Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The first call I took this morning, almost before I'd had a chance to switch on my computer or read the paper, came, somewhat unsurprisingly from Keith Vaz, MP. Mr Vaz had been the subject of yesterday's Page 1 story outlining the £80k worth of expenses he has claimed for his second home over the past four years, a story which whipped up an enormous amount of public comment.

Perhaps more surprising was his tone. Mr Vaz was not jumping up and down or trying to suggest that he had been badly done to by the Mercury. He seemed more concerned that the current scandal over MPs' expenses should be seen as non-party political - this was not a story about the Labour party, it was about MPs of all hues. I assured him that I agreed and pointed out that our main story on the issue today centred on Tory Alan Duncan.

I suspect that most MPs caught up in the scandal now regret their claims, most of which were probably made without thought in an atmosphere of 'everybody's doing it.'

My favourite comment on the matter so far came from a reader called Keith - not me, I promise - who said of Mr Vaz's claim for 22 silk cushions: 'Perhaps he will need the cushions to sit on after the spanking he will get (hopefully) in the next general electon.'

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