Well – I got my ‘letter’ from Sir Thomas Legg on Monday (I did tweet) with reference to whether MPs would have to pay back money etc. All clear!
‘In your case, having examined the records in the light of my interpretation of the rules and standards in force at the time, I have not identified any payments made to you under the ACA during the review period which I consider call for any repayment or further supporting evidence to be provided by you. Accordingly, my conclusion is that no action is required from you in this matter.”
NB The Review period was from 2004-5 to 2008-09
So now I’ve been ‘sainted’ by the Telegraph, pronounced ‘squeaky’ clean by my local press and got my ‘all clear’ from Sir Thomas. But it still feels dreadful in Parliament – the atmosphere is depressed and subdued and the body politic is merely limping along.
And there seems to be no end to the problems of the expenses scandal – from the rumblings amongst some MPs about the changing of rules retrospectively like on cleaning and gardening (albeit that many MPs complaining about retrospective rules have voted for retrospective legislation for others), but also about what Sir Thomas has actually been focusing on within his remit of examining how the ACA (additional cost allowance – which is for second homes etc) was used.
I watched my own Leader, Nick Clegg, on GMTV this morning being very fierce about Sir Thomas looking at the very wrong but relatively small offences – but completely ignoring the big issues around avoiding Capital Gains Tax, flipping and so on which may have netted small fortunes. Those remain untouched. Nick has a good point – and it’s one of the real issues around all of this endless quagmire we are swimming around in – nothing is final, cleansing or absolute – so it can never end.
Until we go to the polls – this will run and run – so the sooner the better!