Lest we forget
May 31, 2009
FIFTEEN members of the Scottish Parliament have been shamed into repaying expenses they claimed for Remembrance Day wreaths. The MSPs – from the SNP, Labour and Liberal Democrats – reclaimed money that was paid to Poppyscotland and the Lady Haig Poppy Factory for the wreaths. Both charities raise funds for veterans.
It came as their actions were last night described as “immoral” and “dishonourable”, although it was pointed out by officials that they fell within parliament’s rules. MPs have been banned from claiming the cost of Remembrance Day wreaths since 2004.
The row has shifted the expenses focus on to Holyrood, which has been regarded largely as “clean” in comparison with Westminster, where MPs have been under siege over their claims. And last night, the scandal forced another MP to quit, with former Labour minister Elliot Morely announcing he would not seek re-election after claiming £16,800 in taxpayer-funded allowances for interest on a mortgage already paid off.
Mark Wallace, from the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said he was astounded MSPs would even consider claiming back money given to a veterans’ charity. “It is disgraceful that so many MSPs have claimed Remembrance Day wreaths on expenses and that it is allowed under Scottish Parliament rules,” he said.