Sunday, February 08, 2009

Scandal Of Second Homes Secretary Smith

The chickens are coming home to roost for greedy government ministers, with the home secretary now caught shamefully fiddling commons expenses, claiming her West Midlands family home is her second home, while lodging with her sister in London and claiming that is her first home. 

The Mail on Sunday claims home secretary, Jacqui Smith, has received £116,000 in allowances while lodging at her sister’s house. This is on top of the taxpayer-funded security, which the paper puts at around £200,000 a year. 

The revelations are the latest to hit the home secretary who also clams £40,000 a year for parliamentary assistant husband, Richard Timney, who was caught out writing glowing free puffs for his wife in the local newspaper, without disclosing the family connection. 

The Mail reports Smith claims the maximum parliamentary second-home allowance, currently a tax-free £24,006 a year on the detached house in her West Midlands constituency, where her husband and two young children live and which she bought for £300,000 five years ago.

Smith claims she has done nothing wrong and her spokeswoman said "Jacqui has documentation to prove that everything is completely above board. It has been cleared by the Commons Fees Office". But the Orange Party is at a loss to understand whether this office scrutinises and clears expenses claims or merely makes a note of them.

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.

Once again it exposes the "morally dubious practice" of ministers on the take in what is nothing short of a commons scam.

The Orange Party could never understand how Smith suddenly popped up from nowhere and was handed the poisoned chalice of home secretary in the first place, when she stands no chance of holding onto her Redditch seat at the next general election. 

Since taking the powerful position, Smith has been snapped in a bullet-proof vest on the streets of London with armed police officers to show the streets are safe, while her political advisor has been slammed by a commons watchdog after ordering the release of misleading crime figures. 

At the same time as pushing through hugely distasteful and expensive ID cards, her department found time to get involved with the heavy mob's unwarranted raid on the commons offices of opposition spokesman, Damian Green. 

In other circumstances ministers caught playing these dirty tricks would be forced to resign but with ministers now so wrapped up in their own arrogance and self-interest and with the full backing of Brown, it seems anyone in a position of power caught fiddling expenses can easily ride out the storm. 

Picture: Tractor Stats

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