is stunning to go back 10 years and how Tony Blair was going to clean up politics we now know totally different.....and also the real reason for getting shot of the hereditary peers was not to bring about reform but to leave some room to get there supporters on to a nice little tax payer paid earner.

We need an oliver cromwell style reformer in this country and quickly !!!

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Anonymous Coward

"deny wrong doing"...

Well of course they do... They wrote the rules, so they know how to milk the system and keep within them...

I saw something about an MP getting a new central heating system because his hot water was too hot... What exactly was wrong with turning down, or fixing the thermostat?

They should only be able to claim for reasonable expenses. So one MP only needs one TV, and it doesn't need to be a 50"+ one either. So one TV, no more than £300. And if you move house it comes with you. Plus you can't replace it for 4 years. If it breaks, well that's what insurance is for.

3 piece suite? Yeah right... This is supposed to be an away from home for the week home, not a home for your entire family to live in whilst you rent out your other home. I used to work away from home for a week at a time. Did it for many years. I had a desk, a chair and a bed for furniture, and an old CRT TV with a remote which only worked 50% of the time unless I thumped it.

The sooner this CD turns up on bittorrent the better. I really quite looking forward to mauling my local MP, especially after his lamentable performance on question time. I'm watching you Mr "fatty" Pickles.

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Anonymous Coward

You doesn't get more public in money than this

If they have submitted receipts with Nappies and comics on them, fine if they didn't claim but it is a bit of a red herring moaning about it, they should get separate receipts, and once they have stuck in a receipt with that extra information on, well it is truthful to say they submitted a receipt for those items, whether or not the claimed is another matter.

Anyway, who cares they obviously have their snouts in the trough, whilst the rest of the UK goes to rack and ruin.

They just won't do the honourable thing and call a general election, the Queen should step in now, do her duty and dissolve Parliament.

The people should support her, so should the police they don't like Labour. Think of the stupid things labour has lumped onto the police their bad PR is down to Labour they have been used in too many political ways. And the military are the Queens' anyhow.

I think the Queen should really consider this, we need a democratic choice right now, to bring this country out of economic suicide. We are a democratic monarchy, and the monarch has the right.

Let's get the Queen in Parliament, God save the Queen and us.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm

I smell jealousy, not a one of you would turn it down if it were on offer.

The data was sold not given, note the Daily Telegraph paid £150,000, that's some retirement pot.

Approx 5yrs worth of 2nd home claims probably with furnishings, porn movies and tampons.

Tell me one of you wouldn't do either and I'll show you a liar.

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Stop

A sobering thought

Some of these MP's are getting more in expenses than the poor squaddies laying down their lives

for their country, more than the pension of some ex service people.

Have they no conscience ?

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Coat

Tough on Honesty...

1) Tough on Honesty...Tough on the Causes of Honesty.

2) Wasn't this the government that planned to have a whistle blowers' charter rather than a whistle blowers crucifiction.

3) Shouldn't all this information be collected in a single database and retained for years without any evidence of wrongdoing being required. (cf. DNA, Email, Internet Use, Photography, etc).

4) I say we send the Gurkers in to finish them off. Purdey for PM.

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Unhappy

@AC 15:07

"They just won't do the honourable thing and call a general election"

What good would it do? Do you seriously believe that whoever ousts this shower will be an improvement? Who will you vote for? The Nasty Party? Mainstream politics in this country is in a very worrying state; the incumbents are utterly dire and the hopefuls present absolutely no useful alternative whatsoever.

We're screwed.

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Paris Hilton

Purdey? PM? Not possible in UK

Unfortunately the UK parliamentary system both Commons and Lords has been usurped by parties (not wine and cheese parties but political parties although the w&c probably have some considerable influence as well?)

A governing principle in UK politics is for individuals to be elected (same counts across the pond?) but as most UK voters know there are strong limitations in the sense of funding and electioneering hence party members tend to dominate. Note that such is probably counter to democracy as it represents an undue influence. Now if western countries (EU in particular) picked up on that rather than browser wars I'd be a little more confident about democracy as a guiding principle.

However much the public may wish for Pyrdey as PM it ain't gonna happen without purdey being a party member.

Purdey for President might be different but she, as would you or I, will probably be dead, buried and 6 foot under by the time such changes were manifest.

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Let me get this right

MPs want someone prosecuted for telling the truth?

Oh, of course, how silly of me to forget. Only out and out liars are allowed to be in the government, aren't they?

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What moral high ground

@ Anonymous Coward 16:31 - "We need to kick out these MPs."

Yes, we do. But replace them with what? I assume you don't believe that turfing Labour out and putting any of the current alternatives in power would improve matters? These people all share the same comfy world; living their happy little lives in Parliament, enjoying the best the public purse has to offer. Much as I enjoyed watching Gordon Brown being pulled to pieces in PMQs the other day, I couldn't help but wonder what moral high ground his attackers imagined they were standing on.

