Still protesting too much

Mr Wills — who is suspending his website in a few days’ time because he can nolonger use our money to subsidise his political ramblings there — like so many of his colleagues just does not understand the public outrage over MPs’ expenses. Like many, he continues to protest his innocence for financial errors — errors which if made by his constituents would get little if any sympathy from the state.

To Mr Wills there’s nothing wrong with using a disallowed claim as an excuse for not paying back an overpayment of expenses.

[A] series of accounting mistakes result[ed] in double payments of claims by the Fees Office. I deducted from the repayment the amount I was owed by the Fees Office for receipted train fares to and from my constituency. The Fees Office has still not paid this because they say the claims were submitted 16 days after a deadline they had imposed, despite the fact they are entitled to waive the deadline.

Imagine missing a deadline for filing details for a tax claim, then using that as an excuse for not paying income tax. It wouldn’t work: the Inland Revenue would not be sympathetic; neither, I suspect, would Mr Wills. Yet he expects our sympathy for doing much the same thing.

By the standards of many of his MP colleagues, Mr Wills has been relatively well behaved financially. But when it comes to understanding the mood of the electorate on this issue, he’s as out-of-touch as the rest of them.