British govt paid for loo seats, horse manure | world | Hindustan Times
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British govt paid for loo seats, horse manure

It has all the makings of a Monty Python sketch prim British lawmakers caught in a farce over expense claims for everything from X-rated movies to a bathtub plug.

world Updated: May 09, 2009 23:31 IST

It has all the makings of a Monty Python sketch prim British lawmakers caught in a farce over expense claims for everything from X-rated movies to a bathtub plug.

But reality has come home to roost in the often absurd world of Her Majesty’s government. Friday’s leaked list of lawmaker expenses has levelled another blow to Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government, which has been blamed for a litany of problems ranging from the Iraq war to recession.

According to the details published by Britain’s Daily Telegraph, Brown paid his brother Andrew more than 6,500 pounds ($9,800) in two years for a maid the two shared when Brown was Britain’s Treasury chief. The newspaper declined to say how it had obtained expense claims from 13 ministers but promised to roll out more in the coming days.

Home Office Secretary Jacqui Smith expensed two X-rated movies her husband watched, which she later repaid. Housing minister and former Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett claimed 600 pounds ($900) for hanging plant baskets. And former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott claimed 300 pounds ($450) over two years to fix broken toilet seats.

One Tory lawmaker expensed fertilizer used on his country house garden while a different lawmaker put in for cans of cat food.

Rules governing British lawmaker expenses are laid out in the 66-page Green Book a guide sent to every legislator. It sets limits on expense claims, such as a 25 pound ($38) cap on eating out when away from home and how much can be claimed toward a second home, usually a residence in London. AP