Thursday, 14 May 2009

Nice work ...

An erstwhile journalist of my acquaintance, now ensconced in that great gravy train on Thames, once gave me advice about how to prosper in both journalism and politics. ‘Always have your next job lined up and your expense claims up to date,’ he said. I’m sure he’s always conducted himself with the utmost propriety when it comes to MPs’ expenses but I don’t see his name at the bottom end of the league table of low claimers.

I do, however, see the name of one Rt Hon Tony Blair down there as the second-lowest claiming MP in the 2007-08 financial year. He’s sandwiched between the veteran left-winger Dennis Skinner, now in his 40th year as MP for Bolsover, and Philip Hollobone, the Tory representative for Kettering and the cheapest of Westminster’s 646 MPs at Westminster, who claimed barely a third of the £135,600 a year average.

Tony claimed £64,064 expenses for 2007-08, including £5,772 to cover the cost of staying away from his main home (that would be Downing Street, if you remember, so a lot of people would no doubt have been happy to pay for him to stay away a lot longer). Which sounds extremely modest by most MPs standards – until you realise that he quit parliament in June 2007, less than three months into that financial year.

No comments: