Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The UK gets tough on expenses fraud

In New Zealand, if you're an MP who steals from the taxpayer, everyone looks the other way, then the Prime Minister changes the rules to make it legal.

In the UK, you go to jail:

The former Labour MP David Chaytor behind bars tonight beginning an 18-month jail sentence after admitting claiming false parliamentary expenses.

Chaytor, who as MP for Bury North tried to cheat taxpayers out of more than £22,000, looked gaunt but impassive as Mr Justice Saunders at Southwark crown court told him the expenses scandal had "shaken public confidence in our legislature" and had "angered the public".

Its time we took a similarly hard line. Its not enough for MPs who steal from us to simply pay the money back and pretend it never happened (not that Bill English has even bothered doing that); they belong in a jail cell, not our Parliament.