• Party funding should be reformed with reduced limits on general election spending, caps on donations, the winding down of corporate, institutional and trade union donations and some increase in state support
• The link between honours and party funding must be broken by taking awards completely out of the hands of ministers, including the Prime Minister
• Investigation of breaches of the Ministerial Code should be made more transparent and placed in the hands of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. However, the final decision as to whether or not a minister should resign must rest with the Prime Minister
• The work of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments should be put on a statutory basis and its recommendations should be binding on ministers, senior civil servants and
• MPs should no longer vote on their own pay and allowances. The implementation of review body recommendations should only be overturned by primary legislation. To avoid the need for major one-off adjustments, changes in MPs’ pay should be based on a representative benchmark
such as the change in average earnings or in public sector pay
• The current MPs’ pension scheme should be closed to new entrants, with a new system based on defined contributions
• There should be greater clarity in separating out those elements of allowances which do not go directly to MPs (such as staff salaries and stationery) and those that do. The direct payments should be subject to greater clarity and more rigorous audit.
• The Communications Allowance should be abolished
I think all of these have merit, apart from one caveat on the party funding proposal. The Commission says there should be "consideration of a scheme to link taxpayer financed support to votes won at the previous General Election." There is quite enough taxpaper "support" in party politics as it is. I know I sound like a broken record on this, but how can anyone who calls themselves a Conservative advocate an increasing involvement by the State in party politics? Just at the moment that politicians are held in most contempt by the public, the Conservative Party comes up with a proposal which means the State dipping its dirty little mitts further into the pocket of the already hard done by taxpayer. Purely because it can. Disgraceful.
It's a shame that this proposal deflects attention from an otherwise good and robust report.