Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is Cameron About to Sack Some MPs?

From ConservativeHome's Tim Montgomerie...

"David Cameron has a very difficult task.  He's reportedly cleared his diary this morning (should have done so before now) and is surrounded by advisers and, significantly, lawyers.  The public needs to see someone/ some people pay for this milking of the system but it's difficult to single any individual out.  There is no clear line between right and wrong here - only a messy gradation of greediness within rules set by MPs to suit themselves.  He should demand a combination of repayments, public apologies and some MPs should be asked to quit at the next election.

The public will be on David Cameron's side if he takes tough action.  ConservativeHome certainly will back him very strongly.  This is a massive moment in his leadership of the Conservative Party"

Gulp. Clause 4 moment alert. Could be an interesting day ahead...

(Can't add link yet as am on Blackberry)

49 comments:

Andrew Efiong said...

Excellent. We have a year until the next election. Now is the time to clear out those who have abused the system and insulted the humble with their extravagant claims.

Uncle Bob said...

I think a combination of repayments, personal apologies and in the most serious cases, sacking, would definitely be in order. The tories might take a temporary hit in the polls but the public would respect his actions...it would also force Brown to do the same.

Aye We Can ! said...

Go for ir DC. Your country needs it

And this time Brown could not ape you - he'd have to sack half his cabinet!

Catosays said...

More power to Cameron's elbow if he does sack some....'pour encourager les autres'

JBW said...

Why has it taken so long for Cameron to get to this moment?

This expenses story has been rumbling for some time and the DT broke the news last week.

Was Cameron really surprised by the DT news on Tory expenses?

He might be ahead of Brown in taking action but he still seems to be behind the drag curve on this!

A General Election NOW is the only answer.

Ringo said...

Of such moments are great leaders made.

Benny said...

Please show us some balls Cameron. Brown obviously wont.

Patrick said...

Go Dave!

Your big guns (Hague, Osbourne, Gove) aren't in particularly deep doodoo. The stinky ones are the ones you can most do without. Ancram, Hogg, Willets - these people have faces you could just punch all day long. (Ed Balls I could punch for a week. Brown - just use a shotgun).

Be brave, shed some blue blood on the carpet and see how that giant feartie in No.10 fails to respond.

Landlside GE win with big majority to follow and some wind in your sails to listen to John Redwood on public sector cost cutting.

Just do it.

Anonymous said...

If he doesn't take strong action against the Tory Squire-ocracy, who have been maintaining their country manors at public expense, then he will lose all credibility with the ordinary voter.

He must demand that repayments are made and unreserved apologies made. If neither are forthcoming, then he should sack them from the Shadow Cabinet and withdraw the Whip.

If the Tory Party doesn't want to be permanently linked to the 'Tory Toff' image and lose any credibility with 'normal' people, he has to be seen to act.

These Tory Grandees are beyond contempt. They are gentrified SPIVS.

Bardirect said...

A dangerous PR stunt looms.

With elections 3 weeks away sackings will carry a sting with the public creating an impression that the Tories were worse than Labour.

The Gove/Lansley/two-brains defence is lost on even Daily Mail readers.

It will not force Brown to follow suit as firstly, he cannot accept the responsibility needed, secondly, he will not want to move incumbents on to the back benches, and thirdly, if he can exploit Tory sackings his friendly BBC will do the rest for him.

Scary Biscuits said...

It'a bad sign that Cameron is ensconced with lawyers. He should take action them on his own test, whether it looks reasonable to a reasonable person.

He can then challenge MPs who object to fight him in the courts. Guess who will come up looking best?

Consulting lawyers is a very civil servant type of thing to do. It suggests lack of confidence in his own opinions or lack of backbone. Lawyers always err on the side of caution, so employing them invariably results in fewer people being sacked than who deserved it. Cameron should behave more like somebody who employs in the private sector. It is a shame he hasn't had more experience there.

