An MP gets help with her expenses claim and that leads her into a situation she didn’t anticipate.
By Katherine Jones
Emma Rogers MP was a woman on a mission that morning. She had already been running with her cocker spaniel, Billie, and was now, at 6.30am, preparing for a shower and to get away as quickly as possible. Emma could not have realised as she went about her early morning routine that this would be the last time this well-rehearsed domestic scene would be played out.
The Rogers family hated these Monday mornings. Emma would leave the warmth and comfort of her constituency home for the rest of the week and reluctantly board the icy cold 2nd class carriage of the busy and often maddeningly unreliable train to London Euston. She had learned that it was best not to hang around at home on these mornings but to get moving and make the transition to her other world of politics and Westminster gossip as quickly as possible.
Emma’s husband, Dave, was in the process of waking their children, Philippa and Jack, but was also very aware of his wife’s desire to get away. In addition to her psychological need to shorten the grim routine of departure she had a busy day ahead with a Parliamentary Committee to attend and then the expectation that she would ask the question passed to her by the Whips Office in the show-piece afternoon debate on the state of the economy.
As she stepped into the bathroom, her phone bleeped to tell her that a text had arrived. It might be that pizza company advertising its offers, she thought, but then reconsidered given that it was so early in the morning. She retrieved her bath robe and went back to the bedroom to find her phone.
It was a text from Josh Maxwell, the Commons Clerk who dealt with her expenses. Josh had been a real support to Emma in the past year since he had picked up this role. Despite his relative youth, Josh knew his way around the workings of Westminster and missed no opportunity to show Emma easy ways that she could maximize her expenses claims. He seemed to understand the pressure on an MP like herself, with a young family, living alone in the week in central London but with a constituency and family home in the north west of England. This arrangement, Josh seemed to understand, was a vortex of her time and money.
However Josh was asking to meet Emma before Committee which surprised her. She was also interested by the fact that he had obviously gone into work very early. Emma began to feel concerned. Conscious of the Daily Telegraph’s recent revelations about MPs’ expenses which were now enveloping colleagues from all parties and the very sensitive information about Emma and her domestic arrangements that Josh might be able to access, she felt she should make a priority of seeing him as requested.
Emma Rogers was 37 years old. She had been born as Emma Rogers and raised in Shropshire but at the behest of her father, a very senior surgeon who worked across a number of hospitals throughout the country, she was educated in a catholic boarding school in the south west from the age of five. The young Emma was very able and driven and gained a University place at a prestigious Cambridge College to study accountancy.
A first class degree followed and enabled Emma to find a fast track employment opportunity with a leading accountancy firm based in London in 1993. She worked hard and was successful, delivering a succession of Government contracts working on the oversight of MOD procurement arrangements.
Despite her upbringing and education from her very early days, Emma was a socialist and a very active member of the Labour Party. She began her activism at School, continuing this into her university years and then into working and living in London. However it came from very much the left field when in late 1996 a local party official said that he had been approached by HQ to ask if Emma was interested in contesting an unwinnable seat in a Tory stronghold in the North West in the following year’s General Election.
Emma, who had just split from her boyfriend, thought a short term move back north and a six month leave of absence from accountancy might be just the thing to help her through the break up so, without much thought, she accepted.
The election night of 1st May 1997 turned Emma’s world upside down. A massive national swing to Labour brought her victory in this previously unwinnable seat and at the age of 25 she was suddenly an MP.
The next thirteen years had their ups and downs. Initially she was wide-eyed and optimistic about being part of the New Labour revolution. However she found it hard to make an impact and be accepted as a serious politician, partly due to her good looks and relative youth. Her career stalled and her enthusiasm began to wear thin.
Nonetheless, Emma’s good looks and firm figure kept her profile with the public high. She had many lucrative offers to be photographed for ‘lads’ mags’ posing in a variety of revealing underwear or without any clothes at all. Emma turned down all such offers. This was not how she wanted to be understood. She was in politics to make a difference, not to establish a celebrity identity.
The inevitable tabloid interest also brought a heavy price and two wardrobe malfunctions in her first year as an MP caused her embarrassment and affected her credibility. Firstly, at her summer constituency garden party, she was snapped by press photographers as her skirt, which she later acknowledged was too light and short for the breezy conditions, blew up at the back to reveal very tiny red satin knickers covering only a small part of her very pert bottom.
Only a couple of months after this, she was caught again this time getting out of a London taxi in a less then elegant manner for a drinks party with old work colleagues. An unmistakable patch of dark pubic hair was visible through her white mesh thong and appeared in most tabloids the next day.
