According to him, it's all the fault of Parliament and that pesky English language.
He said the House of Lords had no guidance on the meaning of 'main residence' until March 2010 and believes the perspectives and standards of 2010 should not have been applied to 2005.
He added: “I believe that the provisions which applied then on the designation of principal residence were wholly unclear.
I see. I wonder whether it was the word 'main', or 'primary' or 'residence' which foxed him. He seems to have managed to fill in the forms with enough understanding to claim £40,000. And obviously, in 2005 it was OK to steal from the taxpayer. Back in those days, highwaymen roamed the, er, highways, justice was a matter of trial by combat and ducking stool were the latest in forensic crime investigations.
To be honest, I'm beginning to wonder if the terrible mess this country's in can be traced to a literacy problem in Parliament. After all, if a man whose job it is to scrutinise every word of every law before it's passed can't even understand 'main residence', it's unlikely that he understood much of what he was voting for or against. I wonder what reading-age he has.
On the other hand, perhaps Lord Paul is a lying corrupt sack of shit. After all, a man doesn't acquire £500 million - yes, half a billion pounds - by being illiterate. Maybe he's just selectively illiterate. Like when it comes to claiming £40,000, or just under 0.01% of his fortune from the taxpayer.
Still, at least he has his pride:
“First and foremost, my honesty and integrity have been upheld. I have never tried to claim anything which I did not believe I was honestly entitled to claim at the time.