Employment Minister Tony McNulty admitted he had claimed some £60,000 as a second-home allowance for a property which is actually his parents' home.
Despite the fact that he and his wife, Chief Inspector of Schools Christine Gilbert, live in a house that she owns just three miles from Westminster, the minister has been claiming up to £14,000 a year in Parliamentary expenses to help pay for the second house in Harrow where his parents live, 11 miles from the Commons.
When confronted with this charge, Mr McNulty initially claimed that he was doing nothing wrong as it was 'within the rules'.
But then he appeared to change his mind and suddenly announced he had stopped claiming the second-home allowance - while denying that this was because, ahem, he had been caught out.
More remarkably still, Mr McNulty, who is also Minister for London and a possible Mayoral candidate, went on to say that MPs who live as he does within 60 miles of Westminster should be banned from receiving the £24,000-a-year handout.
Even by the standards of this Government it takes some brass neck, after being caught out in a scam, to turn on a sixpence like this and attack others for doing exactly the same thing.
It's as if we're expected to think there's the Tony McNulty who has been pulling a fast one, but who is somehow quite different from the Tony McNulty who says the practice should be banned!
Maybe the minister should seek treatment for a split personality. (Perhaps he could claim that on expenses, too.)
Mr McNulty certainly sees no contradiction in directing his sanctimony at everyone but himself. He was quick enough to condemn failed bankers for their enormous pay- offs; yet when asked to return the taxpayers' money he has trousered through his second-home scam, he was strangely reluctant to agree.