Is the “following the rules” defence really valid?
The Additional Costs Allowance reimburses “for expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred when staying overnight away from their main UK residence…for the purposes of performing Parliamentary duties. This excludes expenses that have been incurred for purely personal or political purposes.”
The Green Book 2009:
Members are cautioned against instances “where they may appear to be vulnerable to criticism or accusations of impropriety.” It also reminds MPs that their conduct should be placed concepts of “selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, leadership.”
I am grateful to Ben Brogan’s “expenses crib sheet” for digging out the relevant information into what exactly the rules are.
For on reading them and looking at the reports in the Telegraph over the past two days it’s hard to reconcile all the “I was following the rules” defences against the wording of the regulations themselves.
One assumes that when they submitted their expense claims the individual MPs had to sign something to state that their claims for reimbursement were in line with what’s laid down. Were the claims in every case “…exclusively and necessarily incurred when staying overnight away from their main UK residence…for the purposes of performing Parliamentary duties.”? That surely is the test.