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Quiz about They Did Nothing Wrong
Quiz about They Did Nothing Wrong

They Did Nothing Wrong Trivia Quiz


UK MPs can claim for expenses incurred whilst performing their duties. In 2009 some of these claims were published, ranging from the laughably cheap through the absurdly expensive to the utterly bizarre - but none of them broke rules, or so they claim!

A multiple-choice quiz by Snowman. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
Snowman
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
312,302
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
1060
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Felixstowe50 (6/10), Reamar42 (5/10), haydenspapa (3/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. She didn't break the rules, but Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was the first MP up for public ridicule thanks to hubby mistakenly charging the taxpayer for what? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Margaret Moran didn't break the rules. She simply made a claim for 22,500 to clear up a dry rot problem in her designated second home in Southampton. OK, that's a bit on the expensive side but surely an acceptable claim? Well, yes, except for one small factor. Where was Margaret Moran's constituency? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. He didn't break the rules. All Elliot Morley did was to claim around 16,000 for interest accrued on his mortgage for his second home in his constituency. Why then did he receive a ban from his party from standing for election again? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Douglas Hogg didn't break the rules but it has to be said that his cleaning bill at 2,115 was a little bit on the high side. What was he having cleaned that made the claim so high? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. She didn't break the rules but Julie Kirkbride chose to announce that she would not stand at the next election because of the mortgage claim she made on her second home in her constituency. Why? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Sir Peter Viggers broke no rules. He charged the taxpayer 1,645 for work done in his constituency home that was clearly vital to the undertaking of his duties. What was the money used for? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. They didn't break the rules but their claims can only really be described as, for want of better words, a bit tight. Which of the following items was not claimed by MPs as being vital to the undertaking of their duties and therefore the responsibility of the taxpayer? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. She didn't break the rules but Hazel Blears was described as a "flipping" MP because of her expenses claims in 2009. She had, no doubt, been referred to in similar terms before, but what was it in the context of the expenses scandal that was considered to be "flipping"? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. He broke no rules but probably the biggest casualty of the expenses affair was the Speaker of the House, Michael Martin. He resigned as he was felt to have "let the public down". Who did MPs elect in his stead in their first attempt to restore public confidence in MPs? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. She re-invented the rules. Whilst public confidence in MPs fell to an all-time low, one woman rose through the ranks to claim political glory. Which "Absolutely Fabulous" star's success with the Gurkhas led to the papers calling for her to be made Prime Minister? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. She didn't break the rules, but Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was the first MP up for public ridicule thanks to hubby mistakenly charging the taxpayer for what?

Answer: A pay-per-view blue movie

It was said that the expenses scandal showed that democracy in the United Kingdom was in a fairly healthy state as something of this nature still had the power to shock the populace, but no-one was more shocked than Richard Timney, husband to Jacqui Smith, who had to go in front of the nation's media and confess that he had watched two pornographic films whilst his wife was away in London on parliamentary business.

The charge of ten pounds for the two films was made alongside a legitimate claim for television subscription charges on their constituency home and was revealed in March 2009 by a Sunday newspaper. A further revelation was published involving her sister's London home that Smith claimed as her main home.

Smith stood down from her government position in June 2009 in order to spend more time with her family.
2. Margaret Moran didn't break the rules. She simply made a claim for 22,500 to clear up a dry rot problem in her designated second home in Southampton. OK, that's a bit on the expensive side but surely an acceptable claim? Well, yes, except for one small factor. Where was Margaret Moran's constituency?

Answer: Luton South

Oh dear! MPs are allowed to claim for a second home so that they can work both at Westminster and in their constituency. The distance from Luton to Southampton is a mere 100 miles but both are nearer to London than they are to each other. The Southampton home was that of her partner of thirty years. Although she lived on the same Luton street as another MP, Kelvin Hopkins, their expense claims for living allowances differed by a factor of ten according to reports published in March 2009.

