Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

UK Politics

The Great <i>IoS</i> Expenses Quiz: Have you been paying attention?

We know it's hard, as we hit Day 45 of the expenses saga, to follow it all. As a catch-up service, John Rentoul provides his guide to what has been learned last week, in the form of a GCSE multiple-choice test (answers at bottom of page)


1. Black oblongs concealing sensitive information are called ?

(a) transparency

(b) redactions

(c) overzealous and counterproductive actions of an anonymous official.

2. A round robin circulated among disaffected Conservative MPs accused David Cameron of trying to "assert a hold over the party".

(a) half nelson

(b) Stalinist

(c) hypnotic.

3. Kitty Ussher resigned as Secretary to the Treasury.

(a) Economic

(b) Social

(c) Exchequer.

4. David Tredinnick, the Conservative MP for Bosworth, tried to claim £125 for a four-hour seminar .

(a) on "intimate relationships"

(b) about learning how to "honour the female and also the male essence and the importance of celebrating each"

(c) "because I thought it would help me to better understand the complex relationships that so often featured in the cases of constituents who had asked for my help".


1. David Cameron was "very sorry" for that led to £218.91 in mortgage overclaims.

(a) "having done nothing wrong"

(b) "an inadvertent mistake I made"

(c) "acting entirely within the rules".

2. George Osborne, shadow Chancellor, billed the taxpayer for the £47 cost of two copies of a DVD of his own speech entitled .

(a) "How to Minimise Your Capital Gains Tax Liability"

(b) "Value for Taxpayers' Money"

(c) "Memories of the Bullingdon Club".

3. Michael Martin, the outgoing Speaker, said on Wednesday: "I wish that party leaders would have shown then some of the that they have shown now."

(a) clean pair of heels

(b) embarrassing receipts

(c) leadership.

4. Ed Balls, the Children's Secretary, claimed £7.99 for a book called .

(a) Reasons to be Cheerful

(b) Living with Disappointment

(c) He's Just Not That Into You.


1. To date, 182 MPs – of the membership of the House of Commons – have paid back a total of £478,616.

(a) hardly any

(b) between one quarter and one third

(c) they're all at it.

2. Elliot Morley, who resigned over £17,000 overclaimed on his mortgage, has now discovered another overpaid.

(a) not very much really

(b) the sort of amount you could easily not notice

(c) £20,000.

3. Margaret Moran, the "dry rot" MP, claimed £346 for 46 square yards of material called .

(a) sheer effrontery

(b) Indulgence Indulgence

(c) fire blanket.

4. Lembit Opik, Lib Dem MP, claimed £30 for from Hamleys.

(a) two fancy dress wigs

(b) Cheeky Girl Barbie

(c) Lego proportional representation kit.


1. Tony Blair claimed £6,990 to repair the roof of his constituency home .

(a) two days before standing down as PM and an MP

(b) yes, but the work was done six months earlier

(c) I thought I told Gordon to keep this secret.

2. Hazel Blears survived a on Thursday night.

(a) rise in sea level

(b) crisis of self doubt

(c) vote of no confidence of her local party.

3. The Metropolitan Police confirmed on Friday that it would be investigating .

(a) expenses claims of a "handful" of MPs and peers

(b) the case for war in Iraq

(c) allegations of the sale of peerages.

4. Margaret Beckett's attempt to claim for was blacked out this week, although it was published in full in response to a separate freedom of information request last year.

(a) Practical Caravan magazine

(b) a tiara

(c) plants and pergola.

Answers: Vocabulary: 1b; 2b; 3c; 4a, b and c. Quotations: 1b; 2c; 3b; 4a. Maths: 1b; 2c; 3b; 4a. History: 1a and b; 2c; 3a; 4c.

How did you do?

0-4 If you are an MP, you are in denial and you ought to check your bills at once. If you are not an MP, you should be ashamed of yourself. Don't you realise that there is a witch-hunt on?

5-8 Pass grade. You don't believe in clouding your judgement with too many facts.

9-12 Well done. You are a well-informed citizen who takes an active interest in current affairs. Where are you going with that pitchfork?

12-16 You are obviously an MP. You do not have time to read this. You should be checking your bills.