Saturday, November 07, 2009

Sir Ian Kennedy Distances Himself From Kelly

So, Sir Ian Kennedy (new chairman of the Independent Standards Authority) is a close personal friend of Alastair Campbell. Does it matter? To the Westminster lobby it does - because they missed the story until it was too late. So, it has to be said, did the blogosphere. Alastair Campbell tweeted this morning that he thought he was reading a diary story, until he realised it was the Telegraph's front page splash. Clearly it is a story that Sir Ian is very well plugged in, not just to Alastair Campbell, but many other leading Labour figures. But his background also indicates that he is a man of independent mind.

That is also borne out by his comments in the papers this morning outlining his views on Sir Christopher Kelly's report. He really has put the cat among the pigeons by suggesting that he is not duty bound to accept Kelly's recommendations in full, and that he will do his own thing, thank you very much. Sir Ian is apparently unhappy at the proposal to ban spouses working for MPs and several other things too.

So the fact that Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg accepted Kelly's report in full appears to count for nothing. And in some ways they should have realised that. If you cede parliamentary sovereignty to an outside, independent body, don't be surprised if that decision comes back to bite you.

It just did.


Pam Nash said...

Good blog, Iain. Kennedy is a highly educated man and I can't imagine that he would EVER act in a partisan way. And I'm a Tory.

jon dee said...

I had a strong feeling that a charade was being enacted as Bercow announced Kennedy.

Fellow actors Harman and Bell played their parts brilliantly.

Anonymous said...


Kelly is a botch job and fails to address the key questions:

Where is an MP's main place of work?

What arrangements for their expenses would they be allowed in the private sector? and,

Why do they still get that scandalous deal on pensions?

I believe that an MP's main place of work is Westminster and they should be paid accordingly - so no need for London weighting, the assumption is you live in London.

You then get the rent on something in your constituency. As MPs do de-camp to their constituencies for long periods of recess - they don't just go on holiday - this ought to be a property suitable for a family.

Finally, the existing pension scheme needs to be closed for everybody. Any MP who wants to collect their final salry, taxpayer backed, index linked pension can step down. The fund can then pay those pensions and the pensions of previous MPs and if there is anything left over it can be divied up between the rest for them to put in to a private, money-purchase scheme of their own.

I still think this all should be wrapped up in a single "fee" paid to MPs from which they have to pay all their costs, expenses and pay themselves like a small business.

That way they would realise what everybody else has to go through!

Colin said...

No-one should be fooled by tjhe establishment of the so-called 'Independent' Parliamentary Standards Authority. It's a typical example of the 'palm the problem off on to someone else' strategy so that G. Brown, D. Cameron, N. Clegg and the rest of the moat-cleaning, duck house building and house-flipping political classes can say 'nothing to do with us, guv'. Indeed I have just heard the sanctimonious, odious 'Sir' Stuart Bell say as much on Radio 4.

MPs should have voted to implement Kelly in full and then actualy done it, taking responsibility for their own actions and behaviour. Parliament is in danger of losing its authority, as Matthew Parris argues this morning; and nothing less will satisfy this disillusioned electorate.

Man in a Shed said...

Which ever way you look at this its very bad. The public will assume its a stich up.

What hourly rate is the good Prof getting for all this ? Anyone know ?

heckmonwyke said...

Parliament gave away its authority to europe years ago,that why a lot of people wernt that surprised about the expenses scandals.The voters realised that at the time.Looks like SOME commentaters in the media are a last understanding the contemtp MPs and the political class in general,are held in this country.

David Boothroyd said...

Critically it also means that MPs' pay is going to be more interesting in the future, assuming that IPSA does indeed take over it. Many times in the past, Governments have refused to accept (or accept in full) recommendations to increase the salary of Members of Parliament. Now political considerations are not going to be considered, there will be times when salary rises come through at difficult times.

heckmonwyke said...

To man in a shed. Think 30pieces of silver mentioned,or 100.000pounds a year.If he lasts a year

Weygand said...

