Left Watch

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George Osborne wins another round against his enemies on the Left

You don't have to look far to see that the Left is targeting George Osborne (eg today and here and here).

They have certainly failed, however, in trying to bring the Shadow Chancellor down on abuse of expenses.

A complaint against Mr Osborne by a Labour activist, Laurie Burton, has yielded no political result. Voluntary disclosures by Mr Osborne regarding his use of expenses have today resulted in him needing to repay £1,666 but the Committee on Standards and Privileges said that he had not intentionally made an error and, furthermore, his error was caused by "flawed" advice from the Commons authorities.

Mr Osborne issued the following statement:

"I am happy to accept the Committee's report. I am glad that they acknowledge that any breaches of the rules were not intentional, not major, and did not provide me with any significant financial benefit. As the Committee appreciate, I always sought to minimise the cost of my expenses to the taxpayer, and followed the advice I was given. The Committee has now decided that advice was flawed. Last year I offered to pay back any money that had been inadvertently overclaimed due to the flawed advice I received, and the Committee has accepted that offer. I understand the damage the expenses crisis has done to Parliament, and the paramount importance of restoring trust in our politics. I want to ensure that the claims I have made are entirely beyond reproach."

Mr Osborne has won this round but you can be sure the Left will be back on the attack soon.

Tim Montgomerie

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