Army kit fury inspired expenses mole

Author: Press Association

The civilian employee broke ranks to reveal how politicians were lavishing
millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on second homes and phantom
mortgages.

The Daily Telegraph said the mole, who has not been named, took the action
after being involved in the processing of MPs’ expenses files – at the same
time as serving soldiers were “moonlighting” as security guards at
his office to earn extra money for body armour and other equipment.

It said the soldiers’ “fury” at the way MPs were “lavishing
taxpayers’ money on their second homes” led to the decision to leak the
data, via a middleman, to the newspaper.

The account appears in the book No Expenses Spared, which will be published
today.

The newspaper said: “The man behind the leak – who is a civilian – has
broken cover to tell his story for the first time, in the hope that it will
shame the Government into finally supplying the right equipment for soldiers
risking their lives in Afghanistan.”

The MPs’ expenses revelations, published in the Daily Telegraph, led to
widespread recriminations.

It exposed the “flipping” of second homes, expense claims on paid up
mortgages and tax avoidance. Moat cleaning and a duck island were among the
things MPs claimed public money for.

The newspaper said employees at The Stationery Office “became so agitated
that they had to be told by managers to calm down” after reading the
claims.

They had been involved in processing the files for censorship before their
intended publication by parliament.

The newspaper said one file that “particularly enraged” the
employees was Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s claim for a Sky TV sports
package, which cost £36 per month.

It said the mole was angered by politicians who, five months after the
expenses scandal broke, “still don’t get it”, and were still more
concerned about their own financial affairs than the plight of troops.

The mole said: “It’s not easy to watch footage on the television news of
a coffin draped in a Union Jack and then come in to work the next day and
see on your computer screen what MPs are taking for themselves.

“Hearing from the serving soldiers, about how they were having to work
there to earn enough money to buy themselves decent equipment, while the MPs
could find public money to buy themselves all sorts of extravagances, only
added to the feeling that the public should know what was going on.

“That helped tip the balance in the decision over whether I should or
should not leak the expenses data.”

Asked on Sky News if he understood the motivation for the expenses leak, Mr
Brown said: “I don’t think so.”

He added: “MPs have got to live in two places at once – that is a big
problem.

“As far as the troops in Afghanistan are concerned, right throughout the
period I have been Chancellor and then Prime Minister, I have been
determined to make sure that the troops that are serving our country are
properly paid, that we make proper allowance for them, that we give them the
best equipment, that we help them in every way possible.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said its “top priority” was to
provide servicemen and women fighting in Afghanistan with “the best
equipment”.

He said: “Every soldier who deploys to Afghanistan receives Osprey body
armour and a Mark 6a helmet.

“They also receive a black bag containing all their operational
requirements. Valued at £3,500, it contains everything a soldier will need
from boots and socks to camel backs.”

A MoD source cast doubt on the mole’s claim that serving soldiers were working
at The Stationary Office’s headquarters where the job of redacting more than
1.5 million MPs’ expenses receipts was carried out.

The source said there are strict rules governing second jobs for troops – they
must be declared and soldiers must have the permission of their commanding
officers.

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