Daily Archives: January 29, 2008

Crime and punishment, parliamentary style

MP Derek Conway fraudulently pays his son £40000 of taxpayers money. When it’s found out, he gets suspended for a few days (fairy nuff), and told to repay £13000. A clear message: if you’re an MP, fraud pays, even if you get caught.

I wonder how many other Honourable Members are thinking “there but for the grace of …“. Or why else would he get to keep 70% of his plunder?  Kind-of a plea bargain: admit to just enough to avoid a process noone wants to go through?

It looks a much simpler case than the government’s current funding troubles. The govt. is author of it’s own misfortunes (they made the rules they keep getting caught breaking), but I don’t understand the purpose of those rules sufficiently to comment[1]. Thus Conway’s abuse seems much more clear-cut. On the other hand, it’s a throwback to pre-Blair times, when sleaze came from individual MPs, not from the heart of government. That makes it less important.

[1] My suspicion is that the legislation was directed at big funding sources for other parties. That’s happened before, too.

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