MPs and staff are reportedly being advised to "change bank PIN numbers" in order to guard against incidents of fraud arising from the leak of Commons allowance claims. Andrew Walker, director general of resources, has reportedly warned MPs that the expenses claims, complete with lists of transactions, are still in the hands of …
Some one might attempt to carry out an act of fraud on an MP?
Well given the number of acts of blatant fraud they've carried out on the UK tax payer it would almost be poetic justice.
I find it amazing that the MPs seem to be suggesting that leaking the information is criminal but their activities are perfectly legitimate and above board.
If they have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear.. oh.. yeah.. sorry.
To remove suspect statements from the accounts. Great. The fat cats speedily remove all potential embarrassment. Wooo hoo... great further disaster averted.
Except the press has the master records. Then they can quickly work out what was removed - and ask questions like 'bob the builder toyset' at '300 pounds / hour'. Is that Bob' as in Kate...?
No - I employed to bob to erect a flagstaff in my gardens.
They need to change their pins ...
... because the pins used to be set to the last four digits of the card number.
Give them all some swords to fall upon. ASAP.
If the records contain personal details and were digitized (or stored in some kind of retrieval system covered by the DPA) then - under the DPA - don't commons authorities have civil liability to the persons whose personal details were leaked for costs incurred in re-protecting that data?
Unless, of course, they took all reasonable steps to secure the data - in which case a quick trawl of the access logs should reveal which one of the undoubtably very few authorised users exported zillions of records a few months ago.
No, far better to try to involve the Police than draw attention to the insecurity of yet another Government database. After all it's not like they had four years notice that people would want to see this data and therefore it would be well worth securing it.
Cancel all cards......
... and don't re-issue. Job done.
Yes, thats right...
...begin the process of branding this whistleblower a criminal.
Insinuate the information may be used for fraud (perhaps terrorism?), get the gutter press to attach the right negative language to the stories and then perhaps next time, nobody will have to guts to speak out.
The fuzz won't touch it as it's far from being "in the public's interest" to bring charges, or does that boot only work when it's on the other foot?
"Meanwhile Scotland Yard is reportedly considering a request by Commons official to investigate the leak for possible breaches of criminal law."
Its not a "possible breach", it is a breach. The person who leaked them leaked perssonally identiiable information to people who should not have recieved it. Its maybe theft but is definatly a breach of the data protection act since the data had personally identifable information in.
Criminal or not?
Leaking who spent what isn't criminal, it just shows them up to be careless, stupid or all sorts of other nasty words. However if the source of the 'leak' had bank account / card transaction details for each entry, that I would have thought counted as proper theft therefore whoever it was should be subject to police investigation (assuming this 'sensitive' financial information was sent to the Telegraph - if it wasn't then just get the mole investigated).
Hats off for poor Flocke Kroes who today accidentally revealed secret information affecting national security and the finances of our worthy leaders.
His unfortunate end for possessing and revealing secret knowledge likely to be useful to terrorists and political enemies of state will keep the nation safe until at least noon tomorrow.
...to paint whoever leaked the information as a fraudster or identity thief? If you can make the public believe that, it's only one step further to call them a 'threat to national security' or, even worse, a 'Brizilian electrician'...
How to interpret what is said
"MPs and staff are reportedly being advised to "change bank PIN numbers" in order to guard against incidents of fraud arising from the leak of Commons allowance claims."
I thought the acts of fraud had already been committed...... by the MPs
"Andrew Walker, director general of resources, has reportedly warned MPs that the expenses claims, complete with lists of transactions, are still in the hands of whomever leaked the data to the press."
OMG, the horror, the taxpayers have found out about fraudulent expenses claims, better make it sound like the newspaper did something wrong instead.
"It is possible that the data could be used for purposes which are harmful to the individuals to whom the data relate through exposure to identity theft and fraud," Walker warned, The Times reports.
This data is harmful of the individuals (MPs) who made fraudulent claims, better spread some bullshit to try and make it look like the MPs are the innocent victims.
"The details which may be at risk as a result of the leak include bank and credit card details, personal addresses, the names and details of suppliers you have used, personal account details and details of transactions," he wrote. "If you have made claims for the reimbursement of staff costs, the data will also include details of staff names and their bank account details."
