MPs' hollow claims on expenses exposed in UK

MPs' hollow claims on expenses exposed in UK

The mole, who was paid 110,000 pounds ($176,000) by the newspaper, said he was motivated by anger over the expenses claims for things like manure, biscuits and pornographic films rather than financial gain, the paper reported.

Soldiers employed as security guards in the office where public workers were blacking out parts of the claims for publication were also upset by the claims, the report added.
Some of them were working between tours of Iraq and Afghanistan to earn extra money to pay for body armour, boots and gloves, the paper said.

“It is not easy to watch footage on the television news of a coffin draped in a Union Jack and then come in to work the next day and see on your computer screen what MPs (members of parliament) are taking for themselves,” the daily quoted the unidentified mole as saying.

“Hearing from the serving soldiers, about how they were having to work there to earn enough money to buy themselves decent equipment, while the MPs could find public money to buy themselves all sorts of extravagances, only added to the feeling that the public should know what was going on.”

The revelations about MPs’ expenses infuriated voters, eroded support for all the main parties and effectively ended the careers of more than a dozen lawmakers.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, trailing in the opinion polls before an election due by June 2010, has described the episode as “the biggest parliamentary scandal for two centuries”.

The Telegraph said its source wanted to tell his story to shame the government into improving the equipment provided for soldiers risking their lives in Afghanistan, where the British military death toll since 2001 reached 217 earlier this week. The defence ministry said it already gave troops the right equipment.

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