...for their elected representatives.
Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury
"The moral authority of Parliament is at its lowest ebb in living memory. The latest revelations show it was not just a few MPs with their noses in the trough, but a culture of abuse."
Sir Alistair Graham describing the behaviour of the home secretary, Jacqui Smith
"One has to be careful with the word 'fraudulent'because in the criminal sense there needs to be guilty intent. However, it seems to me there may be intent here and in similar cases that have emerged. People seem to be thinking, 'What's the best way to use the system so I can maximise the personal financial return to myself?'"
Andrew Rawnsley, the Observer
"Under John Major, it was cash for questions. Under Tony Blair, it was cash for coronets. Under Gordon Brown, we reach the suitably bathetic nadir of cash for cleaners."
The Independent Leader article
"Like many of the trivial items for which MPs have claimed, however, they expose a system that is unsustainable. Jacqui Smith's 88p bath plug had already become an object of national ridicule and television satire. To it can now be added the 26p wooden spoon, the £599 bill for servicing a ride-on lawnmower, the £2.50 KitKat and the £10 bag of horse manure, among others."
Nick Cohen, Observer
Shaun Woodward, the richest man in the cabinet, still demanded that the public give him £100,000 in mortgage interest payments. Andy Burnham wanted £16,500 to buy and renovate a London flat. Keith Vaz claimed £75,000 for his flat despite having an expensive home a mere 12 miles away, while Greg Barker, from the Tories, went one better and made £320,000 after buying a flat with the help of taxpayers' money, then selling it on.
The Mail on Sunday
This Parliament has now lost all moral and political authority and ought, by rights, to dissolve itself. It is now not only the Government that has ceased to deserve our trust. So many members of the House of Commons have disgraced themselves so completely that their right to make laws for the rest of us has evaporated.
Norman Baker MP
"Today the reputation of Parliament, of MPs, perhaps even of our democratic system itself, is in tatters. Just when you think it can't get any worse, along comes another battering headline."
Why did David Miliband think it was reasonable to claim £199 for a pram and £80 for “baby essentials”? Why did the PM claim for children’s window blinds? Yes, their applications for reimbursement were rejected. But the point is that they made the applications in the first place. I marvel at the detachment and stupidity that this reflects. Both ministers are meant to be very clever. Could they not see how wrong it was to make such claims?
Murdo, Stornaway, UK
"The country has lost its trust and confidence in Parliament. Call an election now and give us a democracy we can believe in."