Media Playing Dirty in Brown Expenses Flap

PM's sister-in-law hits back after fiasco over housekeeping
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2009 11:39 AM CDT
Gordon Brown claimed thousands of pounds for a cleaner while other ministers claimed for gardeners, beds and television sets.   (AP Photos/John Giles-pa)
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(Newser) – British politicians have endured four days' worth of brutal press coverage after a newspaper published leaked parliamentary expense accounts, which include claims for everything from major home renovations to a Kit Kat bar. Gordon Brown, normally thought of as a frugal preacher's son, expensed $10,000 for cleaning—made payable to his younger brother. In an article for the Guardian, the PM's sister-in-law laments that the Browns' "tediously above board" arrangement has been blown out of proportion.

When the two Browns agreed to share a housekeeper, Gordon "was already the sort of guy who might have to change shirts twice in a day," writes his brother's wife, Clare, and a cleaning service "was part of his expenses entitlement." The Daily Telegraph went out of its way to inflate the claims—probably because "they spent a fortune" to acquire the leaked material. Sometimes you can get an apology out of the media, she reckons, "but not when covering us Browns, it seems."