Doesn’t it just make you balk … … ?
From Private Eye : http://www.private-eye.co.uk/news
“THERE were plenty of opportunities for holier-than-thou posturing after the dégringolade of two former foreign secretaries whose self-importance had left them with few friends in the Tea Room.
John Bercow set the sanctimonious tone. “People should not be in parliament to add to their personal fortune,” he sermonised. “It may well be that errors of judgment have been made. If that is so, then they will cop it, they will face the music, they will suffer a penalty.”
Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind had not actually made any money, of course, merely said they would like to. So whom was Speaker Bercow thinking of when he castigated the unpardonable greed of MPs who had added “to their personal fortune” since being elected?
Mortgage interest racket
Surely not the Rt Hon Member for Buckingham, John Bercow, who netted £40,000 a year as “adviser” to the owners of the Priory, where celebs go for rehab; nor the John Bercow MP who twice avoided having to pay capital gains tax on the sale of a house by telling HM Revenue & Customs it was his main residence but telling the Commons finance department it was a second home and thus eligible for the mortgage interest-only claim racket. After the expenses scandal in 2009, he agreed to pay back more than £6,500.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg – then in opposition – asked Bercow to make sure the use of public money to take massive interest-only mortgages would be fully investigated in the review set up at the time. Bercow, apparently not then so censorious about MPs enriching themselves, refused. “Extending the review to cover changes of home designations for personal gain and the payment of capital gains tax,” he said, “would unquestionably involve significant retrospective changes to the rules on allowances.”
Treble sighs of relief all round from figures such as Labour MP Sir Kevin Barron, who added £500,000 to his personal fortune by maxing out a publicly-funded mortgage on a Westminster flat which he then sold at a vast profit (Eyes passim). These days Sir Kevin enjoys a £15,000 bonus to his parliamentary salary, more than twice Ed Miliband’s proposed “second job” limit, as chairman of the standards committee – which will now sit in judgment on Messrs Straw and Rifkind. Isn’t life five-hundred grand? “