Osborne update: Standards commissioner ignores the facts

Oily Osborne has slithered away from any chance of a fraud investigation by the standards commissioner, but he will have to live with the allegation for the rest of his career.

Oily Osborne has slithered away from any chance of a fraud investigation by the standards commissioner, but he will have to live with the allegation for the rest of his career.

I believe I am one of many who received an email from the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards yesterday, turning down the call for an inquiry into possible expenses fraud by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Those of you who received it will be familiar with the wording. For those who didn’t, the relevant parts run as follows:

“The Commissioner has not accepted a complaint about Rt Hon George Osborne MP. There is therefore no current inquiry into Mr Osborne’s conduct.   “As you know, before she could inquire into allegations against a Member, the Commissioner would need evidence, sufficient to support an inquiry, that the Member might have breached the Code of Conduct and the rules of the House. The rules on Members’ overnight expenses have been tightened considerably since Mr Osborne’s original expenses claims, and the Commissioner would assess the allegations against the rules as they were at the time of the alleged conduct. Without evidence of a breach of those rules, which had not already been inquired into, the Commissioner would not open an investigation.”

Mine continued: “I am afraid I am unable to say what the police meant by their comments,” referring to my complaint to the Metropolitan Police and the strange response that it was being investigated elsewhere.

My first reaction was: How much evidence does the commissioner need? If he’s a villain, he’s hardly likely to sign a confession! We know Osborne claimed against his mortgage on the property in Cheshire and we know that the mortgage was for three land titles, not one. Therefore we deduce that he claimed money for Parliamentary duties taking place on at least two pieces of land where such duties could never have taken place, and the prima facie evidence (as the police would say) suggests further investigation is required.

Do we even have proof that Osborne ever actually used the Cheshire farmhouse to carry out Parliamentary duties? Whenever I have claimed expenses for a job, I have always had to produce proof of it. How has he used that house? When did he use that house? Where is the proof? If he met constituents, my understanding is that he used the Conservative office in the same building as the local Conservative Club (which is to close through lack of funding; interesting that Osborne is making out like a bandit while his local party suffers). Could he have travelled up from London, held those meetings, and travelled back within the same day? If so, then the farmhouse and the two pieces of land are now looking increasingly like long-term investments, maintained at cost to the taxpayer, that were to be sold at a later date for huge profit (as, in fact, they were).

Second reaction was: If the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner cannot investigate an open-and-shut fraud case (which is what this is) then what is the point of the office as it currently stands? On balance, it seems likely that Members of Parliament can continue to commit abuses of public money – and trust – and get away, free as a bird, in the current system. Therefore, with this decision it seems the commissioner, who only took up the post this month, is attempting a tacit resignation from it.

Let’s have a standards watchdog that actually investigates and prevents abuses, shall we? Maybe I’ll start an e-petition.

Third reaction was: Without a full and frank investigation, Osborne will always stand accused of expenses fraud and of abusing the trust placed in him as a member of Parliament. So, in fact, the commissioner has done him a great disservice. Mud always sticks, as the old saying goes. There’s no smoke without fire.

There’s no stink without a stinker, and in this case the odour can emanate from nobody else but Osborne.

He’ll never be able to live it down. And he’ll never be able to say that nobody raised the issue, because we have.

I think I might have a bit more work to do. For Osborne himself, as Churchill once said, “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”


  1. MaryMary January 23, 2013 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    What bothers me most is the weasel word ‘accepted’.

    • Mike Sivier January 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      As in “not”?
      Ha ha, I’m just laughing because Prime Minister’s Questions is on and Ed Miliband just referred to “the part-time Chancellor”, which is really appropriate to this article.

      • MaryMary January 23, 2013 at 1:27 pm - Reply

        Exactly. Unless things progress before I get time to do it, I’m planning to ask them what they mean by it – that nothing has been received? That they do not accept that whatever they have received should be treated as a complaint…..?

      • Fiona January 23, 2013 at 2:23 pm - Reply

        I watched too…. If either of the unelected parties destroying our country thinks they have a snow balls chance in hell of being elected in 2015, they are more delusional than I already think they are!. We need to be rid of these bunglers, crooks and Nazi’s before its too late and the country goes irrevocably down the pan! (and THOUSANDS more die!)

  2. john ingamells January 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    its pathetic from a body that was supposed to have teeth and the motivation to properly pursue wrongdoing. I am with you about the need for an actual watchdog that investigates, so doing, it might make the MP’s adopt the standards that should have already been applied in the aftermath of the telegraph revelations. I’m sure many of them feel free and untouchable! E-petition does sound as if its required as a start.

    • Fiona January 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      Great idea …. I think we would be surprised how many would sign it!

  3. Sarah Parker January 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    I agree with Fiona – i’m sure lots of people would sign it. I suggest yuo contact Private Eye as well. They have a wide readership and are good at pursuing this sort of thing.

  4. Martin Kroupa January 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    Shocking, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards trying to brush a possible fraud under the carpet. Sickening. If the fraud allegation was untrue, she could prove it and so clear Osbourne’s name. This is a kind of corruption that must be humiliating to every honest man in UK society for its undisturbed existence. These UK top criminals are acting worse than had those in the ex-Eastern European Block, we chased away in Czech Republic in 1989,
    Please do the e-petition. I sign it and get as many Czechs and Slovaks in UK as I can to join in.

  5. Robert Maguire January 23, 2013 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Transparency? Osborne is hardly Mr. Cellophane! Please start an e. petition. I will sign and share as much as I can. The Conservative Party have destroyed their credibility and are finished in U.K.politics. Blair and Cameron have made the U.K. a disaster area.Please get that petition up and running. Good luck.

    • Malcolm Burt January 23, 2013 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      In the light of the expose` on Parliamentary expenses a while ago,i am apalled by the negative response from their very own commissioner for standards.At the very least this should have investigated.Two things could then have been achieved.Firstly,that the commissioner was doing her job & Then deciding whether there had been a breach.If the commissioner has not accepted a complaint is she saying that she never received one?That aside,i`m sure that some one of mettle like Dennis Skinner would have revelled in this scenario.I will sign an e-petition if you start one because i believe that there is a case to account for.At least when other politicians have been in a similar situation large donations have been made to various charities.This guy has done nothing for anyone,except line his own pockets at the high price of a broken economy & treated those below him with utter contempt.

  6. rainbowwarriorlizzie January 26, 2013 at 7:01 am - Reply
  7. […] Met brushed off Vox Political‘s attempt to have George Osborne investigated for fraud, after he paid mortgage interest on a paddock with taxpayers’ money, claiming it was an allowable exp… – and then sold it off in a package with other land and a neighbouring farmhouse for around […]

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