Who put the Cunt into Scunthorpe?

Elliot Morley, Labour MP for Scunthorpe, is the latest politician to bolt the door after the horse has been frightened away by the Daily Telegraph in admitting that he claimed a total of £16,000 expenses to cover the mortgage on a property in the town even though he'd already paid it off. Morley continued claiming £800 per month for nearly 18 months after the mortage was paid on 1st March 2006, later changing his designated second home to one in London in November 2007, which he had previously declared to be his main residence and which he had been renting out to another MP.

For four months after the change, he claimed full mortgage interest on the London property while the MP who had been renting it from him - Ian Cawsey, Labour vice-chairman and MP for Brigg and Goole - claimed the same property as his own second home and claimed £1000 per month in rent expenses, which was then paid to...you guessed it: Mr. Morley. An extra £1800 on top of your £64K + a year salary? Very nice.

Elliot Morley MP - "forgot" to mention his mortage was paid off, netting
him £800 spending money a month. Image: Wikipedia, used under
terms of Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Licence.

The Torygraph claims to have seen several other instances whereby ministers and MPs put in doubtful claims related to mortgages, but seems to be saving the details to ensure their recent sales increase can be eked out for a bit longer.

The former Government whip and Agriculture Minister stated that, in his opinion, no offence has been committed. "I have reported this to the finance department and chief whip," he says. "I have made a mistake, I apologise for that and I take full responsibility. My priority was to repay and if I suffer financially as a result of that, I have only myself to blame."

Well, we all make mistakes. However, if you or I were lucky enough to get our mortgages paid for us and then conveniently forgot to inform whoever was responsible for paying it - resulting in an overpayment of £16,000 that we then kept quiet about for two years - what do you think would happen? Yep, that's right - we'd be done for fraud; because ignorance - be it real ignorance or bullshit ignorance used as an excuse to get out of trouble (not that we're claiming anyone told a fib, you understand) is no defence in law. The Telegraph carries a quote from lawyer Steven Barker, who specialises in similar fraud cases. "The Fraud Act was designed to deal with these types of offences," he states. "There is also a possibility of an offence of false accounting under the Theft Act." Let's hope so.

Remember that old joke, "Who put the cunt into Scunthorpe?" It remains unanswered - but whoever it was, he lives in London now.

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