Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cameron Lays Down the Law on Expenses

David Cameron has done exactly what was required at his press conference. His anger showed through and I think most reasonably minded people will feel that the measures he announced are a good start in reforming a terrible system. He was careful not to pre-empt Sir Christopher Kelly, but the new rules for the conduct of Conservative MPs should do much to allay the genuine concerns of the public.

  • Shadow Cabinet Ministers will be paying back excess money they have claimed
  • In future Tory MPs will only be allowed to claim for rent, utility bills and council tax
  • MPs will now have to post expense claims on their websites as they make them
  • A new panel will be formed to police MPs claims and order MPs to repay money on pain of being expelled if they do not

This puts Harriet Harman's desperate little attention seeking announcement to shame. She has written to some select committee asking them to put in place a procedure to identify payments which have been made to MPs wrongly. The trouble with that is that it will be policed by the same people who paid the money out in the first place. And who is charge of that system? The Speaker.

UPDATE: Here are his remarks in full...

I don't normally reprint speeches in their entirety here, but for those who didn't see David Cameron's press conference, here is what he said in his opening remarks....

“I want to speak directly about the issue that’s doing so much to undermine our whole political process: MPs’ expenses. I want to start by saying sorry. Sorry that it’s come to this. And sorry for the actions of some Conservative MPs. People are right to be angry that some MPs have taken public money to pay for things few could afford. You’ve been let you down. Politicians have done things that are unethical and wrong. I don’t care if they were within the rules – they were wrong.

So what are we going to do to sort it out? An independent inquiry into MPs’ expenses is underway, but it won’t be reporting until later this year. I don’t want my party to wait that long. So I want to set out this afternoon the action I’m taking right now.

And by that I don’t mean things I’d like the Government to do. I don’t mean things I’d like the House of Commons Committee to look at. I mean things that my Party, the Conservative Party; Conservative MPs, the things that they will do – right now.

To start with, I want to establish the new principles that we will abide by. I’ve said that the thing we need more than anything else in this country, the idea that will be at the heart of everything a Conservative Government will do, is responsibility.

When so many of the problems that face our country - like debt, like family breakdown, like crime are questions of individual behaviour and personal responsibility, then it’s vital that our representatives in Parliament set an example.

I’ve also said that a Conservative Government needs to be careful, not casual, with public money. That principle of thrift should apply to Conservative MPs as well.

So from now on, I want them to claim what is reasonable to do their job, not the maximum they can get away with. I have explained these principles clearly to my party today. First with the Shadow Cabinet, then with the Parliamentary Party. From these principles of social responsibility and thrift follow the actions that we’re taking.

I’ve had a series of meetings with various members of my shadow cabinet to go through those expense claims that have caused concern, and to agree what we are going do about it.

So Michael Gove will pay back the £7,000 claimed for furniture.
Oliver Letwin will pay back the £2,000 for the pipe under his tennis court.
Andrew Lansley will pay back the £2,600 for home improvements.
Alan Duncan will pay back nearly £5,000 for gardening expenses.
Francis Maude will no longer claim any money for his second home in London.
And neither will Chris Grayling.
Theresa Villiers - the only London MP in the shadow cabinet – will follow suit later this year.

I’ve also dealt with some of the smaller, but nevertheless significant, claims that have caused concern, whether that is Ken Clarke’s council tax bill in Nottinghamshire or David Willetts’s electrical bill. George Osborne will pay back the cost of a particularly expensive car journey.
And I will pay back the only maintenance bill I have claimed in eight years as a Member of Parliament.

For the whole Conservative Parliamentary party of all Conservative MPs I have established a new Scrutiny Panel to review every excessive expense claim by any Conservative MP and to decide whether the money should be paid back.

So let me make this absolutely clear. I’ve said that we want to put responsibility at the heart of our society; we want to put thrift at the heart of our government. So we’ve got to live by those values.

So Conservative MPs who have made excessive expense claims will have to go in front of that Scrutiny Panel and pay back the money agreed or they will no longer be Conservative MPs. It is as simple as that.

I have also insisted on the following actions with immediate effect.

First, I’m making first my Shadow Cabinet, and then all MPs, publish online – for everyone to see - every expense claim they make as they make it. Second, I’m banning so-called ‘flipping’ – the process where some MPs change what they describe as their first and their second home to make the most of what they can claim on expenses. Third, any Conservative MP selling a home for which the mortgage interest payments are currently paid by the taxpayer must confirm that if they sell it they will pay Capital Gains Tax on it. And fourth, I’m banning my MPs from making claims for any furniture, household goods or food. Only rent, mortgage interest, overnight bills, utility bills and council tax can be claimed.

Now these actions alone of course they will not fix our broken politics. It’s just a start. I know it’s going to take time and effort to repair a system that has been allowed to deteriorate over many years. We are going to have to build that system brick by brick and the public confidence in it.

But when it comes down to it I think all of us want the same thing – we want to be proud of our Parliament and the people in it. We’ve got big, big problems in this country. We need big change.

If we win the next election, we’ll be asking the whole country to come together to show social responsibility, personal responsibility and thrift. So the least we can do is to ask Parliament to live by those values as well.”

88 comments:

Bernie said...

Also laying down the law on Lord T and hollow questions from The Mirror.

stuart said...

I'm not a Tory, but I have to say that Cameron has shown real action and leadership on this. And there's some real meat in what he's announcing.

Compare that to Gordon Brown. Where is he? Nowhere. What's he doing? Nothing.

Knut said...

I thought he was brilliant, saying the right things, and more importantly doing them too.

While it would have been nice to have seen some heads on platters, I imagine firing people when no actual rules were broken would be dodgy legally.

Simon said...

Not good enough. Should benefit fraudsters be given the chance just to repay the money and thereby get off the hook? These people have wilfully exploited the system and Cameron should have expelled them from the party. He has to do more before I will even consider voting Tory.

Mog said...

Dave was as good as he could have been. However, the words stable, door, horse, bolted, shut, after etc etc spring to mind.

It wont stop this lifelong Tory voter supporting UKIP in June as its the only way I can express my disgust at the troughers in general.

Andrew Efiong said...

It's good but it's too late, he's being forced to react to the Telegraph leaks. We knew the receipts were being touted around for, what, a month now? It's only when the headlines come that Cameron reacts.

Still, it is miles ahead of Brown. Cameron is leading, Brown has yet to follow.

Cameron tried to get talks with Clegg and Brown but the PM did his Youtube thing and effectively tried to dictate some weak rules.

So Cameron discovers some backbone whilst Brown - and Westminster in general - is left floundering.

ConstantlyFurious said...

Ha! As I say here: Told you soThe Tory "Grandees" could easily afford to pay back the money, whereas the Labour "Flat-Flippers", whose money is tied up in devalued flats, could not.

A great opportunity to score points, eh?

Expect Cameron to go on the attack now: "Why can't they do the same?"

Simon said...

"Shadow Cabinet Ministers will be paying back excess money they have claimed"

So can we look forward to a law under Cameron whereby if you submit a dodgy tax return or make a fraudulent benefit claim you'll be let off as long as you pay it back? ie a charter for criminals. Or is it to be another case of "one law for us"? Pass the sick bags.

Anonymous said...

Yes a notable contast to Labour and the Liberal Democrats who seem to be saying things for the sake of it.

What i want to know is why Clegg will apologise for political purposes on MP's expenses but not on the Michael Brown donation?

Whilst Money is being paid back surely the 'Brown' Money has to be paid by the Liberal Democrats to pay the people robber.

Wallenstein said...

There's still a lot of wriggle room in that term "paid wrongly". Many of the claims were within the rules - i.e. not "wrong" in that sense - but clearly crossed a moral line.

There will no doubt be some claims that were incorrect according to the rules, but the real issue is the claims that were within the rules but which offend the public sense of fair play.

[WV: proked, from vb. "to proke" (lit. clean out), as in "I used tax payers' money when I proked the moat around my country estate.]

TrueBlueBlood said...

Totally agree Iain.

Great start by DC.

Now Gordon and his team of Muppets will have to react...and they will be seen as reacting only because the Tories did

The Grim Reaper said...

But not a single one of his troughing little piggies has been sacked. If you call that leadership, I daren't ask what you would call an example of complacency.

fran39 said...

Iain - I've never voted Conservative and never posted here but I've lurked for some time, enjoying your thoughts and writing. I think that this afternoon DC won the next general election. It was pitch perfect and, as you say, puts shabby soggy Labour to shame. Ms Harmon was a joke - I can't beleive that Labour still doesn't get it

Gareth said...

Brilliant. 'Who can run the most transparent ship' is the new game in town.

One minor addition - if they can claim rent they need to be disuaded from renting each other's properties.

