Sir John Butterfill built a servants’ wing at his country home in Surrey for the gardener and his wife with taxpayers’ money.
In the beginning there was the viscount’s moat. Then, as the expenses saga developed, there was a floating duck island funded by the taxpayer on behalf of a knight of the shire.
And now, just as the nation was beginning to tire of the great 2009 expenses scandal, we have servants’ quarters paid for out of the public purse.
Sir John Butterfill, a Conservative grandee hoping to serve out his last year as the MP for Bournemouth West, Dorset, in some style, was last night having to embark on the rather vulgar business of explaining how the taxpayer paid for an extension which housed the gardener and the gardener’s wife.
To the horror of the Tory leadership, which believes the expenses claims of grandees are reviving old stereo-types, Butterfill appeared slightly confused as he explained that today’s Daily Telegraph had mistakenly claimed that he had servants. “It is a gross misrepresentation of what I said to the young lady at the Telegraph,” he told the BBC Newsnight programme as he denied having built servants’ quarters from his parliamentary allowance.