But you've thought about that, no doubt. So I assume you mean get rid of *all* MPs - in which case, what do we do about democracy? If we want democracy in Britain - and I assume we do because one of our main complaints about the current 'leadership' is that they're trying to crush our freedoms - we have to have some means of representing the people's views in Parliament. Even if we had some clever IT-based system installed whereby the people themselves could register a vote on any issue, there'd still have to be people looking after that system, which means there are still specific people selected to wield power.

Still, I'm assured democracy is the best form of government. Having been born in 1970s Britain I've nothing to compare it with save the world's tinpot dictatorships at the other extreme, so I'll have to take that as read. Although it does seem inherently unhealthy that the only people who will ever rule us will be people who WANT to rule us; and more so that their overriding priority in ruling us will always be to secure a further term.

But for the life of me I can't see exactly what justification MPs have for being 'outraged'. The only issue I would have with the information that's been released is if it goes beyond the financial. We regularly protest loudly at the thought that someone might release our personal details - addresses, dates of birth, kids' schools, and so on - so it follows that we don't think that sort of information should be out in the open. If we demand that protection then I think we should be willing to extend it to MPs as well, especially where their families are concerned (we elect *them* to positions of accountability, not their kids).

Their expenses claims are not private: they're a matter of public interest because it's state money - NOT their already ample wages - that's being used for their decorators, their big TVs, their toilet seats and their porn. Therefore there's absolutely no reason for them to be 'outraged' at the release of this information, and certainly no reason why they should be setting the police on people for releasing it. That, as far as I'm concerned, indicates an institutional guilty conscience over expenses.

@ amanfromMars: "Funny Handshakes all round?"

I assume you're implying that they're all Freemasons and will corruptly stick up for each other. As someone who actually knows some Freemasons, rather than simply reading hysterical, religious-right conspiracy books about them, the casual assumption that Masons are all bent is very irritating to me. Certainly they have their bad apples, as would any organisation, company or club, but the bulk of them in my experience have a strong sense of social ethics. And Grand Lodge itself says:

"It must be clearly understood by every member of the Craft that his membership does not in any way exempt him from his duty to meet his responsibilities to the society in which he lives. The Charge to the new Initiate calls on him to be exemplary in the discharge of his civil duties; this duty extends throughout his private, public, business or professional life."

Yeah, yeah, I know: they *would* say that, wouldn't they...?

@ AC 15:23: "Tell me one of you wouldn't do either and I'll show you a liar."

Damn right I wouldn't. Now prove me a liar if you can; otherwise your declarations are worthless.

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Anonymous Coward

@Alan

"Only out and out liars are allowed to be in the government, aren't they?"

IMHO that's a slight oversimplification. Only a slight one, mind you. It's a bit like calculus: these things are infinitely variable. Basically, the more readily, fluently, and convincingly you lie the higher you are likely to rise up the ladder of "merit". (They talk a lot about merit, but they never define it. In political terms, it seems to mean something like "amoral, conscienceless, and grasping").

Or, as someone famously summed it up: "Politics is like a cesspool. The really big chunks always rise to the top".

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Anonymous Coward

@ Hmmm

Too Right, the "whistleblower" didn't do this out of the goodness of his/her heart, they SOLD classified information.

On the subject of Expense claims, I too claim EVERYTHING I am entitled too, OK so it isnt quite on the same scale but if I work past 20:00 I am entitled to claim a tenner for a meal, I probably wont have a meal and wait till I get home but I'll still make the claim because I AM ENTITLED to. Same with these people and anyone who says they wouldnt milk a system for everything they could within the guidelines is a liar (or stupid) It's just human nature, no matter who is in charge if they make the rules they will claim up to the hilt, just human nature.

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Disgrace

I am fuming with anger at the MPs - I can almost understand that they're milking their self-created system for all its worth but still staying "within the rules" and blaming the "system" but what is completely inexcusable is trying to find someone to prosecute for telling taxpayers how taxpayers' money was spent! This is absolutely crazy, how can any semi-intelligent being think this isn't in the public interest?

For me, Hazel Blears come amongst the worst of the bunch award. There's a clip of her on BBC of her, in an extremely condescending voice, saying how the system is wrong but she claimed within the rules. Right, so you completely milked the system, you knew you were immorally completely milking the system, yet you have no remorse and believe it was within your rights. Then you talk to the people who pay your wages like they're dirt. Awful.

While I'm looking forward to hearing what the Toff Party have been claiming on expenses, with Brown as a "leader", corrupt MPs and Wacky Jacqui imposing un-needed IDs cards and all the other rubbish, it's hard to see how anyone would vote Labour back in. Having said that the Tories was to reintroduce hunting and all three want to sell of part of Royal Mail to a foreign-owned company which has a reputation in their own country for being rubbish, somehow thinking they won't be rubbish here. This is the same foreign-owned bomb-named company that is resisting competition in its home country but routinely complains they don't have enough competition in the UK.

Fantastic, all our politicians are corrupt and have completely lost the plot.

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