As the row about MPs Expenses starts up again, I do wonder if I'm the only one who doesn't understand the following:
If I were to 'accidentally' claim the full cost of a Buy to Let Mortgage on my Tax Return and then get found out, I wouldn't just be able to say to the Inland Revenue; "Oh sorry about that, I made a mistake because I didn't understand the rules; I'll pay it back"
No, they would say; "OK Mr Chalk and by the way we are fining you the same amount again as it is your responsibility to know the rules."
If I were an officer in the Armed Forces and was discovered to be claiming for something that I was not entitled to, I would be lucky to keep my position. Excuses involving the phrase; "I didn't realise" would simply not be accepted. Once again, it is considered the claimants responsibility to check what they allowed to claim for and if there is any doubt; not to do so.
Why are MPs considered to be above such sanctions? They didn't admit to wrongdoing, they were caught and then confessed to 'errors' and 'mistakes' without any real fear of punishment. Incredibly, some even tried to make a virtue of paying their stolen money back. Since when has paying back what you have dishonestly taken, been considered a punishment? Imagine a judge who said "OK Mr Scrote, just pay back the £50 you nicked from Mrs Miggins and we'll say no more about it."
The first leader to announce that they will unconditionally sack every one of their MPs found to have been wrongly claiming expenses, can have my vote next year. (ie I'll probably save myself a trip to the nearest Primary School)