Nope, the bullshit does not seem to be working, I had better make it look like that the underpaid staff are also at risk
Politicians are being warned to keep a close watch on their bank accounts for fraudulent activity as well as (more puzzlingly) to change "PINs and other access codes".
Keep engaging in fraudulent activity like making fraudulent expenses claims
Meanwhile Scotland Yard is reportedly considering a request by Commons official to investigate the leak for possible breaches of criminal law.
I hope the Plods do not investigate MPs for possible breaches of criminal law. Better appoint a few more Chief Superintendents.
60k a year is peanuts
I have to say that I disagree with all this expenses whining. MPs are paid £63k a year, they are elected for 4-5 year terms. That's often a short term career and the pay is crap for such a senior position.
Pay peanuts and get monkeys.
That's why I think we get so much problem from lobbyists. Offer someone a 300k job and you get their attention if they're on 60k a year and are only just covering their bills.
I reckon they should earn 150k, no expenses. So instead of fiddling the expenses to get 150k (I'm no saint, I would do exactly the same). It's given to them and that's the end of it.
I notice that the leader of the country is the newspapers, and Gordon does not dare to stand up to them and say "I am the Prime Minster of England, I run the country, I don't clean toilets,so get over it."
And Cameron's just as spineless. The lot of them have made themselves into victims to be manipulated by the press, and not a single ounce of leadership among them.
So why aren't fuzz investigating...
the blatant and criminal fraud against the taxpayer, eg claims for non existant mortgages, a criminal offence I believe.
Perhaps we should all complete online petitions demanding an investigation, or maybe make complaints to PLOD via their online crime reporting site. They promise a 72 hour response from the investigating officer.
Shame I can't use the Joke Alert as well but I gotto get the camo on and dash to the hills, they're on the way.
Bring in Scotland Yard about the breach...?
Why aren't they already investigating the fraudulent expense claims...?
I'm guessing that the reason here is that this relates to MPs. So, armed with the data, you can try year of birth, year of wife's birth, year of election, last four digits of home / mobile / house of commons / constituency office phone number, without even starting to make an effort.
I'll bet this 'ere sackful of easily obtained cash that this lot gives you somewhere north of 50% of 'em. Trying the same numbers backwards is probably worth another 20-odd percent.....
Re Breach of Data protection act
Well if it is a breach then it was also a breach when the inland Revenue sent all that data on a CD, and lost it. Strange how the Goverment seems so upset when its there details isn't it.
Hope that they all lose loads of cash to scammers, they deserve it as "Pay Back".
On the Bright Side
Next time you make a mistake with the taxman or other government official over money, you've now got a precedent to call upon, "it was a mistake, here's the sum in question, no need for any charges or fines".
Breach for the public good - whistleblower..
I think the attempt to catch the person who embarrassed them greatly is going to cause some problems, whatever spin they want to give it. Firstly, a tax payer should have been able to see this data for a long time - AFAIK there have been plenty of FOI requests for it, and it's now clear why they bounced.
Secondly, it can be argued that the breach of law was performed as a whistle blower. Funnily, this means that the whistle blower laws might bite the MPs in the rear end, causing yet another round of bad press. Whoever did this should consider seeking protection under the umbrella, but only when it gets too hot.
You may be a folk hero, but nobody trust a whistle blower not to repeat the act.
Bestow each upon them a knighthood!
Them that done if you know wot I meen (the leakers and not MPs that is)
Their simple, selfless action may have saved the country a fortune.
Re: 60k a year is peanuts
I don't have a problem with paying for legitimate expenses and I can accept that MPs need to be able to stay over near Westminster when the house is in session. What I object to is blatantly unjustifiable claims, like mortgate payements for a non-existent mortgage or for a flat as far away from Westminster as the constituency (a Luton MP apparently was claiming for a flat in Southampton). I also see no reason why MPs should be allowed to play the property market with taxpayers money.
Salary is salary and expenses are expenses. If MPs think they are worth 150k let them vote themselves a salary so that everyone can see how much they get paid. Personally I don't think most of them are worth £150, let alone £150k.