Simon Emmett said...

It's going to be one of those days where everyone will be watching the Sky News yellow banner with baited breath.

Stan said...

Only voters can sack MPs.

headless said...

As a tory voter I would be delighted if Cameron took the lead on this.

If he has any sense, he will also use it as an opportunity to (carefully) clear out some of the "chaff" from the party...

Anonymous said...

But what's he going to do about his own WISTERIA problem.He should withdraw whip.

Cybgen said...

I really hope so, especially in this day of age where falling on your own sword when you discredit your post or position is a thing of the past.

Tony said...

It beggars belief that all those MPs that have made statements along the lines of "the rules said it was OK so I claimed for it" think that this is fair and acceptable practice. Clearly not many have worked for businesses with well-established rules for people required to regularly work away from home for much of the year. In most businesses making a false expenses claim is the basis for "gross misconduct" which usually results in losing ones job if proved to be true. Manipulating one's expenses is no more acceptable.

A defence of sorts has been mounted by some MPs that they don't have the time to properly prepare their expense claims. If this is the case then the response to them should be "don't submit them". I'm willing to bet that these same MPs can afford copious amounts of times to minimise their tax liability even if this gets in the way of them doing their 'proper job'. There is absolutely no excuse for not making a proper expense claim and as soon as it is handed in to the Fees Office it should be assumed that it has been prepared properly and dealt with on this basis. Anything remotely suspicious should be rejected and the rules should not allow resubmission.

Some of the letters that the Fees Office have written are cringe-worthy. It isn't their job to bend over backwards to allow us, the taxpayer, to be shafted. If they had spent less time trying to be 'helpful' and more time verifying claims then MPs would grow up out of their 'it's alright to nick stuff from Woolies' mentality and behave with probity. Party leaders should force their MPs to repay anything that cannot clearly pass a probity test. Failure to do so should be regarded as 'gross misconduct', the Whip withdrawn and the person deselected. If these individuals want to stand as independents, good luck to them. People don't normally find shysters very acceptable, do they?

cjcjc said...

I hope so, but I doubt it.

Julian Ware-Lane said...

Surely Mr Cameron has got to wait until all the revelations have come to light before he does anything? The 'sack them all' approach might sound good, but if he acts precipitately he could end up with no-one left in his team.

Democracy will not be best served by panic and knee-jerk reactions.

Oldrightie said...

He should sack the abusers and get everyone, including himself, to repay dubious claims.

golden_balls said...

If he does take action and with that i mean mps resign as mps rather than the whip being taken away.

He will have huge support from the public if this happens.

Boo said...

As for the Timing, I guess he had to wait til all the facts were out.

As for the Lawyers, it has to be watertight or there may be a fumble.

I guess it is Lib dmes tommorrow.
I suppose as long as Clegg and Cable don't get soaked their be fine as nobody has heard of any of the others.

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

Go Dave Go!

Seize the initiative mate.

PIENOMICS said...

I have a suggestion Iain.

All who have abused the 'spirit' of the rules should be forced to repay the expenses claimed plus a contribution to a local charity

All those whose behaviour goes beyond abusing the 'spirit' of the rules should be sacked if they hold a shadow post and/or deselected for the forthcoming election.

No-one in any walk of life is indispensable. There are plenty of able people who could fill the vacancies.

This is DC's clause 4 moment. I hope he grasps it.

Plato said...

Dave must go for it. I agree that lawyers may be more cautious, however it gives his decisions legitimacy rather than 'doing a McBride' hatchet-job on those he's percieved to dislike.

neil craig said...

Again this would be a hostage to fortune if done before the Telegraph have printed all their stuff. What if something worse comes out?

Swiss Bob said...

He did look genuinely angry this morning on Sky. I hope so.

I've put it up on YouTube if anyone's interested, I guess you can find your way there if you want to see it.

Iain, feel free to embed any videos.

John said...