Things looked up when she met and married Dave Rogers, a London based journalist, in 2000. She immediately took Dave’s surname, against the party central office advice, and became Emma Rogers MP. However with Dave’s support she fought a successful re-election campaign in 2001. The birth of her children in 2002 and 2004 again made Emma reflect on her priorities and her commitment to the demanding world of politics but she was delighted when Dave agreed to give up his job and look after the children full time in their constituency home.
In the years following the birth of her children, Emma began to focus on taking up issues around child care and family life which connected with voters in her constituency and began to resonate with the wider public. With a change of Prime Minister, and with Dave now caring full time for Philippa and Jack, Emma felt that she had a new start and her work began to attract the attention of the Whips office. There was strong talk of her joining the first rung of the Ministerial ladder at the next reshuffle.
Emma arrived at Euston just about on time and immediately took a taxi to The House of Commons. She hurried to the meeting room Josh had arranged for their discussion. She swiped her security pass and the door opened. Josh was sat calmly with a box of papers in front of him. Emma instinctively knew there was a problem.
Josh Maxwell was 28 years old and had joined the Civil Service after leaving University. His father had made a fortune in property development in London and Josh had no real need to work. However his father was pleased that his son had taken up a stable career in the Civil Service and once Josh began working in Westminster his father gave him sole use of a four bedroom detached property 10 minutes’ walk from the House of Commons.
Josh was charming but also quite cold and calculating. He relished the contact this job gave him with MPs and the way he was easily able to ingratiate himself with them by helping them to maximize their expenses claims.
Josh, in his solitary after-work world, had developed two obsessions. One was the corporal punishment and humiliation of women, particularly powerful and successful women. He spent most evenings scouring the internet to feed this interest. He had not, however, experienced any of his fantasies at first hand but he was now planning to make this transition.
The second great obsession which filled Josh’s waking hours was Emma. With her beauty and her seriousness she fascinated him from the first time they had met. He began building an in-depth on-line scrap book about her life and career and had relished finding the photos of Emma’s early press embarrassments now available on the internet. He looked forward to his weekly, very informal, discussions with her, ostensibly about her parliamentary expenses but which ranged into other aspects of her life.
He tried his best to please her and Emma was very ready to accept any possible way of gaining extra money from a very lax and broken expenses system. Josh portrayed himself as sympathizing with Emma’s current financial pressures and accepting that she had an entitlement to push the expenses envelope as she could have earned more had she continued in her work as a high flying accountant. Many senior colleague MPs also encouraged that view.
However Josh was planning to have more of Emma than this subservient role offered and he had found a way to have her in his control and fulfil his desires, but he had to act now with the election on the horizon.
“Hello Emma and thank you for coming to see me,” said Josh. He went on to explain that, because of the expenses scandal, he had been asked to look more deeply at all the claims of MPs he worked with and he had uncovered a problem with her claims.
“Oh yes, and what are these inconsistencies?” asked Emma in an anxious but measured voice.
The beginnings of the expenses scandal had turned Josh’s approach to his work with Emma on its head. He now sensed a chance to go after his suspicions about her financial affairs and gain some real power over her.
He decided to use the new authority given to relevant Civil Servants to look in more detail at the bank account Emma had set up to pay her constituency-based researcher. It quickly became clear that this was a personal rather than business account and once Josh had analysed the transactions it was apparent that all the payments went into another bank account in Emma’s name. There clearly was no researcher, Emma and her family were taking this tax payers’ money and using it for themselves.
It was these allegations which Josh Maxwell put to Emma Rogers that morning. Emma protested briefly but knew immediately that the game was up. Without telling Dave, she had claimed a salary for this fictitious constituency-based researcher at the point Dave gave up work. This helped to supplement the family income and gave her some independent money she could use to work in the constituency. She told herself that this was common practice amongst MPs and no one had suspected anything for the six years she had taken this £22k from the tax payer. Josh knew he had he in his control.
“Who knows about this?” Emma asked, shocked, angry and on the verge of tears.
“No one but me,” replied Josh, recoiling against her emotions. “Emma I don’t want to ruin you,” he said. “Just the opposite, I want to stay working with you. I have two interests in my lonely bachelor life and I think if we work together we could combine those interests for my benefit and you can put this problem behind you.”
“What do you mean,” said Emma, nervous but at least seeing some hope of escape from what would almost certainly be disgrace and probably a spell in prison.
Josh paused, knowing this was the time to reveal his plan and change Emma’s view of him forever.
He took a very deep breath then said stutteringly: “Emma, my two interests are you and the corporal punishment of women.” He gulped and for an instant met Emma’s wide and incredulous blue eyes then turned away from her to continue: “You can, by satisfying my desires, pay a penalty which I will determine and execute and you will then be free of this problem. I will punish you, not the state, and it will be over much quicker for you than a prison sentence. What do you think?”
