Wednesday, May. 13, 2009

Gordon Brown, Prime Minister

The claim

The Prime Minister paid his brother, Andrew, $10,000 for arranging the cleaning services at Brown's Westminster flat for just over two years.

The justification

While Brown has yet to discuss the sensitive subject, his sister-in-law Clare Brown has defended him by saying, "He definitely needed a cleaner when in London, and it was part of his expenses entitlement." She insisted that Brown is "extremely scrupulous and conscientious in these matters."

The response

No. 10 Downing Street said the brothers shared a cleaner who worked in both their flats. Andrew Brown paid her and was then reimbursed for his share of the cost — the Downing Street spokesman was careful to point out that Andrew didn't do the cleaning himself or gain from the situation financially. As for the fact that the Prime Minister also claimed twice for the same plumbing work within six months, the House of Commons Fees Office said the mistake had been inadvertent and apologized for having not spotted it. Brown is thought to have repaid the $230.