The rooms at the Palace of Westminster tonight are occupied by weary and despondent MPs, waiting for the last vote of the night on the Finance Bill and finally getting round to looking through the paper copies of their expenses forms. Or at least when we left the tearoom that's where we all said we were going. One senior MP said it had taken him 7 hours to do his, although I can't really see why as it's taken me less than an hour to do everything except the second homes stuff, which in terms of paperwork is actually the smallest bundle. We used to get the office windows cleaned every week - a situation I inherited from the previous MP, along with her office. It was ages before I even realised that. (I hope you will appreciate I had other priorities in the first few years after being elected and my office manager dealt with those invoices). I obviously have lower standards as we now get them cleaned on an 'as needed' basis - i.e. never.
I am going to try to post everything on the website by the end of the week; obviously not all the pages, because there are hundreds of invoices for things like pens and paper clips, but a clear summary of the bits people would be interested in. Spoke to David Laws in the lift today, as had heard he'd already done it. He has, he's told me, posted details of his 2008-09 claims too, so I will attempt to do that. (I say 'attempt' - if I fail it will be because of my inferior grasp of technology, not any more sinister reason!)
As for commenting on the various announcements and further revelations today, I will leave that until I've worked out what's going on. I do think Andrew George is unfortunate in having a very attractive daughter, in that it means his story is bound to get far more coverage than it would do otherwise.
There you go, that's the division bell. Last vote of the night, I hope.