Here's what I would do to deal with the "expenses crisis" and hit Labour with a torpedo.

Knowing full well that Tory MPs have not exploited the system to anything like the extent to which Labour MPs (and Peers) have, I would demand that sitting MPs repay ALL their expenses (above so much per month) for the period since 1997, including any Capital Gains on house transactions involved in House expenses claims and NOT in their constituencies (indexed against inflation). All those who did not agree would have the Whip removed. And then it would be:

Over to you property moguls, Hazel Blears, Alastair Darling, McNulty, Margaret Moran, and their leader, Gordon Brown ...

Marian said...

David Cameron should place the Conservative party in an unassailable position of high moral authority over New Labour if he takes the initiative and sacks all the MP’s in his shadow ministerial team who have plainly been “troughing it” at the taxpayers expense as well as forcing them to repay their ill-gotten gains to the public purse. He should also make it clear to local Conservatives that he will expect them to de-select rank and file MP's who have also been “troughing it”. History tells us that we should not anticipate Brown having the guts to do the same with the New Labour party.

Armchair said...

DC has Broon by the bollocks on this one. Would Broon dare sack what we so far believe to be his worst offenders, who are probably THE worst offenders of all....Blears, Hoon, Smith and so on.

Our front bench by comparison were relatively clean.

Claims fall into two camps as I see it

1.
Claims that wholly exploit the weaknesses in the system with, malice aforethought, to enable the claimant to build up an asset portfolio or cash reserve at the tax-payers expense, whilst dodging the tax liability. The best example is quite clearly Hazel Blears but Hoon and and Darling appear to have done similar.


2.
Making claims that were well within the rules but were only allowable because the rules are so pitifully pathetic.

That is what most of our lot have done to be honest

If DC sacks someone and forces them to step down at the next election then Broon could only respond by sacking Blears and I am not sure that he would dare. He is too weak.

Chalcedon said...

What is so damaging are comments about hanging chandeliers and cleaning moats. It really does give the impression of the 'Tory Toff'. Very few politicians are going to smell of roses after all this.

Glyn H said...

He must take the moral high ground. Maude and Ancram should resign. Hogg and Willets, Arbuthnot and Spicer should stand down and seek re-election now. Gove and Lansley have legitimate excuse and should stay with Cameron’s support. Duncan should express remorse and repay, as should Letwin.

That should put HMG on notice that their time is up.

And a No Confidence motion against Squealer Martin should be on a three-line whip.

Mog said...

What is really worrying is that MP's still do not understand the anger of the public. Nadine is treading on dangerous ground when she says she is going to defend the "majority" of hard working wonderfully parsimonius MP's. Another MP dismissed my concerns with alarming arrogance.

I have voted Conservative at every election for the last 30 years. I am voting UKIP in June. Maybe then they will get the message.

Thats News said...

Ex-drug dealer says he can claim MPs with their expenses claimsSounds interesting!

Adam said...

I share everyone else's anger at the expenses scandal but I'm concerned that Cameron could be about to behead some very good MPs as scapegoats for a rotten system. Having watched a lot of Parliamentary proceedings over the years people like Hogg and David Davis for example would be very high on my list of the best MPs in Parliament.

Jules said...

Good. I note that James Arbuthnot is about to replace Maria Miller as my MP at the next election (boundary changes) and I have no desire to either vote for him or subsidise his ponies and alpacas. He looks like he is doing a Jacqui Smith - wife, kids, ponies and alpacas at his second home? Please I am about to see my taxes go up again and may have to rethink my daughter's education. I am struggling to vote Conservative at the moment, and am reconsidering having agreed to stand as a Conservative for our parish council, having just been asked to by our local Conservatives.

Anonymous said...

