Jacqui Smith in expenses row

Here’s the thing.

Your job requires you to be in two places at once – Westminster and your constituency. You’d only run one home normally, but now you need two. So the rules say you can declare one your ‘main’ home, and get taxpayers’ help for the other. That’s fair enough.

You keep your existing family home and claim for a pied a terre in London. Or move your family to London and claim for a sleepover place in your constituency. Also fair.

What you don’t do, or shouldn’t, is stay on the cheap with a mate, pretend that’s your main base and then get the tax payer to underwrite the family home. Which is exactly what we now find out Jacqui Smith has been doing for years.

Now we know why she’s called the Home secretary.

Like Derek Conway before her, Smith’s dodgy dealings make people sceptical about MPs in general, even though most, in all parties, are decent people: and that’s bad news for democracy.

When the Tories eventually lost power, it wasn’t because they were hated (some of us had hated them for years). It was because they were incompetent and sleazy.

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2 Comments »

  1. dennis parrish said

    Jacqui smith is doing no less than defrauding the public of thousands of pounds every year.If you or i tried to claim expenses as she has done,we would rightly have to answer to the law.She and many of her colleagues are nothing more than crooks who ,since they make the laws feel they are above them,but be warned,the time must come soon when you will be called to account for your actions.The public are very slow to become aroused,but your conduct is achieving just that and i hope that soon you, all like you,will face criminal charges.

  2. Andrew Carter said

    Alas, the coverage of the Jacqui Smith scandal appears to be dying down and she’s got away with it.

    Compare a business, using tax law as it is written to avoid paying large amounts of tax by a use of the law which wasn’t intended. Gordon Brwon gets irate about such things, especially when the business defends itself by saying that it has ‘acted within the rules’.

    Can lodging with her sister and claiming over £100k really be what the ‘housing allowance’ was supposed to be for? And how does she defend herself? By saying that she ‘acted within the rules’. Gordon Brown stays silent on this point.

    Further, if an employee is paid job related expenses that exceed the amount actually incurred, they are usually taxable. So what costs were actually incurred by Smith? And has the excess been taxed? Gordon Brown stays silent on this point too.

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