Conservative Diary

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Just when Brown thought it couldn't get worse...

TheTruthAboutCabinetExpense The Telegraph doesn't hold back this morning from launching a massive attack on the "abuse" of expenses by MPs of all parties:

"Systematic misappropriation."

"One of the great scandals of modern public life."

"Sustained abuse of public funds."

"The extent of rapacity is astonishing."



At the heart of the abuse is the way MPs use their second homes allowance.  They nominate their London home as their 'second' home, charge the taxpayer for its renovation, then 'flip' the nomination to their constituency home and charge the taxpayer for its renovation.  Alistair Darling, The Telegraph tells us, has changed his second home designation four times in as many years.

In electoral terms, this story will hurt the Government most.  Internal Labour polling says the abuse of expenses is hurting Brown more than any other.  It's the Cabinet that gets nearly all of The Telegraph's attention this morning - their abuses are splashed across pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.  The party that styles itself as the party of the working class is always going to be hurt most, too.  The other parties are not innocent, however.  The Telegraph says MPs from all parties are implicated by their expenses exclusive.  We all paid £1,775 for Farrow and Ball paint for the renovation of a Tory shadow minister's country home, for example.  One wealthy Tory MP charged £10 for a bag of manure.  Sh*t.

Tim Montgomerie


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