A top minister apologises for claiming for, in my opinion, a blatant misuse of their expenses system and promises to pay it back. He said "At no point did I consider myself to be in breach of the rules” – what about the intent of the rules to protect the public you were elected to serve – it is our money you are taking to pay for something the rest of us have to pay for out of our own money.
If I tried to claim £40k to pay rent for a room in my partners house I am pretty sure that I would be sacked (assuming I was working for a company that paid out £40k expense claims in the first place) and most likely be visited by the police investigating a fraud charge.
The man should be sacked from his post and as an MP
UPDATE: and today (30/05/10) the news is that his fellow MP’s, David Cameron and Nick Clegg among them, are praising him – for what? If he had not been caught he would have kept the money and would not have apologised – as our leaders they should be condemning him and anyone else who does what he did.
In English law Theft is defined as "A person is guilty of theft, if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it" I know what I think but I will leave it up to you to decide.