Now that the full list of MPs claims are revealed, David Wilshire, the Spelthorne Conservative whose protests of innocence have looked increasingly weak of late, has more explaining to do.
It now appears that Wilshire – who owns three houses – claimed £160,542 in 2007-08, including nearly £200 for newspapers, £2,000 on meals and more than £9,000 on “communications”. In March of last year he spent over £2,500 on printer ink!
Between 2004 and 2008 Wilshire was the sixth-highest claiming MP, despite having a fairly compact constituency within 20 miles of Westminster. However, he has a house in Somerset and sees nothing wrong with claiming for travelling between that and Westminster, despite also having homes in his constituency and in central London.
He has refused calls for a constituency meeting, but pressure increased on him with news that Ian Taylor, from the neighbouring Elmbridge constituency, quit this week after a string of embarrassing stories about his spending. Taylor, of course, insisted his decision was unconnected to those stories.
Rumours have been circulating that Wilshire may face opposition from a high-profile celebrity at the next election. If he does, then his explanations will have to get much better than he has managed so far.