Emma was furious and shouted and screamed at Josh. She felt betrayed, angry and appalled at his revelation and the preposterous idea he appeared to be suggesting. However, she was also terrified that her world was about to collapse. She thought of her Mum and Dad, so proud of her achievements and Philippa and Jack, what would they think if their mother went to prison? Then there was Dave, how would Emma explain that she had, without letting him know, broken the law to finance a lifestyle which would allow him to stay at home and look after the children full time.
“Do I have any choice?” Emma said, running her hands through the parting in her blond hair. “I can’t do it today. I have things to do and what will you do to me anyway?” She said in a sudden panic.
“Don’t worry Emma, if you are accepting my offer I will send you a confidential email later this week with all the details you will need. All I can say,” said Josh, recovering his composure as Emma’s anger faded away: “Is that it will hurt and you will find it humiliating.”
In a state of complete turmoil, Emma waited for the email. It was 6.30pm on Tuesday evening when it arrived. Emma was at her flat in West London starting on her second gin and tonic when it pinged into her inbox.
Emma had always had a well suppressed interest in corporal punishment. At school she had been aware of its presence up to the point at which it had been made illegal even in her highly disciplined all girl’s catholic boarding school. Her face still flushed when she thought of the time she had been told to touch her toes to receive a hand spanking on her knickers in front of her class for having the wrong PE kit. She had also seen others humiliated and publicly caned. These sights she had found horrific but she acknowledged that they had aroused something in her.
The prospects of this man Josh, who she had previously liked and trusted, now turning on her and insisting on this type of humiliation made her recoil but also rekindled this interest. Perhaps this could be a game, she thought, and she might be able to outwit Josh, who up to today had seemed quite naive and gullible.
The email was specific, stating that they would meet up next Monday morning at 9am and advised her to clear her diary for the rest of the day. She was also told how to dress, insisting on a black skirt, white blouse and a black lacy thong.
This was outrageous, thought Emma, and she determined to push back. ‘Let’s see if he can really go through with this,’ she said to herself as she replied to him saying she had no plans to respond to his request but could they talk again?
A short but agonizing pause followed before the response came, which was a forwarded copy of an email from Josh asking to urgently meet with a representative of the Sargent at Arms Office in the morning.
In panic now, and for the first time finally realizing that Josh meant business, she phoned his mobile. They agreed to meet at 9am the following Monday and Emma suddenly found that she had less than a week to find suitable clothing. Josh recalled his Sargent at Arms email and copied this to Emma.
Emma said her family goodbyes on the following Sunday night, explaining that she had a whole day Committee visit the next day which required an early start in London. She woke at 6am in her apartment on Monday and cried as she got the black skirt out of its wrapping and pulled on the black thong. At exactly 9am as arranged, she saw a Range Rover draw up outside her apartment block. She looked at herself in the full length mirror and smiled wryly, reflecting that she could still “scrub up nicely” if needed.
Outside, the cold autumnal air caught her by surprise as she checked to see if anyone was looking at her as she climbed into the back seat of the Range Rover and sat behind the tinted glass.
“Rogers, you are a criminal and I am taking you to your punishment,” said Josh, replacing his iPod ear phones to signal that no further conversation was required.
Within about 15 minutes the Range Rover was inside a large double garage. Josh got out of the driver’s seat and opened the rear passenger door. He silently motioned to Emma to get out and then, grabbing hold of her arms, he handcuffed her hands behind her back. He then ushered her out of the back door of the garage into a short passage way which led to the main house. A short flight of steps followed and Emma arrived, blinking, into a brightly lit basement.
Emma began to cry uncontrollably as she lifted her eyes to look at the bizarre and frightening scene now before her in this basement room. High tech camera and lighting equipment was set up to her right, and to her left a rope hung from a pulley system attached to the ceiling. A large white cross was marked on the floor underneath the rope and a short rattan cane lay on a small table to the side of the cross. It was clear to Emma what the next few moments were to hold for her as she sobbed and begged Josh to let her go.
Josh now felt confident. He had come this far with his plan and had withstood the pressure Emma’s crying and begging had put him under. He was resolved that he was going to see this through and make his fantasy reality. He reflected on how Emma had probably seen him as an acquiescent and rather sad subservient figure in their dealings. However he now had the power and she would soon be reduced to total humiliation and agony.
“Stand on the cross on the floor,” Josh instructed Emma. She complied and he moved towards her and released the handcuffs. “Now take off all your clothes,” he said, withdrawing to behind the camera on its tripod and its lights. Emma composed herself and began to remove her blouse then she unzipped the black skirt and let it fall to the floor. She turned her back instinctively to remove her bra and then moved sideways as she put her thumbs into the waist band of the black thong and eased it down her thighs.
Josh was briefly paralysed by this unbelievable scene and his senses were almost overwhelmed by the sight of Emma desperately trying to cover her breasts and the small dark patch of hair between her legs.
However there was work to do and Josh now moved towards Emma, taking hold of the rope hanging from the pulley and quickly binding it around Emma’s hands. As he released his grip and pulled the free hanging rope, Emma’s arms involuntarily extended upwards and she found herself suspended tight from the ceiling with her back and bottom stretched out before the lights and the camera.
Josh was now in no hurry and took in the scene before him of Emma Rogers MP. He moved towards her and could not resist running his hand over her taut buttocks. Emma recoiled from his touch and he reacted by slapping her hard across her exposed rump.
Having quickly checked the camera, all was now fully prepared and it was time for her punishment, Josh told Emma, announcing that her crimes required 22 strokes of the cane, one for every thousand pounds she had annually stolen from the tax payer.
He picked up the cane from the table and moved towards Emma’s taut suspended body. She cried out as the first blow landed across the middle of her bottom.
“Stroke one,” Josh shouted breathlessly. A slight delay followed before the fire of the pain unleashed itself and Emma cried out again and begged him to stop. The second and third strokes marked out the target range for Josh by delivering red lines at the top and bottom of Emma’s buttocks.
Relentlessly Josh continued with strokes which gradually filled in the space between the top of Emma’s thighs and her lower back. Stroke fifteen caught Emma at the base of her bottom and as she cried out in extreme pain he paused and lay down the cane.
“Seven to go, Emma, and then you are free of me,” he said, then adding: “Do you regret what you have done?”
Emma pulled at the rope and, trying to turn her face to look at Josh, she shouted: “You bastard, let me go, I hate you, I hate you, you bastard.”
Josh picked up the cane and landed seven rapid strokes across a tight space at the base of Emma’s buttocks and the top of her thighs. After the 22nd stroke, Josh dropped the cane and sank, exhausted, to his knees.
She might now think her punishment was over, he thought, but in reality she had only just begun to see what he was capable of. Perhaps, he reflected, she should have shown more respect and some gratitude to him for offering her a possible way out of her problems.
It was Tuesday evening at 6.30. Emma was in her apartment lying face down and naked on her bed. The Westminster world was aware that she had a bout of flu and was unlikely to make a House of Commons appearance that week.
The anticipated email from Josh arrived bang on 6.30. It told her to expect further instructions early on Monday morning and that these would show her how she would be free from any more direct contact with him about her expenses problems. This seemed to Emma to be a strange and rather unclear message but as there was no way she could go home this weekend due to the painful red tramlines across her bottom she resolved to wait in her apartment and hope that this awful situation would soon be over.
The flu excuse worked both for her London political life and for home and she signed off her phone call to Dave and the children at 9pm on Sunday night and settled down for a fitful sleep.
Emma was woken abruptly next morning by an insistent banging on the door to her apartment at 6am. It was the Police.
“Emma Rogers, I am arresting you on suspicion of theft and false accounting,” said Deborah Chamberlain, the DI leading the investigation into Emma’s expenses triggered by information provided by the dedicated Civil Servant, Josh Maxwell.
Josh enjoyed the press photographs of Emma leaving the apartment in handcuffs and then of her grim faced departure from the Police Station on bail after 36 hours of questioning and detention. He was keen to capture the leak of her raw, tear-stained, make-up free face on her Police mug shot and then he watched in person eight weeks later as she pushed her way, head down, through the scrum of photographers and reporters to enter the Court for her trial.
From his seat in the public gallery, Josh watched as her guilty plea was followed by her rising to stand, head bowed, to receive her sentence. He sat dry mouthed in excitement and anticipation as Mrs Justice Thomas announced: “Emma Rose Rogers, you will go to prison for 27 months,” adding: “Please take her down.”
Josh saw the photographs of her handcuffed and stepping into a prison van and added them to his growing electronic scrapbook.
Two weeks later, Josh Maxwell sat at home and opened his newspaper to see pictures of Emma Rogers, the former MP, in her grey prison uniform crouching to tend to flower beds and then talking to a Prison Warden. He now knew the scrapbook was complete. Emma Rogers was behind bars and completely humiliated.
Josh opened his computer to begin his new project. It was Monday morning at 8.30 am and time to text the very fragrant, dark-haired, 31 year old former solicitor, Penelope Thompson MP, recently elevated to the opposition front bench. Josh had looked after Ms Thompson’s expenses for the last six months and he knew his way around her claims. This would be the morning to ask her about why refunds of mortgage payments were required for a house in her constituency which her boyfriend had paid cash for.
© Katherine Jones 2014