I must admit I find comments about "damaging people's respect for parliament" hilarious - do they really believe that the bulk of the population have any respect at all left for that institution?
RE: 60K is peanuts
"I notice that the leader of the country is the newspapers, and Gordon does not dare to stand up to them and say "I am the Prime Minster of England, I run the country, I don't clean toilets,so get over it."
And Cameron's just as spineless. The lot of them have made themselves into victims to be manipulated by the press, and not a single ounce of leadership among them."
Urr, WTF? You saying they should just tell the Daily Telegraph to "fuck off, its none of your business!"
I think this might actually be democracy in action ... it is the job of the media to watch over those we allow to rule over us.
Remember that these politicians operate under different tax rules to the rest of us (e.g. they managed to vote themselves a *tax free* 22k GBP expenses allowance. ) and even so, they still can't follow their own guidelines.
I'm so fucking angry about this .. they're a bunch of thieving crooks ... and then you come along trying to argue its a media witch-hunt. Fuck that!
65k may be peanuts but that doesn't justify either fraud or theft.
Re: 60k a year is peanuts
What an insult to the average joes like myself. We ALL work hard but I'm only on half a peanut. They should be happy with 60k, most earn far far less and dont get their mortgages paid for them either!
@60k is peanuts
I agree with others that this is about honesty, not about how much they earn. If politicians consider themselves to be worth more, then they should make a case for it, but it should be open and above board. At the end of the day, they knew the pay when they went in to the job; if they don't like it, they can get out and get a proper job.
Being an MP does not mean your have immediately reached a senior position. Their pay should be graded and pegged to equivalent professional public servants such as teachers, police, nurses, doctors etc. etc. Their benefits (including their pensions) should likewise be a reflection of the rest of the public sector. Nothing more, nothing less.
@60k a year is peanuts
Posted by Anonymous Coward Posted Thursday 14th May 2009 13:03 GMT
Are you an MP? Or a member of the party fathful?
I reckon they should earn 150k, no expenses. So instead of fiddling the expenses to get 150k
Irish TDs (TD = MP) are paid over €100K, +22K un-vouched expenses +a shit load of other expenses, some of then are grossing the guts of €200K PA, ministers get a basic pay of €250K plus expenses, Brian Cowen (AKA Brian Clown) get 300K, as did Bertie Ahern.
Still didn't stop them from getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Google "Mahon Tribunal" and "Moriarty Tribunal".
Bertie Ahern as ex-taoiseach (prime minister) is entitled to a top of the range merc and a police driver, for security reasons of course, but he still received travelling allowance attend parliament. When Ahern has caught receiving undeclared donations, it was called "a dig out for a few close friends". I've a bit more respect for some of the MPs, at least they admitted making fradulent claims and paid them back.
They should all be shot with a ball of their own shit.
"What an insult to the average joes like myself. We ALL work hard but I'm only on half a peanut. They should be happy with 60k, most earn far far less and dont get their mortgages paid for them either!"
Even at half the wages your career will typically span 40 years = £1.2 million There's will typically span 8 = £480k, 4 if they're unlucky. Not even worth moving for.
Doing a job search on typical manager jobs, 40-70k seems to be the norm for central london, even human resources pay up to 80k:
So MPs are *way* underpaid and this expenses trick is just because they wanted to look good to their electorate. Again it's just fear of bad press.
They should get a frigging spine, collectively say the pay rate is stupid and the expenses game just makes them look worse, they should end the expenses game and raise the base wage to something proper.
Re: 60k a year is peanuts
I agree with the original poster, 60K a year *is* peanuts for the kind of people I'd want to be running the country.
Do you want people who've spent their entire career working up through minor admin roles in their local party, getting to understand the petty machinery of party politics and schmoozing up to the right people so they get selected at the next election... or people who are competent and successful at a real job and decide to contribute some of that experience in public service for the good of the country?
