Alistair Darling's Commons expenses are under scrutiny after it emerged that he has lavished £70,000 on his family home in Edinburgh.
The Chancellor claimed thousands of pounds in taxpayer-funded mortgage payments, household bills and goods by classing the £1.2million townhouse as his ‘second home'.
Before he became Chancellor, Mr Darling claimed that a small London flat - worth only around £150-a-week in rent - was his 'main home'.
Before becoming Chancellor in 2007, Mr Darling lodged with Labour Lord Lewis Moonie in a flat in south London.
Mr Darling, 55, lived at the understated £260,000 property in Lambeth from around 2003 until January 2005. According to Commons rules at the time, Mr Darling listed the flat as his 'main' home.
This enabled him to claim a total of £45,954 on his 'second home' - the family home he bought with his wife Maggie in 1998 for £570,000.
The large imposing building in the heart of Edinburgh’s most desirable areas is now estimated to be worth £1.2million.
Even after the Commons rules changed in 2004, he continued to claim that his flat share in London was his 'main home'.
In 2004/05, he claimed a further £15,341 to spend on his Scottish home. The next financial year he claimed a further £19,436 in second home allowance.
Over a five year period, the Chancellor claimed around £70,000 in second home allowance on his Edinburgh home.
Designating which home is your ‘main’ and ‘second’ residence can allow MPs to claim higher sums in expenses.
If Mr Darling had designated his Edinburgh family home as his main residence, he would only have been able to claim the potentially lucrative second home allowance for the rooms he rented in London.
This could have limited him to claiming only for rent, and the share of any bills.
However, the generous second home allowance — currently set at a tax-free £24,006 a year — can provide much bigger claims on larger, family properties.
They include the interest on any mortgage repayments, including mortgage interest payments increases on extra loans to pay for improvements or extensions.
They also include utility charges for heat, light and water, council tax, phone bills, maintenance and decoration.
Your humble Devil has not failed to notice the Tories' reticence in attacking Jacqui Smith for her disgusting behaviour, and I am pretty sure that they will keep schtum as far as Darling is concerned too. Why?
Because they are all at it. They are all buying second homes with our money; they are all using our money to redecorate and make improvements; they are all shovelling our hard-earned cash into their pockets just as quickly as they can.
It has to stop. We have tolerated MPs' perks up until now, because we hoped that they could be trusted not to abuse the system. But it seems that they cannot be trusted and so they should lose these privileges.
Because these are not expenses: they are benefits in kind. If your work were to buy you a second home, then you would be taxed on it; it is not necessary for you to have that home, it is not an expense incurred in carrying out your job.
Whilst I can claim back expenses when I go to visit a client, I cannot claim the money that I expend travelling to work: that would be a benefit in kind, and thus taxable.
Were you or your employer to try to conceal these benefits from the government's tax-collecting agents, you would be taken to court. How very different it is for our lords and masters: it is, in fact, almost the very definition of the concept of "one rule for us and another for them". Our rules dictate that we are taxed on benefits; they, on the other hand, have an exemption.
And not only have they got an exemption from taxation on such benefits, they are abusing the system to the very hilt. It is disgusting, absolutely fucking disgusting.
And there is only one solution: prosecution. Until these fuckers realise that defrauding the taxpayer can land them in a jail cell, being ritually and roughly sodomised, on a daily basis, by Big-Cocked Bubba The Phantom Bugger, they will continue to steal our money, abuse our trust and drag the reputation of our Parliament through the fucking dirt.
Perhaps we should start a campaign: I, for one, would like to hear a tape of Darling being called "darling" by a sex-starved, giant-cocked convict who has already used up his monthly lube ration...