From today's Diary in The Guardian:
There's a war on waste and what a debt we owe the likes of Tory Matthew Hancock. He's a member of the Commons public accounts committee and, more importantly, a star in the area of asking parliamentary written questions. It's a crowded field. In the first two days back, MPs asked 1,900 questions, which at the going rate cost the taxpayer £292,633 to answer. Hancock alone asked 118 of them. He's a stickler and no mistake. "To ask the secretary of state for defence how many chairs his department has purchased in each year since 1997; how much it spent in each such year; and what the five most expensive chairs purchased in each such year were," is a prime example. And this volley of questions cost the taxpayer £20,000. But it wasn't money wasted. For his inquiry into chair procurement across government allowed him to have a moan in the Sun about Ed Miliband's past purchases of furniture at the energy department. That's questioning Hancock-style. You spend a bit, we save a bit; you make a mark.