Expenses mole angry over Army kit


The expenses scandal began because the mole who caused the leak was angry about inadequate equipment for the armed forces, the Daily Telegraph said.

The newspaper says staff who worked in secrecy on MPs' receipts were guarded by servicemen on leave between tours.

They became angry after seeing MPs' lavish claims when soldiers had poor equipment, prompting a civil servant to leak the story, the paper says.

But Gordon Brown said he did not understand the motivation for the leak.

The unidentified mole is quoted as saying the soldiers' accounts of their poor equipment prompted him to leak the information.

According to the Telegraph, he claims that many of the service personnel were moonlighting so they could buy better kit.

Tipping point

The paper quotes the mole as saying: "It's not easy to watch footage on the television news of a coffin draped in a Union Jack and then come in to work the next day and see on your computer screen what MPs are taking for themselves."

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said their "top priority is to provide the best equipment for our people in Afghanistan".

But the mole is quoted as saying that the stark contrast between conditions facing soldiers and the MPs' lavish claims "helped tip the balance in the decision over whether I should or should not leak the expenses data".

"When they're out in Afghanistan they're out there for Queen and country, earning £16,000 or £17,000-a-year, knowing they're going to take losses, while the MPs are sitting in Parliament on £65,000, with massive expenses, and meanwhile you've got bodies coming home."

That was why I leaked the information: because the British public deserves better
MPs' expenses mole

Asked on Sky News if he understood the motivation for the expenses leak, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "I don't think so."

He added: "MPs have got to live in two places at once - that is a big problem.

"As far as the troops in Afghanistan are concerned, right throughout the period I have been chancellor and then prime minister, I have been determined to make sure that the troops that are serving our country are properly paid, that we make proper allowance for them, that we give them the best equipment, that we help them in every way possible."

The MoD said: "Since 2006, we have delivered equipment valued at more than £10bn to the Armed Forces.

"Every soldier who deploys to Afghanistan receives Osprey body armour and a Mark 6a helmet.

"They also receive a black bag containing all their operational requirements. Valued at £3,500, it contains everything a soldier will need from boots and socks to camel backs."

The mole said everyone working on the MPs' expenses claims were "of the same mind" about the situation.

Mole hunt called off

"This was our money and these were our employees, effectively, but no-one could hold them to account.

"That was why I leaked the information: because the British public deserves better," the mole is quoted as saying.

The newspaper says that about 20 Her Majesty's Stationery Office and parliamentary staff worked for months in great secrecy in a south London office copying and processing the MPs' receipts.

The BBC's political correspondent Ben Wright said although there was originally a hunt to find the mole when the scandal broke, it was unsuccessful and has since been called off.

Our correspondent said: "Parliament has moved a very long way since then. It has claimed so many careers, it has prompted a massive overhaul of the parliamentary expenses system."

The claims are made in a book being published by the Daily Telegraph on Friday about the expenses scandal called No Expenses Spared.


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