Expenses Investigation begins

Our MPs (and non-elected politicans) have been living the life of Riley for years, spending tax-payers' money on everything from interior decor to duck houses and from Hobnobs to massage chairs (along with just about everything else John Lewis sell), but finally the end is beginning: Sir Christopher Kelly's inquiry, ordered by PM Gordon Brown but only after details were leaked to the press and the public quite rightfully got angry about being so comprehensively ripped off, began yesterday.
We hope (in an entirely non-pervy way, of course) to see plenty more MPs brought before the headmaster to explain their behaviour and receive punishment. Cane 'em good, Sir Chris!

One of the first MPs to be hauled up in front of Sir Chris was Harriet Harman, the Leader of the House of Commons, who made claims for a £230 digital camera, to cover costs of her public website which was deemed as being "too political" and resulted in her being served a warning from Commons officials that a part was "not acceptable for inclusion on your publicly funded site" and also to pay her PR agent according to the Daily Telegraph.

Sir Christopher has stated that his
Committee on Standards in Public Life had been concerned about expenses claims for "some time" and says that he had proposed an investigation in the past, prior to the time that Mr. Brown approached him with the same proposal after the Telegraph began to print details, suggesting that he was well aware that should the story leak, it'd become a major scandal and that had it not have leaked, Brown and other MPs would have been perfectly content to continue raiding the public purse. He estimates that the investigation will be complete by October this year despite calls for it to be done earlier - take as long as you need, Sir Chris. We just want you to do a thorough job and leave no stone unturned.

He also says that he has been "both surprised and I think it is fair to say, shocked" as the full extent of MPs' greed has come to light. Although the Government is refusing to publish a full version of the report - saying that it will heavily edit those parts to be made public, in the process removing more information than that protected by law - we can hope that in light of Sir Christopher's apparent disgust he'll do a good job.

However, since he has pointed out that the Committee is only able "to make recommendations over what course of action should be taken" and that "at end of the day it is up to the Government whether or not they take his advice on board" we will not be able to decide with certainty that we will have been given the full story told with absolute truth or if politicians really are going to clean up their act.

With their reputations lower than ever - incredibly, it appears that it is in fact possible to have an even poorer opinion of an MP than we did at any time in the past - it seems highly unlikely that anyone will accept the findings of the report with any less than at least a great big double handful of salt.

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