Simon Carr:

The Sketch: All he wanted was proper advice...

Share
Related Topics

In Parliamentary terms Tony McNulty is an overweight bully with the mentality of a thug. Yes, yes, it takes one to know one.

He came to the House to apologise for his expenses. For the life of me, I couldn't see why. Clearly he had done nothing wrong. There were some problems with "perception", he admitted, and the "appearance of benefit". But that didn't seem to be his fault. Far from it. If we are going to play the blame game, it was to the discredit of obervers who jumped to the wrong conclusion.

All he'd asked for was proper advice, the poor fellow.

There was some reference to the committe's decision that his, "mortgage as a fixed cost that didn't need to be abated". We didn't understand that. It's some sort of accounting mish-mash of jargon that just confused the issue. Bureaucrats! It was over this that the Commission were disagreeing with the Resources Office – so one of them was obviously wrong. The only blameless party was poor Tony McNulty who had come to the House to apologise for their faulty advice, delinquent oversight and perverse interpretations.

A boot-faced Jackie Smith looked down from the row behind. Her apology for marital porn on the public purse hadn't gone nearly as well, although she had been saying much the same.

The newspapers suggest Tony had been living with his parents in Harrow although he was actually living with his wife in Hammersmith so why he should be repaying £13,000 of the £60,000 he had claimed was the product of a selflessness we rarely see in public life? It's hard not to blame the Prime Minister. Habit is a powerful master. His solution to the expenses problem has been to appoint three competing investigators or authorities who have struggled to out-perform each other. One lot was so incompetent they wouldn't survive a professional audit and another has recommended a set of regulations that won't survive an employment tribunal ruling.

Prohibiting MPs from employing their wives is illegal. Employment law being what it is, these employees will be entitled to claim for wrongful dismissal and will get five years' pay. Multiply £25,000 by five years and 250 employees and you'll get enough to run any amount of TA training.

The third lot, the new overseeing body is the final indignity. Parliamentary supremacy is further confined by these civil servants – who are in turn constrained by the decisions of an employment tribunal. It's hard to imagine how much lower our sovereign body can sink.

There are democratic solutions to their problems, especially with the internet. But the instincts of our rulers go quite the other way, into the warren of commissions, authorities and tribunals.

The worse for them, in the end, I bet.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

For all his faults, Russell Brand is utterly sincere, something politicians should emulate

Janet Street-Porter
 

Never underestimate the power of the National Trust

Boyd Tonkin
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss