U.K. expense scandal may cost Brown

Stephen Beard Jun 3, 2009
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U.K. expense scandal may cost Brown

Stephen Beard Jun 3, 2009
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Kai Ryssdal: The scandal over parliamentary expense reports continues to work its way through British politics. Lawmakers over there claimed everything from the cost of cleaning a moat to renting pornography as reimbursable expenses. Over the past two days, two cabinet ministers have quit. And there are now some doubts that Prime Minister Gordon Brown is going to be able to keep his job. From London, Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports.


STEPHEN BEARD: The two ministers jumped before they were pushed. Both had made dodgy claims on their parliamentary expenses. Both had been tipped to lose their jobs in a cabinet reshuffle expected on Friday. In an unprecedented move they got in first and said they were quitting, ahead of a set of elections tomorrow.

Two junior ministers joined the exodus. In the bear pit of the House of Commons, an opposition leader, Nick Clegg put the boot in.

NICK CLEGG: The prime minister is thrashing around fighting for his own political survival. Does he not understand the extreme danger to our democracy when people start feeling there’s simply no one in charge?

It’s now widely believed that Gordon Brown wants to replace his most important minister — the finance chief — in Friday’s reshuffle. He’s also been tainted by the expenses scandal. The fear this political turmoil may soon undermine efforts to pull Britain out of its worst financial downturn in decades.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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