Moran claimed that the reports of her actions gave "the incredibly misleading impression that somehow we've been fraudulent or corrupt. I've done everything by the rules." However, she announced a few weeks later that she would stand down as an MP at the next election; shortly afterwards the Labour Party barred her from standing anyway.

When the revelations were first published, "celebrity" Esther Rantzen announced that the public was sick of current politicians so she would stand as an independent against Moran for her parliamentary seat. This led one commentator to respond "If Esther's the answer, then the question is wrong."
3. He didn't break the rules. All Elliot Morley did was to claim around 16,000 for interest accrued on his mortgage for his second home in his constituency. Why then did he receive a ban from his party from standing for election again?

Answer: His mortgage had been paid off 18 months earlier

On the face of it, this appears to be one of the most clear-cut cases in "The Daily Telegraph" reports of rule breaking. As he announced that he was standing down as an MP at the next election, Morley however insisted that investigation of the claim would clear him of wrong-doing . Although he paid back the amount over-claimed in full, the Labour Party confirmed that he would not be welcome to stand for re-election in any case.

The MP's home in Scunthorpe saw its mortgage paid off in March 2006 but Morley claimed 800 a month in interest on it until November 2007. According to "The Daily Telegraph", in that month Morley switched his designated second home to a property in London which he was subletting to another MP, leading to both MPs claiming for expenses for the same property.
4. Douglas Hogg didn't break the rules but it has to be said that his cleaning bill at 2,115 was a little bit on the high side. What was he having cleaned that made the claim so high?

Answer: His moat

Hogg claimed that the cost of running his estate, also known as his second home, was so extensive and so far above the maximum claimable allowance, that it was pointless detailing every item. Surprisingly, the Parliamentary Fees Office agreed with him and automatically awarded him 2000 a year for maintenance without requesting receipts. Those items that he did choose to name and claim for included the clearing of the moat on his estate, having his piano tuned (at a cost of 40), a new pair of tongs for 93 and 671 for catching moles; all items we can agree are vital to the running of any constituency home.

Hogg initially denied the story that "The Daily Telegraph" had published about the moat and stated that he had acted "within the spirit of the rules". He later agreed to repay the money claiming that whilst he had not claimed for the clearance he had not "positively excluded" the costs from paperwork he had submitted for other claims.
5. She didn't break the rules but Julie Kirkbride chose to announce that she would not stand at the next election because of the mortgage claim she made on her second home in her constituency. Why?

Answer: Her husband, also an MP, was claiming a different main home to her

Andrew Mackay, husband to Julie Kirkbride and fellow Conservative MP, had claimed the couple's London flat as his second home despite not having a constituency home of his own. He resigned as an aide to Tory leader, David Cameron, on the publication of his claim and was soon forced to announce that he would stand down as an MP after a stormy meeting with constituents.

Kirkbride claimed her constituency home as the couple's second home. In addition questions were asked about some of the other claims made on the property such as a 50,000 extension to their home. She also announced her decision to stand down as an MP following the publication of her expenses.

Between them the couple had claimed 98.5% of the allowances available to them in the previous five years.
6. Sir Peter Viggers broke no rules. He charged the taxpayer 1,645 for work done in his constituency home that was clearly vital to the undertaking of his duties. What was the money used for?

Answer: To provide a floating island for ducks

According to Sir Peter, the house on the island "was never liked by the ducks" and to claim for it was "a ridiculous and grave error of judgment." But claim he had and despite stating that his expenses were "in accordance with the rules at the time", Sir Peter was threatened with removal of the Conservative whip (i.e. he would effectively be expelled from the party) and thereby chose to stand down as an MP at the next election.
7. They didn't break the rules but their claims can only really be described as, for want of better words, a bit tight. Which of the following items was not claimed by MPs as being vital to the undertaking of their duties and therefore the responsibility of the taxpayer?

Answer: A pair of bicycle clips worth 75 pence

The Hob Nob biscuits were claimed by Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne as being vital for the running of his office. He also claimed 85 pounds for the cost of mounting and framing a picture of himself for a civic centre in his constituency.

