The Telegraph takes Salmond out to lunch.

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salmondcurry.jpgFew people like a good curry more than our nation's glorious leader, and it's therefore no surprise that dining receipts should be the focus of the Telegraph's Salmond exposé

Now, I understand the idea of claiming back expenses when your work sends you away somewhere, and I'm sure most people accept that. 

However, few will regard it as acceptable to claim back £400 a month (including during two months of Westminster recess) for meals out and other food costs. No other regular line of work has perks like that. In the real world, people pay for their dinner from their salary, and politicians should be no different. 

Even when he more or less stopped going to London, except for the odd flying visit to try and restrict abortion rights, the claims continued. 

His quote in the story, disappointingly, is the same tired and indefensible line Labour Ministers have been using all week:

"The claims for food allowances were entirely in accordance with the Green Book rules at the time."

Whatever the rules say, though, if you claim under them you are saying you believe those claims are acceptable ways to use taxpayers' money. If the rules said you could fly daily to the Taj Mahal itself at our expense, would you do it, First Minister? You've been caught taking the Scottish Government car to your favourite curryhouse. Did you then submit a claim for dinner to the Westminster authorities?


I reckon there are plenty of lines of work where such food bills can be racked up. I've seen people put in expense claims for over £400 just for one weekend.

But public sector is, and should be, a different kettle of fish to the private.

That risible "in accordance with the rules" defence just looks silly. Hopefully Alex'll come up with something better than that to justify it.

Yeah, I accept that massive expenses are put in in the private sector, but only with the direct consent of those paying for it, or at least managing those concerned.

Wouldn't it be better, though, for the FM to have admitted this looks wrong and repaid it?

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