So, three peers of the realm have been caught fiddling their expenses to the tune of £192,000. After much deliberation, a committee of Peers, has decided to slap them on the wrist, make them pay it back, and suspended them for a few months. Is this a fair punishment? No it is not. It is a disgraceful reaction to a very serious offence. What sort of message does this send out?
There is not a contract of employment in existence in the land that does not state that stealing is a sackable offence – and let’s not beat about the bush, fiddling expenses is stealing. The message is clear – one rule for them, and another for us.
What is disappointing about this whole affair is that the ‘fiddlers three’ have totally failed to understand that if you are put in a position of responsibility, and particularly if you have been elevated to the peerage, you are expected to show a good example. You are supposed to be someone we should admire, someone who understands about example, who takes their responsibilities seriously, and above all is honest and trustworthy.
The fiddlers three have failed on all counts. Surely their position demands that their punishment should be more severe? This is a massive betrayal of trust. Prefects at school who transgressed were summarily ‘depreed’, these three need ‘depeered’. Respect for the upper chamber has just taken another tumble.