So David Cameron has insisted that the Tory MEPs should list their expense claims. A group of them have written a letter asking:
It reads: "We will … find that far from buying off criticism, the more we publish, the more questions will be asked.
"Could we have eaten in a cheaper restaurant? Did we need that extra half-pint of lager? Couldn\’t we find cheaper paper-clips?
Well, umm, yes perhaps?
To be honest, I\’m not quite sure I can believe that someone earning £60k a year, plus a hefty expenses package, would actully put a half of lager on an expenses claim. Yer average travelling salesman in the UK finds that (as per HMRC rules) alcohol is not an allowable expense (I think I\’m right in saying that it is if you\’re entertaining clients, not if not).
Further, I\’m not actually sure what they\’re talking about anyway. There\’s obviously some part of the gravy train that I don\’t understand. I thought there was a simple (if high) per diem for each day spent at the Parilament. Why are these expenses itemised (or even claimed) at all?
"Members may well change their behaviour under the rules. They may decide to drive to Brussels, claiming the full mileage allowance, rather than fly or take the train.
"They may decide not to go to Strasbourg at all – it as an enormous hassle and there will be little incentive to go.
Seriously? The claim is that without being able to fill their boots with expenses they wouldn\’t actually turn up to do their job?
"They may decide to buy an apartment in Brussels rather than rent or use hotels. In any case they will certainly trade up to business-class flights, obviating any saving for the tax-payer.
Erm, you mean that if you\’re not able to fiddle the difference between a cheap flight and an expensive one, you\’ll simply take the expensive flight anyway?
They\’re not really doing themselves any favours here are they?