Friday, May 22, 2009

MPs' expenses: Anthony Steen claims people just jealous of his large house

David Cameron's attempt to paint the Tories as somehow reformed from the party of the eighties has taken a bit of beating during the recent MP's expenses scandal, as many senior Tory's have shown themselves as utterly out of touch with the public mood.

Take Anthony Steen, the Tory grandee who is having to step down for spending nearly £90,000 on his second home over four years - for gardening - in his MP's expenses claims. What does he think is behind the public outrage over MP's claiming huge expenses over and above their wages? Well, firstly, he thinks it's the Labour party's fault:

"We have a wretched Government here which has completely mucked up the system and caused the resignation of me and many others, because it was this Government that introduced the Freedom of Information Act and it is this Government that insisted on the things which caught me on the wrong foot.

"What right does the public have to interfere with my private life? None."

So, he has the right to make claims for nearly £90,000 worth of gardening expenses on his second home, which he expects the tax payers to foot the bill for, but he regards it as an outrage that the public should have any right at all to question his need to spend almost £90,000 of their money on his shrubbery.

Indeed, were it not for the "wretched" Labour party and their Freedom of Information Act then all of this would have remained out of the public gaze, which is how people like Steen think things should have remained. He could have gone on making such claims, the public would have been utterly unaware of it, and we'd all have been much happier just dithering along in utter ignorance of what MP's were doing with our money.

Over four years Mr Steen claimed £87,729, including payments for tree surgery, guarding his shrubs against rabbits, maintaining a separate cottage and overhauling his private sewage system.

And he sees nothing wrong in that. Indeed, he thinks that jealousy is what is motivating the public outrage.
Steen: I have done nothing criminal. That's the most awful thing. And do you know what this is about? Jealousy. I've got a very, very large house. Some people say it looks like Balmoral, it's the photographs. It looks like Balmoral. It's a Merchants house of the nineteenth century, it's not particularly attractive, it just does me nicely.


Q: Can you understand why there has been this outcry?


Steen: As far as I am concerned, and as of this day, I don't know what the fuss is about.
He then compares the current outrage to an episode of Coronation Street.

He likened the events of the past two weeks to an episode of Coronation Street, with MPs waiting by the telephones between 3pm and 4pm to find out if they were going to feature in the next day's edition of The Daily Telegraph.

You can listen to the interview here:


Click title for full article.


nunya said...

Ah, the elite. They crack me up, lol

Kel said...

I love the fact that he thinks the public have no right to know about his private life, even as he pilfers £90,000 of their money.

He much preferred the good old days, when it was all run like a gentleman's club.