No mortgage interest means no property portfolios thanks to my enforced generosity. Which is nice.

The transparency Cameron is insisting upon will do the rest.

Peter Thomas said...

Ah, that's more like it. Well done, Mr Cameron.

James Burdett said...

That was good from Cameron. It was proportionate but firm and he has given notice to anyone who quibbles about paying money back that they will find themselves outwith the Conservative Party. He also put Tebbit on notice.

I think this was a strong reaction from David Cameron.

yarnesfromhorsham said...

So how do we get rid of this load of Scottish cretins. Speaker, PM., Darling, McNulty et al. If Labour is to make it - it has to "dis" the Scots

disgusted said...

"I don't care if they were within the rules," he said of claims made in the past. "They were wrong."


Bravo Cameron

Gareth Thomas said...

So, not the big news we were led to expect then? If no heads are rolling, how does that give Cameron the high moral ground over the Brown bunch? They are all drawing close ranks and the Conservatives have not created the distance we were expecting from the corrupt regime we want to kick out. Who will be the beneficiaries? The minority (extreme) parties, unfortunately. This is a missed opportunity. Bad news and we can only expect continued decline in respect for parliamentary process if this is the best Cameron can offer.

Anonymous said...

Cameron just murdered Brown and Labour on live TV, Cameron being comprehensive and Labour going "not my problem,guv"

Anonymous said...

Can we do the EU now please? And QUANGOs and Councils, NHS, etc etc - pretty please?

Cybgen said...

Quite impressed with Cameron, admittedly I would have preferred some blood on the carpet but his demand of pay it back or loose the whip/cabinet post will do in the meantime.
Concerning the comment by one of the media saying that all Conservatives are living up to the stereotypical image then the voters who think this would never have voted conservative in the first place.
Has this gone enough in the right direction to stop people voting for the BNP then to be honest I don't know, there needs to be more action from the other mainstream parties. Understandably the Liberal Democrats are waiting to find out what's in store for them first before replying and as for the Labour Party, well the silence is deafening.

Yak40 said...

It's only when the headlines come that Cameron reacts.
Maybe he didn't (couldn't ?) know the details until the headlines came.

Ruth@VS said...

I thought it was balanced and firm action from Cameron. The problem he will have is from the people who see this as their right - Hogg this morning raised my blood pressure, for example, by suggesting that a housekeeper paid for by the taxpayer was an absolutely essential requirement for his second home - quite astonishing.

So Cameron has tightened his grip and taken positive steps, he just has to keep at it now - those MPs who don't like it can step down at the next election.

Anoneumouse said...

It's just a pity that they wont be paying any interest (pro rata)

Anonymous said...

McCavity's gone to ground again and Harman's announcement on his behalf is tripe:

We have consistently been told that 'all the expense claims were within the Rules.' So why is she now asking for them to be re-examined to see if they were within the Rules and if not, how money can be repaid?

Either they were within the Rules - in which case this is simply an exercise to pacify an angry electorate - and post June 4 we will be told that no money had to be repaid ..... or they lied and the expenses were not within the Rules.

Which is it?

As for Cameron ... this was a good start. But he still needs to deal with the Tory Squire-ocracy. There are too many lords of the manor in the Tory Party. He needs MPs who understand that £64,000 is actually quite a good salary; particularly when you take into account all the other perks.

To the Squire-ocracy, £64,000 is chicken-feed. How can they possibly connect with ordinary voters when they have no understanding of the real value of money.

Anonymous said...

hehe

Just on Sky News

labour already in panic and chief whips “trying” to organize emergency paybacks from labour mps, the cameron press conference just made them crap themselves. Good luck because i an bet they wont want to pay back.

Tachybaptus said...

Not enough. These people are thieves, and deserve punishment. I have voted Conservative since 1966, but no more. It will have to be the UKIP now. Silly as they are, they are not actually criminals.

In fact the BNP, about whom people have been piously tut-tutting, are now morally superior to the Conservatives.

FloTom said...

I am sorry I fail to understand why these people think that paying this money back, whilst desirable, will make any difference.

It can not change the fact that these people did not have the judgement or the morals to NOT claim this money in the first place.

If their judgement is flawed how can the public have any faith in them passing laws?

I repeat a disolution is the only appropriate response.

Stepney said...

I said to my Mum on Saturday, I said "Mum, the next few days are going to be buttock-clenching for the Tories but that Cameron is going to wait until the big ones are out of the bag and then he's going to kick some serious arse. He's a political animal and this is one crisis he can take advantage of. Brown won't, so Cameron will."

