The row over Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's £116,000 Commons expenses has grown after neighbours challenged her claims about how much time she spends at lodgings with her sister in London.
Calls for an inquiry into Ms Smith's expenses were turned down after Parliament's sleaze watchdog accepted her assertion that her London 'digs' are her 'main home' because she is there most of the week - not at the family home in the Midlands where her husband and children live.
But Ms Smith's account has now been flatly contradicted by neighbours in South London who say she is often there for as few as two nights a week and spends little time there during the long parliamentary recesses.
And how would the neighboours know, we ask...?
Mr Taplin, 46, who works from home, said: 'You can tell when she is here because the police guards arrive first. They turn up mid-morning on Monday and leave mid-morning on Thursday.
'I cannot recall when they have been here any other nights of the week. I find her behaviour extraordinary.'
Both Mr and Mrs Taplin say they are prepared to give evidence if there is an official inquiry into Ms Smith's expenses.
Excellent. Can we get that enquiry going now then?
The Home Secretary's version of events came under further pressure after she refused to say if she had paid capital gains tax - liable on second homes - on the house she and her husband Richard Timney sold in Redditch five years ago.
This would, of course, be straight tax evasion (yes, that's the illegal one) and Ms Smith should find herself being prosecuted for "real" fraud (as oppposed to "fake" fraud, which is when an MP defrauds the taxpayer. This is, apparently, counted as something like "a breach of etiquette" since one can only conclude, given the attitude of the authorities, that stealing taxpayers' money does not count as fraud).
Nor would she say if she had obtained a council tax discount - available to people who do not live at their 'main home' - on her Midlands property. Ms Smith's local council also refused to discuss this.
If her Midlands property is her second home, then she will have received a Council Tax discount. I wonder if the Council Tax on her Midlands home is higher than that on her sister's south London flat? I am pretty fucking sure that the answer to that is "yes".
This woman is a cheat and a liar. And if she really is telling the truth, may I suggest that we settle the matter in the old English way—through a court of law.
Can we bring a prosecution on behalf of defrauded taxpayers? I don't know, but it seems that the Crown is certainly not interested in doing so. So, who will speak for us?
Perhaps the Taxpayers' Alliance, a pressure group that claims to operate on behalf of the British taxpayer, would like to examine the evidence, ask for donations and bring a private prosecution against this cheating, thieving harpy...?