Just when the scandal over British MPs' expenses seemed to be petering out comes news that a Conservative legislator charged taxpayers $27,000 to build servants' quarters at his second home, the Times of London reports. Sir John Butterfill told the BBC the suggestion he had servants was a "gross misrepresentation." But then he slipped up when he tried to apologize for failing to separate his own home from "the servants', er, the staff wing."
Other Tory MPs have made similarly lavish claims, billing taxpayers to clean a moat and install a "floating duck island." But the revelations about Butterfill's country house have horrified the Conservative leadership, which has tried to rebrand the party in recent years. Butterfill sold the house in 2005 for nearly $2 million—then schemed to avoid paying capital gains tax.