This is manna from heaven.

If you listen quietly you can hear the Nokias splintering into pieces down Whitehall way...

JBW said...

I was impressed by the way David dealt with the press questions. A good performance all round considering.

Even so, it may be too late to rescue some Tory MPs reputations. I doubt I shall be voting for Maude after all this.

A general election NOW is still required IMHO.

Catosays said...

Cameron doesn't need to point the finger at Labour and challenge them to do something.

The Court of Public Opinion will soon reach a verdict.

PIENOMICS said...

Pretty impressed with that.

As one of the other posters said, let's now move our attention to the EU and all its outrageous fiddles and corruption.

Not a sheep said...

I have been quite impressed by David Cameron's speedy and decisive action over this matter. I was never a huge fan, I would have preferred DD or Liam Fox but now... Mind you compared to Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman, Jack Straw or even Alan Johnston I think I would accept Anne Widecombe.

Former Tory said...

What will we do if our Tory MP does not have a Web site (As in my case)
How will I discover how he is spending his allowance or will it be be published in another media?

Anonymous said...

It's a start, but those who played the system knowing that their claims had little connection with 'wholly, necessarily and exclusively' are still there; and the statement does not refer to all the other backbenchers who will also have profited. Shouldn't Cameron have left it to constituency associations to satisfy themselves that their Members' conduct was honourable - and called on all other Members' associations, regardless of party, to do the same?

David said...

Next election signed sealed and delivered. With leadership like this there may even be hope for the country. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Why are Francis Maude, Chris Grayling and Teresa Villiers not paying anything back?

If Cameron feels they ought to stop their claims because they're wrong, surely they ought to pay them back too?

Perhaps these bills are too large for even wealthy people.

Margaret Moran is paying her large £22,000 claim back, why not them?

Stepney's mum said...

He did you know - he did say that. Don't forget Stepney lad - it's your Aunty Enid's birthday next Monday.

Victor, NW Kent said...

I now feel, for the first time, that Cameron will get a grip when he is Prime Minister.

I look forward to a bonfire of the quangos and the collapse of the Guardian when it loses its monopoly on public service job advertising.

I really believe that he will knock some heads and put sense into the EU conundrum.

I even believe that he might just lead a revival in what we used to call "British" values.

Invicta said...

Cameron may not have pre-empted Sir Christopher Kelly but he has set a precedent of "minimum reform" for him to follow. Very clever.

Johnny Norfolk said...

At last some " Leadership"

Where is Brown and Labour, having more reports and meetings and doing nothing.

Scott said...

Well done, Mr. Cameron. He has taken exactly the right actions today and presented them very well at his press conference. And he handles the questions well too. Over to you, Gordon . . .

TeRLocK said...

Yep, think he did a good job. Whilst I understand (and share) the desire for blood it's a very dangerous game to start hanging people out to dry. In recent times the Tories have been infamous for tearing themselves to pieces internally, the same divides and rifts are best dealt with internally and over a period of time. Sadly, as much as everyone wants it, the situation cannot be fixed by ripping out all the bad apples at once. In the same way when a company is on the rocks new management will take their time and shift people out the door quietly and one by one, Cameron needs to slowly work those he cannot trust out the door. It appears from his language he was unaware of the claims until they were made public. I'm not sure of the process involved with expense claiming and whether he has access to his party's claims, but if not, he is doing the right thing in declaring them wrong, making them repay and gradually working them out of the party.

As for the calls to see them arrested, that's not Cameron's job. If a criminal offence has been committed (which is what the compared benefit fraud is) then the police and HMRC need to be dealing with it, not the leader of the opposition.

Martin said...

sorry Iain, Cameron should have gone further. Written apologies and even possibly the withdrawing of the whip.

I also think Cameron should have made it clear HE didn't want these MPs standing at the next election. How can the Tories move on with the same idiots still around?

Cameron blew it.

Anonymous said...

It's good that DC has taken action, just a pity he didn't do it earlier. The rumours have been around for long enough that the s**t would hit the fan.

He should have also put a stop to 2nd jobs while he was sorting things out.

Anonymous said...

Iain (and the previous 32 posters)
You have left mortgage interest off the list of items that can be charged.

Prodicus said...

Head and shoulders above all other front bench politicians, all parties. Left Brown in his dust.

Lots of Tory waverers bound in tight, I'm sure. Floaters will think, 'Oof, what a relief after Brown'.

He has instructed Labour MPs and Brown what they are allowed to do from now on. Brown will be a volcano tonight and his MPs will now start tearing each other to shreds.

Working within considerable legal constraint, he has outgunned his enemies within the Party and done everything presently possible, and done it with frank good grace, dignity, authority, panache and polish.

Opponents outflanked and in disarray. Enemies cornered. Mirror bitch-slapped, just for fun. Norman warned. Propriety observed re. the Speaker. Faithful cheering.

Job done.

Prodicus said...

Anyone know when McCavity's press conference is?

Iain Aitch said...

Can't stand Cameron as a rule, but truly think this was a master stroke. Trumped Brown by some way, left no way back for Labour over this and showed leadership. Perfectly pitched, written and delivered.

Anonymous said...

yarnesfromhorsham @ 4.06pm

On your hobby-horse? It's not because they're Scottish,it's because they're LABOUR.
As I listened to Jon Snow SHOUTING at Cameron, I did hope that DC would ask Snow to take the same line/tone with Brown.

Paul Halsall said...

Better than Brown, for sure.

Oliver Drew said...

@Tachybaptus - BNP morally superior to the Conservatives - do you honestly think that? I think your moral compass has gone wrong if you do.

I think Cameron has done exactly what he needed to do. It is reasonable that MPs should only claim rent/mortgage interest and utility bills as their allowance for 2nd homes FOR NOW.

He has done what Brown can't do. As Brown is caught up himself in this scandal he has no authority to tell Labour MPs to "pay it back". Cameron on the other hand can and has.

He has shown real leadership and determination.

Whether or not criminal investigations take place is not a matter for David Cameron to suggest, complaints to the police need to be made for that to happen.

As for requiring more severe punishments - Cameron has threatened to withdraw the whip if the money is not paid back. That is ALL he can do; he can't withdraw the whip without giving them an opportunity to pay the money back. They should also apologise.

Cameron has done exactly the right thing and can't really be criticized for it.

Anonymous said...

Cameron's actions seem fair proportionate and timely - there may be more to come if there is fraud on the scale of Smiths and McNulty's.

These are expenses claims and they show up our MPs to be mean, petty and desperate. Its sad pathetic and shoddy.

But thats all it is. They have not murdered anybody.

It costs money to employ MPs and anyone - especially if they are poor and have talent should be encouraged to be one. They should not be out of pocket according to their travel and subsistence. Family life should be encouraged.

I can guarantee one thing when all this is over - MPs will get less in expenses - there will be greater pressure for a higher salary and the costs of policing everything will shoot up.

We the taxpayer will end up paying more.

Unless you vote conservative because Cameron has said he will reduce the number of MPs.

Mr Mog and his ilk seem content to throw the baby out with the bathwater. A UKIP MP would have behaved just the same way as any other party's and they are a scandal riven party themselves.

Old Dominion Tory said...

A good opening salvo from Mr. Cameron. Is it possible that some of these MPs' constituencies will (discreetly, at first) ask them to go quietly into that good night? Doing so would bring in some fresh blood as well as show the Tories as a dynamic, democratic organization, especially when compared to sclerotic top-down (way down) Labour.

Mike Thomas said...

Best speech he could have possibly made in the circumstances.

I like to think he would have loved to exercise the executive cutlery but legally I figure it would have been very messy.

As it is though, it is the right thing to do, will start the process of winning back trust and also puts Labour very, very far behind events.

Some of his MPs might have poor judgement but Dave's a PM in waiting.

Gareth said...

Thanks for the update. So they can claim mortgage interest. There's no shame in renting and it would avoid any suspicion of building a property empire with other people's money.

Not a kneejerk high enough for me but it's a very good response all the same.

jailhouselawyer said...

Iain: Cameron bottled it!

Anonymous said...

I may just go shoplifting next week, load up with all kinds of goodies - then tell any person stopping me leaving. I may just pay for some of it myself...

jon dee said...

I'll bet Labour's Kitty Ussher gets plastered tonight, or should I say, artexed.

Grumpy Old Sod said...

The boy did well, probably enough to restore his lead in the polls...

I guess there are few new holes in the bunker wall and some more bits of phones and printers all over the floor.

When the going got tough, Hitler had the right idea.

Barnacle Bill said...

The old uniform cap is definitely be doffed in Mr. Cameron's direction, a statesman like performance, one than should leave the Fifeshire Feartie rocking himself to sleep tonight down in der Bunker.
As for those calling for blood, leave that up to the local constituency parties, when re-selection time comes around.
Nice one DC

Anonymous said...

But I thought Gove was 'totally in the clear'? So why is he having to pay back the money?

Its a good start, though....

Simon The Bluesman said...

Iain, thank you for your excellent coverage. This is my first time at responding to you. David Cameron has sprinted out of the blocks on this issue in order to shut the stable doors. It's just a shame that the horses bolted years ago. Michael Martin is a disgrace and should resign immediately - can he not see just how much contempt the electorate holds him in.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't buy it - they didn't think this was a problem until they got caught. They were quite happy to clean their metaphorical moats at our expense and thought there was nothing wrong with it.

Now suddenly they get some bad headlines and make a "noble gesture" - this is nothing of the sort, just more spin.

Then you have Francis Maude agreeing that it's wrong to claim £35,000 for a house when he already owns one on the same road and announcing that he will no longer claim for it, but refusing point blank to pay any of the money back. So it's wrong for him to receive the money now, but it wasn't in the past when nobody knew about it!

Madness.

M said...

@ Mike Thomas...

"...exercise the executive cutlery..."

Best laugh I've had today. Mind if I borrow that one periodically?

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid they should not be allowed to claim mortgage interest.

The root cause of the scandals revealed is the things that have been claimed as "maintenance". If you rent, your landlord pays for maintenance and upkeep, which is fine, but stopping claims for these things will not work if you can claim mortgage interest.

If you buy, you can increase your mortgage to pay for improvements and then get the taxpayer to cover the interest on the loan. You will not pay CGT on the element of gain made because of the improvement either, because you will be able to offset the cost of this from the gain.

Even if you do not make improvements out of mortgage money, you may well gain simply from increases in house prices. OK, maybe not now, but in future, probably. So you will benefit by 60% of that gain courtesy of the taxpayer and that is wrong.

And pensions? When is that scandal going to be addressed?

Bishop Hill said...

I guess the parliamentary party wouldn't allow DC to put a stop to mortgage interest. So MPs can still continue to build property portfolios at public expense.

And Tories think DC's presentation was a triumph...

strapworld said...

Mog, are you trying to tell me that UKIP have not had their noses in the european trough? Come of it. You might as well vote for the BNP! Nonsensical.

Andrew Efiong- But nobody knew what each MP was claiming until the Telegraph printed the details!

Personally I do not mind if people live in Manor Houses, large Farms or aexpensive London abode. But I do object to our taxation paying for things we have to pay from our wages/pensions etc.

Never forget that all MP's have to go back to their electorate! THAT is when it will hit them. When they find they do not have the small army of volunteers helping them win their election! That knocks on doors are met with abuse!

The people will get their own back on these parasites from all parties!

But David Cameron did very well.

The Half-Blood Welshman said...

I suspect, in answer to whoever asked "how will they be published online if my MP doesn't have a website," they will have to be sent to CPHQ to be put on the party's website. That way, the leadership can see who is claiming what.

Surprised Duncan has survived, I must admit. Not only a stupid claim but also that horror performance on HIGNFY a couple of weeks ago where he argued for a hundredfold increase in MPs salaries (yes I know he was joking but...) He should count himself very lucky and walk on eggshells for six months.

Everyone who says these people are comparable to benefit fradusters and should be jailed, or alternatively fraudsters should be allowed to return the money and forget it, is completely missing the point. As Nick Robinson pointed out, these were legal - unethical and stupid, but legal. If you claim something, by mistake, and discover your error and return the money, that's usually OK (especially if it's their error) - remember that was the whole thing about tax credits when they first came in.

This is a reasonable start - now to say that when[/if] he wins the next election it will be applied to all MPs and get Clegg to back him - then I think the toxicity of this issue will go down.

Stepney said...

Mum,

I totally forgot it was Aunt Enid' birthday next week. A forgivable oversight since she's been dead 7 years next Michaelmas.

Did you forget to take the blue ones this morning?

The Penguin said...

OK, so there is still some way to go before everything is perfect, but Cameron has done very well and makes McBroon look even more useless and ineffectual.

Now if HMRC really start taking a close look at every MP's expenses claims from the last 6 years, and whacking then for tax, penalties, and interest it could get very funny indeed.

The Penguin

Anonymous said...

I like what Cameron has done and gives me hope and he's put Brown to shame. Again! That aside, I agree with Simon re catching tax evaders and such - can they not be prosecuted if they pay back the money?

I like the sound of that. Try and evade, if you get caught, pay back what you been caught for. All good thereafter. What a nicer world that would be eh?

So, who wants to rob a bank with me then?

Lee said...

Lets see what happens now. It will all be about the editorials now in tomorrows newspapers. I hear Nick Brown is rapidly trying to find Labour MP's to try and follow suit. To little, to late by the looks of it.....

Michael.S said...

Hi Ian,
Long time supporter of the conservatives, not any more. Dont care how fascist BNP is - they get me vote come GE day.
Thanks for a great blog.

Matt said...

The MPs have done wrong, but fingers should be pointed at whoever permitted the expenses.

Surely anyone seeing the claim for the moat should have said hang on no can do

judith said...

Cameron has done exceedingly well in circumstances that are far trickier than many posters here will allow.

It will be interesting to see in the next few months how many Associations carpet their MPs or encourage them to spend more time with their families.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, that is a very impressive speech. I've not voted Tory for a while now, but this shows someone who is prepared to lead, rather than hide.

Well done, shame it hadn't been done years ago, but that can't be helped.

Mr Brown, over to you !

The Bionic Auditor said...

Gove to return £7000 when he was completely in the clear and ready to sue?

Dale, once again you have egg all over your face.

Anonymous said...

So today we have a leader of an organisation talking firmly and clearly about how his managers will be expected to behave in the future and how some of them will recompense the shareholders for their failings.

On the other hand,we have a Chairman of a COUNTRY suggesting that the police should run an escort agency to ensure it's shareholders can get home safely.This when these same escorts will not even turn up if your house is burgled.
Today was the tipping point when the Conservative Party took over the leadership of this great Isle and the Chairman showed why he will very soon be voted out and dumped by his outraged shareholders.
Remember the day - 12th May 2009.
In a month's time, Chairman Brown will be a fly on your windscreen.

Lord Snooty said...

Very good by Cameron. But of course he's just playing politics (which he is very skilled at). The anger is synthetic - he is simply calculating how best to play this for electoral advantage. Fair play to him - that's what politicians do - but don't try and spin us the line that there is any more to this than that. He doesn't care about this any more than anyone else and is only acting now because it's all out in the open.

Anonymous said...

To all the nit-pickers (NuLab trolls?) - bog off.

How could Cameron act before, thanks to the Telegraph, he knew what was going on?

The 'do nothing' jibe evaporates into dust.

I have never voted Tory. Now I shall.

Steve_Roberts said...

Measured leadership. Brown is totally pwned, as they say. Whatever Brown does now will be too little, too late - unless he has the steel to sack three or four Cabinet ministers. Which of the two looks like a novice now ?

Anonymous said...

Cameron has done good, but ... I now live in Finchley (Conservative Barnet Council; Labour constituency MP standing down at GE) and expect to be knocking on doors for the Tory party in June and whenever the GE comes.

Theresa Villiers was the last of the Shadow Cabinet MPs mentioned by Cameron of whom he said (she) "will follow suit later this year".

I, for one, will follow closely how she extricates herself from claiming more than £15,000 in fees for the purchase of a property in Kennington, South London last year, plus the ongoing monthly £1,062 mortgage interest charges, while owning and living at another property in Chipping Barnet, North London, just 45 minutes by tube from Westminster.

I hope we won't have to wait too long before being able to provide a satisfactory explanation of her actions to local electors in a constituency where we have/had a real opportunity to elect a Conservative MP.

h/t and details here

Elliot Kane said...

This is the first time I have ever felt that Cameron was a possible leader rather a used car salesman. The first time I ever really got the impression that he truly believed in what he was saying. It's very good to see. I'm a floating voter, but if he delivers on this he will go a long way towards winning my vote.

disgusted said...

youtube of cameron's speech

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6KIxlcRNwI

Mostly Ordinary said...

All smoke, no mirror.

If Cameron was so worried about the transparent nature of expenses he could have told MPs to use the £30k a year communcations allowance to publish them on a webpage.

I simply just don't belive that he would have done anything if the story hadn't broken.

Taking action now isn't demostrating values - it is arse covering.

Anonymous said...

So can we see Tory MEP expenses as well then please?

Or just if a National Newspaper manages to get a leaked copy of them?