A turbulent week for UK members of parliament embroiled in a scandal over their expenses has ended with Scotland Yard now considering whether to launch a criminal investigation. Yesterday saw Junior Justice Minister, Shahid Malik becoming the highest profile casualty. He has stepped down, not over expenses, but pending an inquiry that he paid below market rent for a house.
“Every MP has got to spend money according to their needs,” said Shahid Malik. “Some people won’t need a massage chair, they might need something else. I don’t apologise for any of that… That’s why I won’t be giving anything back to the authorities.” But the details of MP’s claims including in one case for mortgage tax relief when the loan had been paid off has angered many. The controversy is harming the reputations of all MPs including Labour’s leader, Gordon Brown as its erupted on his watch as premier. Despite the claims said to be mostly within parliamentary rules, there could be a voter backlash in the forthcoming European elections.