Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Good & Bad Side of MPs' Expenses

If you really want to be appalled, read the House of Commons debate today, unbelievably called by the Conservatives as an Opposition Day debate, on MPs' expenses. It is so very depressing. We do not want to see debate after debate on this subject. We had one on 3 July and certainly did not need another one today. We want our elected representatives to debate some of the important issues facing our nation and coming up with solutions. And yet today, Parliament is debating the merits or otherwise of the John bloody Lewis list. I ask you.

On a brighter note, Tory MPs have today taken a lead and released details of their expense claims. Should you wish to know what any Conservative MP has claimed, click HERE. I am sure the other parties will be following suit in due course.

13 comments:

peruvian dance sensation said...

They might want to rethink the banner advert at the top of the page greeting those looking into MPs expenses with:

"SOMETHING TO PASS ON TO MY CHILDREN

You can get it if you really want".

Anonymous said...

Politics is really boring at the moment and this tends to happen with a dead Government. Get rid of all the rotten boroughs and reduce the number of MPs. Why don't they debate killing anti-social people?

True Brit said...

Iain: "Should you wish to know what any Conservative MP has claimed"

That would be 'any' with the exception of the awful grasping Winterton magpies and a handful of other holdbacks who ought to be deselected courtesy of Dave and their local Associations... I won't be holding my breath.

Mr Richard Nixon said...

More debate is good. As much as possible on this disgusting waste. My hope is that this scrutiny becomes so much that it drives out the (few) decent MPs left. Then we will cut down Parliament to about 50MPs(at most) or even better just do away with Parliament and have Government by cabinet(which we have de facto anyway). Even better just abolish Government and let me spend my wages as I see fit.

If Parliament must exist, then it should be as a rich man's hobby(like the good old days). Fill it with benign incompetents from the upper classes(ie Boris Johnson types) and let the dopey old sods sleep all day while I make money.

Anonymous said...

"It is so very depressing. We do not want to see debate after debate on this subject. We had one on 3 July and certainly did not need another one today. We want our elected representatives to debate some of the important issues facing our nation and coming up with solutions"

You are so wrong Ian. We (our nation) want OUR MPs to clean up their acts and stop shafting us for their outrageous expense claims.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous 8.19. I agree with you, but you clearly did not read the debate. Lamentable. It was a waste of time.

Submariner said...

"Should you wish to know what any Conservative MP has claimed, click HERE." - Unless their name begins with a "W" and ends with "interton", it would appear Surely to God they need to be deselected now, they are beyond shamelessness.
Who else has bottled it?

Dave said...

As Guido has already pointed out, no sign of the Wintertons.

dan said...

Haven't read the Hansard myself(waste of time, did you say?)

I think they probably called the debate to highlight the expenses being released today. To attempt to gain the lead on this issue with the public. Just a thought.

Oliver Mantell said...

In many ways a dreary and pointless debate, yes.

What struck me, however, was the fixation with the public's 'fixation' with the 'John Lewis list' and whether or not MPs needed to buy furniture for their second homes - and giving less attention to the issue of publishing the expenses claims. Make it public and let the electorate decide what's reasonable, at the ballot box. That's how it's meant to work, isn't it?

PoliticalHack said...

And don't forget that MPs had prior warning that this was going to happen, so they had a chance to ensure that their expenses for the past quarter were cleansed of any awkwardness - like nannying costs, for example.

David Boothroyd said...

Easy to forget that registration of financial interests of Members of Parliament only began in 1975, and that some did not comply even then. Enoch Powell famously never complied. It's only 21 years since he last sat in Parliament but it seems like an aeon.

Matt Wardman said...

I think that the only way we are going to get the correct process on this - i.e., full transparency and similar documentation requirements as the rest of us are required to keep for the Revenue - will be by continued publicity until it happens.

A good move for Mr Cameron, but I want to see a culture of transparency, not "voluntary disclosure".

It is instructive to compare what happened to Heather Brookes in the USA when looking for details of political expenses:

"I simply walked into the clerk’s office of the Legislature, asked to see the expenses and a very friendly member of staff handed them over - everything from hotel bills and room service to flights and stationery costs. The whole matter was concluded in a matter of days at no cost to the taxpayer."

with the process here:

...three page, 1000 word description of part of the 3 year battle to get the information. It is too long to include here...

The reference:
http://tinyurl.com/6lemlu

I think Heather deserves an OBE.

What MPs need to realise is that, far from continued criticism undermining their reputations, it is precisely addressing that criticism directly that is the only way a good reputation can be built.