A benefits fraud affair and claims of institutional racism are among issues that led to crisis of trust before this week’s general election

Sandra Palmen was the whistleblower in a scandal that saw 31,000 Dutch families falsely accused of fraud – often dual nationals, single mothers or working families in less affluent postcodes who were financially and personally ruined by unjustly being made to repay every cent from years of childcare benefits.

But Palmen, a top inhouse lawyer who in 2017 wrote an official memo saying an anti-fraud drive had gone desperately wrong, was the only tax-office employee who was pushed out. Now she is standing for a new political party headed by a campaigning backbencher, Pieter Omtzigt, advocating a social contract to repair a series of government scandals in the Netherlands.

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