On GMTV today David Cameron said Bill Wiggin had made an "honest mistake" in claiming £11,000 for mortgage payments for a house he owned.
Cameron is stretching the English language to breaking point. Firstly, it should be "honest mistakes", as Wiggin allegedly signed 23 declarations which were wrong. Secondly, I don't know how you can credibly say you made a mistake when you have just bought a house. It really does beggar belief that you would actually fork out £480,000 cash to pay for a house, then, allegedly forgetting you had done so, start allegedly claiming for non-existent mortgage payments "soon afterwards":
In April 2004 the couple, who have three young children, bought a property near Ledbury, Herefordshire, for £480,000 where the MP has bred prize-winning cattle and chickens.
Soon afterwards, Mr Wiggin changed the address on which he claimed additional costs allowance from his west London home to the new property, and the mortgage interest claim increased that month from £453.91 to £568.81.
However, he did not submit any bank statements in support. He and his wife had in fact bought the property outright and there was no mortgage.
Cameron's defence really strains credibility. And, by the way, Wiggin allegedly claimed for other items, such as cleaning and utilities, on this house he owned. And we're asked to believe that this was an "honest mistake".
How can you say it is a simple "mistake" to allegedly forget that you own a house outright and don't pay a mortgage on it? OK, I am happy to accept it was a "mistake", but if normal citizens make such "mistakes" they have to face very serious consequences indeed.