If you want someone of the calibre who can become a top barrister, a top hospital consultant, or the managing director of a successful business then 60K a year is nothing. It's also a lot less than other people like senior civil servants or the head of a health authority would get in the public sector. Everyone who knows anything about the situation understands that MPs are woefully underpaid for what they're expected to do (including running two homes and two offices) but because of short term political reasons (doesn't look good to increase MPs pay at a time when the government is calling for public sector pay restraint, for example) the decision was made to compensate them by other means. They have an allowance of 24K a year which they're *supposed* to spend. It's an *allowance*, an unofficial topup to their inadequate salaries, not strict payment of expenses in the way you or I would claim from our employers.
I have no sympathy with government ministers (over things like ID cards and the DNA database and email monitoring to keep the population under surveillance and control) but I do have some sympathy with MPs who were only doing what the Fees Office told them they ought to be doing suddenly finding themselves branded as crooks.
Worse, I think it's extremely worrying for our democracy because the kind of people we ought to have volunteering to do do their service as MPs are going to turn round and say "forget it, I'd have to certifiable to enter politics if that's the kind of thanks I can expect". They'll carry on doing what their good at, being successful in their careers and making loads of money in the process, and we'll end up with second or third rate losers in their place. Is that really what everyone here wants?
What's the difference . . .
. . . between . . .
a) Unemployed person(s) committing benefit fraud.
b) Police Officer(s) inappropriate use of force credit card(s).
c) MP/MEPs fiddling their expenses claims and knowingly doing so.
d) Law abiding member of the general public going about your lawful business.
Answer(s) . . .
1) If you fall into category (a) or (b) then you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, probably attracting a jail sentence (and if not, a hefty fine), be required to pay back what you've stolen. If you are in (b) then additionally you will lose your job and pension rights and basically will have fucked up the rest of your life.
2) If you fall into category (c) then you can enter into a protracted High Court case to evade FOI requests at taxpayers expense, will get the opportunity to vote in a bill to evade FOI requests by arguing they should not apply to you (National Security, Terrorism/Etc...), when you lose the case, stick 2 fingers up at the courts/general public by appealing against the decision, ignoring any deadlines imposed, when info is leaked be outraged by such activity, use mealy mouthed rhetoric and issue hollow apologies in an effort to make it right, be free from prosecution, evade a jail sentence, evade being 'compelled by law' to pay back the monies you stole, continue in your job and keep your pension rights, get to leave (or even compelled to leave by the voters) and walk into a highly paid position on some company/quango or advisory body payroll and generally feather the nest for you and yours for the rest of your life.
3) If you fall into category (d) then you get to watch such delights as, your nation entering into an illegal war based on lies (WMD anybody?), the erosion of your civil liberties and personal privacy, the loss of multiple millions of personal information which will at some point in your future come back to bite you in the ass, your taxes being spent bailing out incompetent businesses, your taxes being spent on projects to keep an eye (and ear) on all you do throughout the whole of your lives (DNA-DB, National ID card, etc...), your taxes being squandered on umpteen ill thought out projects, the possibility of being killed because you were in a legally rightful place but just at the wrong time, the possibility of being harassed/arrested because you were in a legally rightful place but just at the wrong time . . . I could go on indefinitely but think I may be running out of space . . .
\ That would be the MP/Copper/Benefit cheat with their hand in your pocket . . . AGAIN!!\
Renounce all worldly goods to serve the poor
The ideal Minister or Permanent Secretary is someone who selflessly serves us, sharing in our suffering, like Mahatma Gandhi.
OTOH, greedy selfish bastards who glory in handouts from us (or rich friends) will burn in hell. Send Buffy or Angel to put a stake through their hearts.
How do we make this clear to them? Here are a couple of suggestions.
1. On the back of their nameplates, facing them across the desk, should be this motto: "Renounce all worldly goods and serve the poor, you greedy selfish bastard".
2. Each year, every minister and senior civil servant should share in the suffering their decisions cause. For example, Phil Woolas can spend the summer in Nepal living on a Gurkha's pension.
A solution from fiction...
In a kingdom in one of David Eddings' books, the prospective politician was selected by lot, then put under immediate guard to stop him escaping. If elected, all his property was immediately sold and the value put into the public funds. He would be under constant guard until his term was over.
If at the end of his term of service things had gone well, and there had been improvement overall, he got the value of his contribution back, plus the same percentage as in the economic improvement. If things hadn't gone well during his term he lost the lot and got turfed out on his ear with nothing. And the tax rates were fixed, so elected politicians weren't able to raise them to fake an improvement that way.