Conservative MP John Greenaway claimed for the box of matches as well as, according to "The Daily Telegraph", "two boxes of firelighters worth 99p each, four bags of compost, a trellis and plant food".

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was the MP who claimed for a bath plug as well as the old favourite of extensive lists, the kitchen sink, at a cost of 500.
8. She didn't break the rules but Hazel Blears was described as a "flipping" MP because of her expenses claims in 2009. She had, no doubt, been referred to in similar terms before, but what was it in the context of the expenses scandal that was considered to be "flipping"?

Answer: She changed the designation of her second home on three occasions

The practice of "flipping" homes came in for particular criticism amongst media commentators and public alike as it seemed often to be done for the financial benefit of MPs. A few cases were highlighted where an MP had changed the designation of a second home shortly before selling a property for profit; by having the home registered as their main home, the profit gained was not liable to capital gains tax of, at the time, 18%.

Blears' case was prominent in the media partly because of her position as a minister and partly because she had three different properties listed as her second home within the space of a year, two of which were sold for profit without incurring capital gains tax. Whilst listed as second homes to the Commons and claimed on as such, the properties were simultaneously declared as a main home for tax purposes, so that CGT was not applicable.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown described her actions as "totally unacceptable" and Blears stood down from Cabinet before the inevitable sacking came. She publicly wrote out a cheque for 13,000 to cover the unpaid tax.
9. He broke no rules but probably the biggest casualty of the expenses affair was the Speaker of the House, Michael Martin. He resigned as he was felt to have "let the public down". Who did MPs elect in his stead in their first attempt to restore public confidence in MPs?

Answer: John Bercow (Conservative) - accused of "flipping" his home and of claiming the maximum allowances

Michael Martin was pressured into resigning as Speaker of the House of Commons, the first Speaker forced to resign since John Trevor in 1695, by a number of MPs who declared that they had lost confidence in him with regards to his handling of the expenses affair.

Bercow promoted himself as the "clean break" reform candidate who could act as an ambassador for Parliament in the role of Speaker but many in his own party were unhappy to see him win the election, as he was viewed as being too close to the Labour government. In contrast, it has been suggested that many Labour MPs voted for him as they knew it would irritate the Conservative party.

Bercow's expenses claims were scrutinised owing to his decision to flip the designation of his second home between his Buckinghamshire constituency house and his London flat. He sold both properties when they were designated as his main home and thereby paid no capital gains tax on either property. Though insisting he had acted within the rules, Bercow nevertheless made a "donation" to the taxman for around 6,500.
10. She re-invented the rules. Whilst public confidence in MPs fell to an all-time low, one woman rose through the ranks to claim political glory. Which "Absolutely Fabulous" star's success with the Gurkhas led to the papers calling for her to be made Prime Minister?

Answer: Joanna Lumley

The Gurkhas are a regiment of soldiers from Nepal who are part of the British Army. The British first recruited them after they were impressed by the fighting spirit displayed in the Gurkha War of the early 19th century.

In 1997, the Labour government passed a bill that gave Gurkhas who had served in the British Army since 1997 the right of abode in the United Kingdom. The Gurkha Justice Campaign sought to extend this right to Gurkhas who had served prior to this time. Joanna Lumley, the daughter of a member of the 6th Gurkha Rifles, became the very public face of the Campaign and her ability to get things done caught the public imagination.

A particularly impressive moment in the campaign came in an impromptu press conference conducted after Lumley had ambushed Immigration minister Phil Woolas as he was at the BBC's Westminster offices. Woolas seemed transfixed by Lumley as she forced him to promise action in front of the watching cameras.

Two weeks later, the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, made an announcement to the House of Commons that the government had agreed new settlement terms that met the requests of the Justice Campaign. Despite public support, Lumley has declared that she has no plans to stand as an MP.
Source: Author Snowman

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