MPs’ expenses: how disbelief turned to anger among workers hired to process claims

ABOVE: PARASITE: (Chambers English Dictionary) A creature which obtains food and physical protection from a host which never benefits from its presence.

For the two dozen parliamentary staff, civil servants and security guards who filed into a small room at The Stationery Office in July 2008, the task of processing countless thousands of MPs’ expense receipts seemed to promise nothing more than months of tedium.

But in the days and weeks that followed, the prevailing mood among them was one of disbelief, and then anger, as they discovered that MPs were claiming millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to feather their nests with almost every luxury money can buy.

The workers became so incensed as they pored over receipts for home cinema systems, new kitchens, food, furniture and second homes that managers had to order them not to tell any of their friends or family about what they had seen.

What the managers did not know until months later was that one of the people hired to help conceal details of the MPs’ greed by “redacting” the receipts decided that the public had a right to know what their money was being spent on.

The mole has broken his silence to describe for the first time why he decided to risk the wrath of Parliament by leaking the expenses files, through an intermediary, to The Daily Telegraph.

Read on

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