I have just realised that the man appointed to head the formal investigation of MPs’ expenses is Sir Thomas Legg. That removes any possible doubt that this will be a total whitewash. I suppose it was impossible to expect that a genuinely independent minded figure of authority would be appointed.
I have come across the odious Legg before, and been interviewed by him in a previous inquiry, as detailed in The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known.
“Robin Cook had announced an independent inquiry into what lessons could be learned, to be conducted by Sir Thomas Legg and Sir Robin Ibbs. Cook had now lost control, and with No 10 driving, the “Independent” inquiry was a complere stitch-up – the first in a long line of Blair whitewashes that were to include the Butler and Hutton inquiries.” Catholic Orangemen p63.
Sir Thomas Legg, quintessential insider, the Establishment Man’s Establishment Man: as unctuous a piece of slime as ever slithered around the corridors of Whitehall. In his “Independent” Arms to Africa inquiry he exonerated mercenary Tim Spicer and Executive Outcomes against the evidence and after taking direct instruction from No 10 on the kind of whitewash to produce. I have no doubt he has done so again now.
He will find that the vast majority of MPs acted “Within the rules” and that any mistakes by Ministers were “In good faith”. You read it here – now you don’t need to read the report.
Legg’s line in corrupt smoothing over does not come cheap. In this new era of openness and accountability it would be interesting to know how much Legg is being paid.