As COP26 teeters on the brink of a decision media attention has been split between the conference and continuing allegations of financial sleaze particularly amongst Conservative MPs
The week started with revelations that Tory MP Sir Geoffrey Cox had been doing legal work in the British Virgin islands netting him close on a million pounds whilst continuing to vote remotely using a proxy scheme designed to help MPs isolating with covid, Later video appeared to show him using his taxpayer funded office to conduct private business ( the same accusation Owen Patterson was found to have done) . The Daily Mirror also claims Sir Geoffrey Cox he claimed almost £1,500 in travel expenses for seven round trips to London in three months last year when he only voted in person on three days.
The story then moved on to looking at MPs who own houses in London which they rent out whilst at the same time claiming expenses from the taxpayer for renting accommodation in the capital. Around 20 MPs ( a couple of whom are Labour) have been identified including the ubiquitous Sir Geoffrey who has rented out his three-bedroom flat in south London for up to £4,000 a month while claiming £1,900 a month in rent for a separate residential property.
The week finished with a Guardian story which said he luxury villa where Boris Johnson stayed on holiday last month is linked to Costa del Sol property businesses owned by Zac Goldsmith's family that engaged in a multimillion-pound tax evasion scheme, according to Spanish courts which ordered two property companies owned by the Goldsmith family to pay €24m (£20m) in unpaid taxes and fines . Leaving aside why the Prime Minister chose to holiday rather than actively lobby world leaders in the run up to COP, it once again calls into doubt his judgement accepting a free holiday from Mr Goldsmith
For the majority of hard-working MPs these stories must be appalling dragging down their reputation along with the errant minority. The fact the Prime Minister doesn't even to recognise there is an issue or accept that his own behaviour hardly sets an example is the biggest scandal. They always say that a fish rots from its head!