Chancellor Darling has been exposed as just another chancer using the same second homes expenses fiddle as two homes secretary Smith. If the public thought anyone would lie straight in bed it would be the fastidious chancellor Darling. But second homes expenses scams seem to run in the cabinet family.
What is it with cabinet ministers and their obsession with second homes? Cabinet ministers have used the allowance to claim more than £2 million over the past six years. The Orange Party has an simple answer- greed.
Greedy government ministers, with first the home secretary now the chancellor caught shamefully fiddling commons expenses.
The Mail On Sunday's second Sunday instalment reports Darling's done a Jacqui over commons expenses after it emerged he lavished £70,000 on his family home in Edinburgh, claiming thousands of pounds in taxpayers' cash by classing the £1.2million townhouse as his ‘second home'.
Before he became chancellor, Darling claimed that a small London flat - worth only around £150-a-week in rent - was his 'main home'.
You can't make it up. And judging by the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Telegraph reports - they haven't.
Only last week, home secretary Smith was caught out in the same outrageous expenses scam after she'd claimed £116,000 on her family home in Redditch, claiming her West Midlands family home is her second home, while lodging with her sister in London and claiming that is her first home.
And Smith is not the first cabinet minister to be caught using their MPs' homes expenses in a squalid rip-off at the taxpayers' expense.
Brown's favourite cabinet couple, Ed Balls and wife Yvette Cooper were let off the hook after it was claimed they had been able to "maximise" their taxpayer-funded second homes allowances, by claiming their London home was their main home. But not before they faced questions over their decision to flag up their Yorkshire home as their main home, even though their children attend school in London.
Once again we will have to go through all the rigmarole. There is no suggestion that Darling broke any commons rules. It's all perfectly within the law.
But that's hardly the point when the rest of the country is having to suffer the misery and hardship of a deep and depressing recession. Ministers are on the take in what is nothing short of a common commons scam.
But once again it seems with ministers wrapped up in their own arrogance and self-interest and with the full backing of Brown, any cabinet minister caught fiddling expenses can ride out the storm.