David Cameron will boost his popularity and will enhance his party's chances if he takes courage and sack those infidels like Grayling, Duncan, Letwin, Gove etc.. polluting his front bench

The Tory party does not look good
with David Davis furnishing his house, Spicer hanging chandelier, Hogg cleaning moats, Heathcoat-Amory on horse manure all billed to the hapless tax payers. Where does it say These MPs should enhance their property value and enrich property portfolios and how do these nefarious practices square up with their work in their constituencies?

I do not agree as a Tory voter, that Tory MPs came out light. What will comeback to haunt Cameron, is the sleaze tag John Major carried. Voters will say, rightly so, that Tory party has not changed and it is as sleazy as ever.

It is a good opportunity presented to him and Hague and other clean front benchers to get rid of the sleazebags in the front bench and ask the constituencies to deselect tainted ones like David Davis ( who should be ashamed), Hogg, Spicer and Heath-coat Amory. Otherwise, Tory voters will melt away and stay at home.

UB41 said...

There's a lot to be thought through Iain.

I think given the permutations and combinations it would be difficult for anyone to get sacked (never mind justifying why if they are dare I say it "within the rules")

Shameless plugging on my behalf, but some musings from me

http://ub41.blogspot.com/2009/05/what-can-party-leaders-do.html

I think the Pay It Back option is the only one really open to the parties at the moment, however I can see that descending into a farce if they're not careful

wolfie said...

The answers are these Dave.

MP's to pay back the excess claims.

Make those caught apply to be reselected by their constituency party ( or not).

Move John Redwood onto the front bench immeadiately ( preferably as shadow chancellor) if not in a special role as Head of operation " Economic Restoration"

Anonymous said...

Cameron needs to draw a clear line that he can justify and then deal with those who have crossed it. Fudging the issue with a few sacrificial lambs will not do. It is not an easy job, but if he does it properly he will take the country with him.

Liz said...

Good. Surprised it only just seems to have occurred to him, but good.

Mike Thomas said...

I'm guessing at withdrawing the whip is for starters and initiating disciplinary actions (hence the lawyers).

I suspect Dave will act today so he's got some depleted uranium rounds to fire at Brown for PMQ tomorrow. Now that would be politically explosive for Brown.

Personally, I think these 'grandees' should all get the sack. Ancram especially for his traitorous 'pamphlet' last year. Also, many of these 'grandees' were impediments to the reform we needed.

Anonymous said...

Very cautious about all this aren't you?
Shouldn't you be asking, what is Cameron's proposed alternative to 'additional costs allowances'?
Or is it the same as all his other policies, do nothing?

Tra laa!

David Hughes said...

I hope so, it would begin to set the right example for the long road to reverse the problems generated in the last 12 years - but I'm not holding my breath.
Incapability Brown will not follow suit and Clegg dare not ( too few people to lose).
Sadly, we may see one or two scalps, but not much else - and the ship of shame, err, sorry, state will plough on.
If you listen carefully, that whirring sound is the noise of "honourable" Members of the past ( of both left and right) spinning in their graves and wondering what it was all for !

jailhouselawyer said...

David Cameron is mistaken to believe that if MPs say sorry and repay their fiddled expenses it will be alright.

Anonymous said...

Even if Gordon Brown sacked the whole cabinet and then resigned himself, it wouldn't be good enough.

I'm so angry about this, I'm currently refusing to participate in paying any tax at all.
Bollocks to them!

Ex Tory,now UKIP said...

Cameron has'nt the back bone to take any serious action against the worst offenders. I have lost faith in some of my former heroes in the Party as they have besmirched the title of Right Honourable member.Sleaze is back, and the view that the leader has lead them back as an electable alternative has had a serious set back.

Ex Tory,now UKIP said...

Cameron has'nt the back bone to take any serious action against the worst offenders. I have lost faith in some of my former heroes in the Party as they have besmirched the title of Right Honourable member.Sleaze is back, and the view that the leader has lead them back as an electable alternative has had a serious set back.

Andrew F said...

"...and some MPs should be asked to quit at the next election."

A little bit of self-interest involved there, Iain? ;)