Expensive Expenses

William Hague was on the latest Question Time and I have just noticed the headline on the BBC website “Hague warns MPs of ‘fraud risk’ “. That made me laugh.

People have a right to be represented by their MPs. It seems to me that failure to represent us is far more serious than an inappropriate expenses claim.

Before worrying about moats and duck houses, first I would ask William Hague who is reputed to earn the most or any MP, about how much time he spends working in his other jobs. In 2005 the BBC said “William Hague earning up to £820,000 on top of his MPs’ salary” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4285709.stm

Nowadays Wikipedia gives
“Hague’s annual income is the highest in Parliament, with earnings of about £400,000 a year from directorships, consultancy, speeches, and his parliamentary salary. His income was previously estimated at £1 million annually, but he dropped several commitments and in effect took a salary cut of some £600,000 on becoming Shadow Foreign Secretary in 2005.

We don’t seem to be overly interested but many MPs are honest. Some are so rich they don’t need to bother claiming small amounts; they don’t even need to claim any expenses to carry on being enormously rich. It isn’t worth their time and it is easy for the rich to be honest. Some MPs are too busy to make a correct claim. Some just claim anything they can within the rules. But we seem to be pillorying all MPs irrespective of merit and putting them in the stocks at the behest of one particular daily newspaper.

The MPs I worry about are the ones who earn vast sums outside Parliament and are feathering their nests while we pay them to represent us. In this media controlled world I don’t see anything like the same hysterical fuss about this apparent and vast improvement of their earnings at the expense of their work as an MP.

Of course they are all working within the rules.

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