Might be a nice system to see, both in the UK and here in NZ.
how many times in all of this has a politician said that they go into politics to help / make things better / serve the public, not to get rich?
If that's the truth then pay ministers like directors of charities and MPs like charity workers.
People commute into London from places like Portsmouth (at my last place of work one of my colleagues did that every day, and only if he missed the last train did he claim for acommodation - at the cheapest available hotel) all the time, so no need whatsoever for anyone within, say, 2hr train journey to have accomodation. Having said that, it is competely discriminatory to pay/allow less for London MPs than for those elsewhere - given the make-up of the current lot however, we'll probably end up with MPs in the south east getting nothing and others getting a completely unwarranted fortune. Anyone in a normal job who has to travel for work just has to do it, they don't get extras, it's just expected.
Better solution though - given the taxpayer is now paying for the Olympic village, why not just reserve part of that for MPs?
So someone leaked PII - meh
Normally, when someone leaks personally identifiable information, we're just told the ICO can't prosecute and they've been given a stern talking to instead (oh, and told not to do it again, or they'll, err... be told off again).
So what exactly is the point of investigating any of this stuff? Or do different rules apply if MPs are the victims?
@MPs under paid
HaHaHa you sound like someone else i know but hes an expert at lying and cheating the good old BOFH.
If you think 60K a year is penuts then you've living in a dream world me and most of the people i know are either out of work, losing there job, being told to take a pay cut or find another job and to earn 60K a year would take 3 or 4 years in full time employment.
I feel your just as bad as the MPS if you are defending them, i say march them down the nearest housing estate and ask them if they deserve 60K a year + expenses.
I'm sorry but you do honestly make me sick defending this when by the end of the year 3,000,000 people will probably be without a job, but if i'm a politician its alright to swindle ten of thousands of pounds out the tax payer, as i said disgusting.
@MPs underpaid statements
£60k is not peanuts by a long straw, it is about 3 times the national average income.
Also, each MP whose spouse / kids aren't working (and upping the family income) will be hiring said family members as "researchers" again paid out of the public purse. Every election I jokingly try to get my partner to stand as an MP, saying if they get elected I will quit my job and they can pay me £45k per year as their researcher. I'll even get their tea on the table when they come home from work..... Won't happen though, there is no way I could be with anyone who would sink so low as to want to be a politician.
MPs get a £50k pay off if they lose their seats in an election. Not bad for a payout.
MPs pensions are very generous.
As to MPs only getting 8 years of salary then (1) if they were any good they would be re-elected more times than that, (2) they get the pay out / pension as above and (3) many MPs get nice lucrative consultancy jobs when they leave. Interestingly enough usually with the industry that they were responsible for regulating when they were in power - obviously no conflict of interest there.... (4) even if they don't get a consultancy job they will hardly be unemployed when they leave, Westminster is one big revolving door.
Finally, if MPs think they need more money then they should put forward the argument, vote themselves the cash and then take the consequences at the next election. Or leave politics. Nurses get paid fuck all but they do the job because they want to - it is a vocation. That is what I would want my politicians to be there for rather than to feather their nests.
If I think I deserve more money at my job I go to my boss and ask for it. I explain what I want and why backed up with supporting evidence. My boss then either gives me an acceptable pay rise or not. If not then I don't make the difference by stealing from the company, I either accept it and carry on or more likely I leave and go elsewhere.
8 year career span for an MP?
You must be joking, they all have these directorships or they're employing their partner as their assistant and there is nothing to stop them getting a different job once they are finished as an MP anyway.
Morally Corrupt MPs == Narcissistic Personality Disorders
@EdwardP: I totally agree. They are trying find some way to make it seem a serious crime to leak this information. What has been leaked is very much in the public's interest. But the MPs want to seriously punish the person who leaked it and stop people in the future doing the same.
So many of these self righteous MPs show clear signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and like all good narcissistic's, they totally fail to see their own actions can be wrong and so they wrongly assume everyone against them must therefore be wrong. Now they want to seek out and seriously punish whoever told on them. (I wouldn't be at all surprised if some MPs just consider their expenses are a private matter and wrongly assume anyone against them is just angry at them out of envy and doing it for political gain. Some will simply fail to see they are wrong no matter what is said against them. Its the NPD way of behaving).
