Now that MPs expenses are to be accessed by the general public, all sorts of weird and wonderful expense claims will come to light. One article recently published in the Daily Telegraph, points the finger again at Conservative MPs Sir Nicholas and Ann Winterton who last June were criticised for breaking Commons rules with regard to expense claims. Since being censured, Ann Winterton has claimed £940 for removal of antiques from their London home by a Chelsea-based firm of specialist antiques removers.
This amount is the latest in a catalogue of questionable expenses claimed over the past six years where the couple claimed more than £120,000 to rent the flat originally bought by them which they then handed over to a family trust managed by their children. An investigation into their actions at the time found that they had broken Commons rules by renting the flat from their children. Their actions were described by Tory leader David Cameron, as ‘indefensible’. Despite the public frenzy on MP’s expenses generally, and their actions in particular, Ann Winterton continued to claim for removal costs when she employed the Chelsea based firm of antiques removers when they moved out of the flat.
Both the Wintertons have decided to retire from public office and have written to Mr Cameron to say that they cannot maintain the ‘hectic pace’ required of them in politics and both have said that they have a desire to see their family more. They number 11 and12 in MPs who have announced or have actually left office since the Daily Telegraph investigation into expenses began. By the time of the next election, it is being predicted that over 300 MPs will have resigned or lost their seats due to the MPs expenses scandal. Whether moving antique furniture in Lancashire or London, it seems that no MP is safe now from public scrutiny.
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