Excessive expenses claims by members of parliament were leaked earlier this year by workers angry that not enough was being spent on equipment for British troops, The Daily Telegraph said today.
Some staff who processed the MPs’ claims included serving soldiers trying to earn extra cash for body armour and boots between tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the newspaper, which first reported the claims in May, Reuters reports.
“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,” the Telegraph quoted a mole as saying.
“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.”
Politicians from all parties were subjected to weeks of disclosures about claims for expenses from dog food and adult films to a bathplug and cleaning a moat in a scandal that effectively ended the careers of more than a dozen MPs.
The Telegraph said its source wanted to tell his story to shame the government into improving equipment for soldiers risking their lives.
A senior army officer who was also critical of equipment standards for British troops in Afghanistan resigned yesterday.
General Andrew Mackay was appointed head of the army in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland in June after commanding the Helmand Task Force in Afghanistan from October 2007 until April 2008.
“We can confirm that Major General Andrew Mackay has decided to leave the army and it’s a personal matter for him,” a Defence Ministry spokesman said.
Mackay was awarded the CBE for his role in the recapture of the strategic Afghan town of Musa Qala from the Taliban in December 2007.
Pic: British troops in their army gear