Doing the pools: MPs dive to the depths

The latest splash of MP expense revelations seems dominated by stretches of water, as well as stretches of the rules. No wonder current MPs of all parties are floundering in an attempt to justify their claims. 

We have North East Hampshire MP James Arbuthnot (Conservative, heir to a baronetcy) having his swimming pool cleaned. He has said of the pool claims: “The claims were an error of judgment on my part. I am sorry I made them and will repay them in full.”

Note the words “error of judgment” and reflect on the fact this man is a Member of Parliament, responsible for debating and deciding our laws. Note also that he claimed to the maximum for the pool amongst many other things – £108,062 over the past five years. Spectacular error of judgment.

We have Michael Ancram, MP for Devizes (and the Marquess of Lothian), claiming for swimming pool maintenance, amongst other things. The former Conservative deputy leader has agreed to repay the swimming pool costs but protested “None of the items can be considered extravagant or luxurious. They are all strictly maintenance expenses which were required to maintain the house which was always my second home.” The Ancram family owns three houses. I suppose very few items would be luxurious if you are a Marquess, married to a Duke’s daughter.

Then we have Stewart Jackson MP, a shadow minister, claiming for work on his swimming pool and something called a ‘summer room’. Like the others he has said he will repay the claims for the pool. But why claim in the first place?

And Douglas Hogg MP, aka Viscount Hailsham, claimed more than £2,000 for clearing the moat around his Lincolnshire manor house. 

Makes depressing reading doesn’t it? Then there’s another that caught my eye – David Heathcoat-Amory MP claiming for 550 sacks of manure. Could be a metaphor for the whole situation.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Doing the pools: MPs dive to the depths

  1. Eddy

    Forget the class war for a moment, which of all newspapers the Telegraph seems to be igniting this morning, the best example was on Newsnight last night. The comparison between Margaret Moran and the other MP for Luton Kelvin Hopkins. Also look at Hilary Benn’s minimal claims compared with his Cabinet colleagues. It’s actually quite a good test of character of the 646 individuals involved.

    Other than that, I’m not really interested and it’s hardly the end of parliamentary democracy as we know it.

  2. David Heathcoat-Amory MP claiming for 550 sacks of manure?

    That’s annoying, he came to my university only a few weeks ago, I would have loved to have asked him about it.

  3. Eddy

    I’m not a Tory but you can’t deny Cameron did a good job today and left Harman/Blears/Brown floundering desperately.

    Also, how can Hazel Blears pay tax that she claimed she doesn’t owe?!

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