Will Lewis, who broke the ground-breaking news to the world in 2009, insisted how a private conversation with her majesty helped to inspire him to continue with the revelations. The former editor of the Daily Telegraph states he had a “very nice conversation” with the Queen at a surprise encounter at the Chelsea Flower Show. In an interview 10 years on from the scandal, Mr Lewis told Newsnight: “So there I am feeling slightly lonely standing in front of the Telegraph Chelsea Flower Show garden.
“No one was coming to our garden. I was literally all on my own thinking what am I doing here. I can’t believe I got myself into this situation.
“When a man came scuttling along and whispered in my ear that her majesty was on her way… and we had a very nice conversation and I was able to afterwards hotfoot back to my office even more resolute and even more robust in my desire to continue with our investigative efforts.”
Although he vows never the say what the Queen actually told him, he states it did inspire him to “go back full of resolution to continue our investigation right until the end”.
The political crisis saw many MPs resign including the then Speaker of the Common Michael Martin after the shocking details emerged of what taxpayers money had been spent on.
Other high profile MPs also resigned included Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, Minister for Employment Tony McNulty.
As a result of the six-week long publication, seven parliamentarians were also sent to jail for false accounting.
The outrage from the public was severe especially as this occurred just one year after the 2008 financial crash and many families were still feeling the economic strain.
The scandal was made worse in the eyes of ordinary people after MPs were found to be claiming money back for things completely unrelated to their parliamentary activity.
Some of the MPs shamed included John Prescott who claimed £112.52 for a toilet seat, Michael Gove who claimed £134.50 for elephant lamps and Sir Peter Viggers who claimed £1,645 for a Duck pond island.
Expenses: The Scandal That Changed Britain was first aired on Monday March 25 on BBC two at 9pm.
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