THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Lies, damn lies and government statistics
The worst "reform" of modern times?

Pay it back, Ms Smith. It's not yours.

Jacqui Smith Request for Payback.

The Sunlight Centre for Open Politics has written a very fair letter to Jacqui Smith. Ms Smith has cheated the taxpayer and an apology will not suffice. If you or I cheated our employer of £4,000, let alone £42,000, an apology would not absolve us. Perhaps if we paid it back, with interest, a kind employer might drop the charges after dismissing us. More likely he would call the police anyway. If he realised that our whole family had become so accustomed to living at his expense that they were carelessly including bills for their porn movies in our claims, I am pretty sure he would.

Ms Smith should pay the money back. Then her employers can decide what to do with her. As various MPs are showing, including the God-bothering Ann Widdecombe, they still don't get it. Not yet, at least. With an election looming, the party leaders are "getting it" though. They are digging into their own pockets to pay back their own unjustified claims.

It was only a proper expense, ladies and gentlemen of Parliament, if it was wholly and necessarily incurred in the performance of your duties. Lying about your main residence to score tens of thousands towards mortgage payments and/or household expenses you would have had whether an MP or not, was not. "Flipping" your homes so as to claim expenses on each in turn, was not. Flipping, claiming expenses to refurbish and then selling for a profit was property development at the taxpayers' cost, not a legitimate expense.

Your every protest now just condemns you more in the public eye. So, "get it" finally. Shut up. Pay up. All of you. Now. And never let us hear a slimy, hypocritical word about your vocation for "public service" again.


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It is a great point that "It was only a proper expense, ladies and gentlemen of Parliament, if it was wholly and necessarily incurred in the performance of your duties"

That is the real rule.

Any thing else that was allowed was a self serving bending of the rules apparently intended to supplement their wages invisibly.

If MPs figure anyhyng else then it just shows how far they fall short of what they should be. These people who presume to tell us how we should behave.

So way less of the "retrospective" argument please.


Unfortunately, the Police are not going to get involved in this because they are part of the aparatus of the State, the Chief Constables are 'appointed' by the Prime Minister and not directly elected. Therefore

Cash For Peerages
Mandelson's Mortgage
Damien Green raid.

It is only in the last few days that I have realised that Law and Order has broken down. This is not about rules it is about morality.


The thing I don't understand here is why she (and others) have not already been charged with fraud, or obtaining money by deception. There is, it seems to me, sufficient evidence in the public domain - I would have though the police or fraud squad should have arrested at least one of them. Can one launch a private prosecution?

They are not above the law, and the absence of this element is worrying about our broader society and reflects poorly on all of us. I agree with the comment about retrospective amendments to the law, but they were in breach of both the rules, and also the law of the land. It beggars belief that the reason she was caught was the record of her police protection team!!

I appreciate my thoughts are not very coherent, but my blood boils at this....




Pity Sunlight couldn't acquit themselves better at the conference.


...and I am a little surprised you are falling for that guff. I am with you on retrospection completely, but the rules were, despite all their bluster, perfectly clear. See my post here on this subject. Actually, you commented on it!

Kevyn Bodman

I think you're mixing up a couple of points that should be kept separate.
A lot of MPs have put in unjustified or fraudulent claims; they should pay it all back.Easy to agree on that.

The point I've seen Ann Widdecombe making (on SKY, perhaps edited so we haven't seen everyting she said) is that retrospective rules are wrong.
It seems to me that she is clearly right on that.

I loathe and despise our current Prime Minister, and his most likely successor. I invite others to join me in that.
Not yet an offence. In 15 or 20 years time might the public dissing of the PM be an offence?
The way things have changed over the last 12 years such a development is not unimaginable.
If legislation outlawing the public dissing of the PM were to be retrospective then I'll be in trouble. You too, I would guess.

You might be familiar with the scene in A Man For All Seasons where Thomas More warns against cutting down all the laws in pursuit of the Devil.

The rule of law must be paramount, and that should not involve retrospective rules.

This is not a defence of those troughing MPs,get them for breach of the rules as they then stood.
Do not make up new retrospective rules.

I am a little surprised that my view here seems to be such a minority one.

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