David Burbage’s weblog

Politics in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

  • About David Burbage

    David Burbage MBE was Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council from 2007-2016. This blog : Promoted by Geoff Hill on behalf of David Burbage and all other Windsor and Maidenhead Conservative candidates, all of 2 Castle End Farm, Ruscombe, Berkshire RG10 9XQ
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“wholly, necessarily and exclusively”

Posted by davidburbage on May 16, 2009

It is indeed standard tax accounting jargon – “wholly, necessarily and exclusively” as a description of what expenses can be claimed by MPs.

As a councillor, if we stray across a fine line of the discredited Standards Board for England we are investigated and can face all kinds of sanction for often rather trivial transgressions. I sympathised with Ken Livingstone who had to risk personal bankruptcy just to clear his name because he’d insulted a journalist – offensively yes, but not illegally. An unelected bureaucrat tried to suspend him and he had to go to the High Court to clear his name.

Compare and contrast with MPs. Only now, when the full picture is becoming known of the claim “culture”, does the bright light of transparency and public scrutiny start to illuminate where our taxes are being spent and the standards that have not been kept. The Commons’ own Standards and Privileges Committee is going to be busy…

Putting aside the (what appear to be) criminal claims for mortgages that didn’t exist by a couple of Labour MPs, the purchase of rugs, mirrors and food can hardly meet the test of “wholly, necessarily and exclusively”. If you don’t have a smart mirror, you can still do the  job of making laws, holding the Govt to account, and answering correspondance. And, like the rest of us, you have to eat to stay alive regardless of whether you are being an MP at the time!

A great analysis of what the Great British Public are saying is described on the Telegraph Letters Editor’s Page which include some true gems such as

“I wonder,” wrote a reader from Lancashire, “how many MPs have claimed for the spades they are digging themselves holes with.”

and

If MPs don’t even know where they mainly live,” wrote an ironically minded reader from Essex, “is it any wonder the country is in such a mess?”

A further irony is that the country is indeed in such a mess and that this is distracting those in Government from sorting it out.

A wholly inexcusable situation, but remember, all paid for with our taxes.

David Cameron is spot on – and putting Gordon to shame. Roll on the election.

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