Parliament: "By far the most expensive piece of legislation ever to go through Parliament" is uncovered by Peter Lilley MP
Today's must-read: Do S&P have faith in the Conservatives?
"Look at the exact words of the warning from Standard & Poor’s. It states: “The rating [of the UK] could be lowered if we conclude that, following the election, the next government’s fiscal consolidation plans are unlikely to put the UK debt burden on a secure downward trajectory over the medium term.” Now, which party is thought almost certain to be in power “following the election”? That’s right: Standard & Poor’s is in effect saying that it has considerable doubts about whether the Conservatives will “put the UK debt burden on a secure downward trajectory”. This is not so surprising, really. David Cameron abandoned his cherished policy of matching Labour’s spending commitments “until 2011” only at the end of last year. Although the Tory leader repeatedly charges Brown with not mending the roof while the sun was shining, his own policy at the time was to say that there was indeed no need to mend the roof. Like Brown, he thought that the sun would keep on shining – even if he didn’t share the view that it was Gordon who actually made the weather so splendid." – Dominic Lawson in The Sunday Times
> Thursday's ToryDiary: Where is the debt reduction plan?
Standard & Poor’s warning that it could downgrade its rating for British government debt is unworthy of us as a nation, says George Trefgarne in The Sunday Telegraph
Will Julie Kirbride be the fifth victim of expenses-gate?
"Tory MP Andrew MacKay's political career is in ruins today after David Cameron ordered him to resign from the Commons over his expenses claims… Members of Mr MacKay's local association were furious to discover that despite representing the area since 1983, he had never lived locally – yet was still claiming a second-home allowance of £23,083 a year on the London home he shared with his wife and fellow Tory MP Julie Kirkbride, 48. At the same time, she was claiming a further £22,575 a year on a home in her constituency of Bromsgrove, Worcestershire." – Mail on Sunday
"The husband and wife Tory MPs who have been "double-dipping" expenses so the taxpayer funds BOTH their homes were last night caught up in a new scandal. Julie Kirkbride and Andrew Mackay are letting her brother live rent-free in their mansion flat that WE pay for, the News of the World can reveal."
> Yesterday's Seats and candidates: Andrew MacKay becomes fourth Tory victim of expenses-gate
Derek Conway claimed for £160 pigskin wallet… but was rejected
"Some of Mr Conway’s m
ore surprising claims include £160 for a pigskin wallet from the Smythson luxury goods store on Bond Street, £165 for a rollerball pen from Mont Blanc in Sloane Square, and £84 for an engineer to retune the television at his London home.
All were rejected by Commons officials." – The Sunday Telegraph
Ex-Tory Quentin Davies claimed £10,033 for window frames
"Defence Minister and ex-Tory MP Quentin Davies claimed £10,000 of taxpayers' money for repairs to window frames at his "second home" – an 18th century mansion." – Mirror
Iain Duncan Smith and Philip Hollobone get good ratings for economy
"Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, is one of the outer
London MPs who is eligible for a taxpayer-funded second home, but he
commutes from his Chingford and Woodford Green constituency rather than
joining the gravy train. Last year he claimed nothing at all for his
additional costs allowance. In previous years he had claimed for
occasional hotel stays." – The Sunday Telegraph
A day in the life of Britain's cheapest MP, Philip Hollobone – Sunday Express
The Telegraph defends its publication of MPs' expenses
"The European and local elections in June may well lead to voters registering their disgust at what they see as the complacent political establishment by voting for the fringe parties. We hope that, if so, the beneficiaries do not include those parties, such as the BNP, that represent the negation of the values – tolerance, decency, openness and honesty – Britons should stand for. But the rejection of the main parties, if it happens, will have one positive and necessary effect: it will force MPs to do some very fundamental thinking about their own role, and their relationship with the people who elect them." – Sunday Telegraph leader
The Observer profiles Will Lewis, Editor of The Telegraph; "He could go down in history as the man who shook Parliament to the core".
MPs should "spare us the sob stories"
"Every single time a Nadine Dorries or Anthony Steen open their mouths to blame the media, the Freedom of Information Act, or simply state that it’s nobody’s business what they spend taxpayers’ cash on, they’re digging a political grave for every single one of them." – Wales on Sunday
Nick Clegg "says his party's misdemeanours are more "laughable and ridiculous" than "crooked and fraudulent"." – Independent on Sunday
Half of MPs likely to be new after General Election
"At least half of the House of Commons’ 646 MPs will be swept away at
the general election, as voters take revenge on the political classes
for the expenses scandal. The departure of 325 members of parliament as
a result of forced resignations, retirement and defeat at the polls
would represent the biggest clear-out of parliament since 1945." – The Sunday Times
John Bercow's Speaker bid under fire
"In a remarkable political role-reversal, Mr Cameron is determined to stop Mr Bercow being Speaker because of his New Labour links. During Mr Cameron's leadership campaign in 2005, Mr Bercow launched an outspoken attack on his credentials, saying 'Eton, hunting, shooting and lunch at Whites' made Mr Cameron the wrong man for the job." – Mail on Sunday
A leader in the Mail on Sunday attacks John Bercow's candidacy for Speaker: "It is low politics, plainly designed as vengeance on the Tories for bringing down a Labour Speaker."
Ann Widdecombe sets out her anger at expenses abuse – Mail on Sunday
Michael Gove: We need to reduce the power of the whips
"One of the aspects of Commons life even the keenest outside observer will find hard to spot, but every member knows intimately, is the power of the party whips and the internal disciplines which constrain democratic life. So reform will have to see the whips, and the party leaderships, relinquish their control of Select Committees and other crucial aspects of Commons life so the independent-minded guardians of the public interest are freer to hold the powerful to account." – Michael Gove MP in Scotland on Sunday
Why do three out of four Tory candidates for becoming Welsh MEPs live outside Wales? – Wales on Sunday
Don't vote BNP: "Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu said it would
be "tragic" if people abstained or voted BNP at the local and European
elections on 4 June." – BBC
Don't vote UKIP: Leader Nigel Farage boasts of his £2m in expenses – Observer
Brown calls Blair in to No 10 for secret talks as crisis mounts – The Independent on Sunday
Former Labour Chairman quits
"Former Labour party chairman Ian McCartney has also announced he will step down at the next general election because of "health problems". However, his decision comes just days after the disclosure that he returned almost £15,000 worth of his own expenses claims last year." – Sky
Peter Hitchens: We don't need a General Election now
"The last thing we need now is a General Election which would bury the real problem under the slurry of Lib-Lab-Con politics, with the three near-identical parties pretending to be different for a few noisy, dishonest weeks." – Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday
Arsenal striker Andrey Arshavin leads revolt against Labour's 50p tax rate – Mail on Sunday
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