So no matter what is said at these NPDs they are not going to change their ways. They have learned over years to ignore any feedback views against them and so still carry on believing totally in themselves. So just like machines without feedback, NPDs failing to listen to feedback end up running to ever greater extremes out of control, because no one can tell them they are wrong, so they self righteously treat others with utter contempt. Its part of why they lack so much empathy. They are self serving control freaks, but they have spent years learning how to twist their words to make it sound like they do it all for us. Now with the expenses they have finally been caught out showing exactly what they are really like.
Most people still do not realise we are dealing with recognisable personality disorders. Narcissistic behaviour provides a competitive advantage in very competitive environments like politics and business. So the most narcissistic tend to fight to the top, to become the ones in power who make the laws and rules.
All societies needs to finally bring this NPD behaviour to an end. Its got to be punished and the minority who behave like this in each society need finally to be prevented from holding positions of trust and authority, because they lack so much empathy toward others and cannot be trusted to be fair or even to just represent the people who vote them into their jobs. Its the only way we will ever make a fairer, better and safer world.
60K for an MP?
Is that all? Hardly. Its not even the largest chunk of the money.
MPs pay is a mere £64,766. On top of that is the best pension scheme in the UK, a money purchase equivalent would need to be at least 30% of their salary, probably more.
But that's just the starter.
Plus staffing allowance for 3.5 staff, which can be family members. This comes out to £100k a year, plus a 10% pension for each staff member. That is handled via the House payments, not the MP directly. Still it means that the wife can spend more time with the Amateur Dramatics society.
Plus computer equipment (now free - no budget)
Incidental costs £22,193, which is different from personal expenses. These are things like stationery for the office.
London MPs also get an additional London Costs Allowance £7,500 a lot less than the Additional costs allowance for non-London MPs which is £24,006
Mileage for cars the current rates are 40 pence per mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25 pence per mile thereafter. For bikes the rate is 20 pence per mile.
On top of that there is a communications Allowance,of £10,000 per year for each Member
In the event that a sitting MP loses an election a Resettlement Grant to assist with the costs of adjusting to "non-parliamentary life", is payable to any person who ceases to be an MP at a General Election. The amount is based on age and length of service, and varies between 50% and 100% of their annual salary.
Adds up, doesn't it? On those items alone an MP and his family can get £250k a year plus.
But that's for lightweights. On top of that there is other work - being a director of a company, consultancy, or simply vote-selling. Charles Clarke has a consultancy with the Beachcroft commercial law firm, worth between £25,001 and £30,000 per year. The top earner in the House of Parliament is William Hague who takes home just shy of a million quid a year - including quarter of a million a year working for the Daily Telegraph. The top Labour person is David Blunkett who squirrels away around £580k a year on top of his pay.
Lets take Alan Duncan. He's in charge of overseeing the Tory parties position on expenses, so he knows a fiddle when he sees one.
He claimed £127,658 under the second home allowance.
But that's nothing, at least he lives in the 2nd house for more than a few days a year. Alan Duncan held, until this year, a position at Arawak Energy where he got paid £35,000 for 20 days work a year.
We'll all be glad to hear that he charged us only £4000 for "gardening expenses". Quite how these are connected to his role as an MP, who can say?
Other items that Alan declares includes (Source - theyworkforyou.com).
Owner of Harcourt Consultants; advisers on oil and gas matters for non-UK business projects
(Those of us remembering back in the day will recall that Harcourt helped Pakistan with getting oil supplies during the first Gulf War and so made millions)
Broadcasting fees from BBC. (Up to £5,000 a year), plus rental income from properties he owns in London. Plus of course the usual collection of gifts, including a watch from the government of Oman.
And he is the man in charge of stopping these items.
@ac 15th May 2009 13:43
> MPs pay is a mere £64,766. On top of that is the best pension scheme in the UK, a money
> purchase equivalent would need to be at least 30% of their salary, probably more
That 30% figure is very low, I think the correct figure is just over 77%.
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