In retrospect I chose the wrong fortnight to be on holiday. But from my Cornish vantage point I couldn’t help wondering who had inadvertently come out of the expenses saga smelling of roses.
Firstly the central London MPs. They couldn’t claim the additional cost allowance so there was never any temptation – unlike those in outer London. Thus Harriet Harman sails through unscathed.
Secondly is none other than Lord Mandelson, the business secretary and one of the most powerful members of cabinet. Mandelson had the good fortune of spending the four years in question in Brussels and therefore has no embarrassing expenses by default. He emerges squeaky clean.
On the subject of Europe, my colleague Jean Eaglesham reports today that Labour MEPs will have to publish receipts for claims made under their office allowance. They will also have to publish their travel costs and the number of times they have claimed the E298 daily attendance allowance. The catch? This will only apply to future expense claims.