Obiter, who blushes to reclaim a receipted taxi fare, has watched with awed fascination the Daily Telegraph’s exposure of how MPs have worked parliament’s expenses regime. Justice ministers are among those in the spotlight. Justice secretary Jack Straw, who receives an annual salary of £141,866, repaid the council tax for which he had wrongly claimed, but over the years received thousands of taxpayers’ pounds for improvements to a house in his Blackburn constituency, listed, under the rules, as his second home. According to the Telegraph, improvements included new garage doors, kitchen, central heating system, beds, bathroom and LCD television. Solicitor general Vera Baird, meanwhile, whose annual salary is £125,602, had her £250 claim for Christmas decorations rejected by the Commons’ fees office. However according to the Telegraph, and again entirely within the rules, we should stress, she claimed for mortgage interest payments, repairs, decorations and furnishings to a four-bedroom house in her Redcar, Cleveland constituency. Obiter suspects we will be hearing less from ministers about overpaid legal aid lawyers ‘moderating their expectations of earnings’. For the time being, anyway.