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Friday 25 March 2011

Over And Out Goes Dover

Expenses. MPs and their occasionally over-zealous claiming of them has resulted in an overhaul of the system, with a few individuals even being handed prison sentences. But the amounts, getting into five figures on occasion, have been dwarfed by the case of former MEP Den Dover.

Dover has been ordered to repay a whopping £345k to the European Parliament (EP), although they were initially after him for more than half a million. Small wonder that the Tory Party expelled him in 2008 – but the news has not been trumpeted half as loudly as the UK miscreants.

Although both the Maily Telegraph and Daily Mail have the story, it’s not exactly top of the agenda for either paper – or, to be fair, for the BBC. Which is strange, given the amount of coverage given over to the UK Parliamentary expense story, especially in the Telegraph.

After all, this is a story about the EP, and therefore the EU, and kicking the EU is de rigueur for the Telegraph and Mail. Even the blogosphere’s self-appointed scourge of expense fiddlers Paul Staines, who blogs under the alias of Guido Fawkes, has given the event less prominence than cases in the UK.

But to make up for the lack of coverage, Staines has produced a piece that doesn’t give all the figures – and therefore doesn’t make complete sense – and followed it with a howler in its “update”, when he describes the EU agency Olaf as “the EU’s anti-fraud agency with the possibility of criminal charges”.

Beats “the mint with the hole” any time.

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