Stuart Bell is trumpeting that the expenses debate is now over because the review has been taken out of the hands of MPs. This is, of course, nonsense unless those who are responsible for the review follow Kelly as rigorously as is practical and as swiftly as possible.

Should the IPSA enquiry lead to the leering Bell reappearing to excuse parliament from the overturning of any matter of principle, on the basis that "it was nothing to do with us",it is likely that a scaffold would soon appear in Parliament Square with London taxis being requisitioned as tumbrils.

As for claims re Kennedy's intelligence; these are greatly undermined by him making statements which are bound to fan the flames of public resentment.

Saying that IPSA is not bound by Kelly is simply repeating the legal position, but it was unwise to make such a statement in a context where it could be interpreted as indicating that IPSA might be used to subvert the Kelly findings.

His supposed intelligence should also have told him that being a chum of the most notorious Labour fixer of modern times would bring howls of complaint re any derogation from Kelly, however reasonable. As Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done, he should have disqualified himself from the role he was offered.

This is a poor start for Kennedy, and shows that IPSA must act quickly to adopt the Kelly proposals. Failing this, the IPSA enquiry will exacerbate the problem of expenses rather than resolve it.

Anonymous said...

"Sir Ian Kennedy Distances Himself From Kelly"

......but not from his bosom buddy Alistair Campbell.

Kennedy is very close to Campbell, I smell a rat, here. This is going to be another whitewash.

heckmonwyke said...

To weygand, someone in politics disqualifying themselves for a turn at trough as if.They still dont get it.

cherami said...

Another absolutely typical Brown cock up.

Why didn't he appoint Kennedy and his committee in the first place and let them sort out the whole mess?

Jess The Dog said...

Whatever happens, there is a legitimate public expectation that the excesses will be curbed, with no excuses.

If this is a whitewash or cop-out, then the public will have every right to be outraged and to take action themselves....the redacted releases proposed in the summer prompted the legitimate Telegraph leaks of the material in full.

Parliamentary democracy has been dragged through the gutter and into the sewer and MPs must be brought into line to restore the realationship between the citizen and the government.

Nick said...

What's the problem?

We have no control over MPs. Why should MPs expect to have control over the stuff too?

Oh, It's just for MPs. It's not for the rest of us.

Lets get it correct. We need to have direct control over the scum in parliament.

That means referenda, and it can be done cheaply


Nick said...

If pay offs are wrong in 5 years time for retiring MPs, they are wrong now.

Brown has benefited from lots of money interest free over the last 5 years (at least).

No payment of interest is made. He's benefited substantially from that, and that's against the rules in force at the time.

Thieves, all of them.

Cynic said...

I am sure he is very independent Iain, but the advert for this post closed just 3 weeks before the appointment was made.

Do we know:-

1 how many candidates applied
2 how many were interviewed
3 what was the selection process and who was on the panel

I am sure that Sir Ian is a man of strong independence - his entire career suggests that - but its not just an issue of being independent, its one of being seen to be independent.

Is it wise for someone so close of one of NuLabour's driving forces to hold this post?

steveal said...

I wonder:

- How much will the "Independent Authority" cost to run?

- How much will we save on MP's expenses?

Unsworth said...

Was this not entirely predictable? This will run for months - if not years. Kelly has been hung out to dry. Meanwhile the troughing continues unabated. And so we can expect to see the finest intellects in Westminster straining every muscle in applying their skills to manipulation of any new 'rules'.

Why should we believe that these arrogant scum will suddenly change - after all these years of unremitting theft from our pockets?

Never mind his association with the likes of Campbell and the other NuLab henchmen, just watch Kennedy himself. How complicit is he? Never mind his 'independence', does he have something to prove or something to gain?

But in the final analysis this is nothing to do with Kelly or Kennedy and everything to do with individual morals - or the lack thereof.

Nick said...

And still no prosecutions.

What is it? CPS admit they can't find a jury that isn't made up of the victims of the crime?

MPs have said the juries will be biased and you can't prosecute me?

A bit like someone who has murdered their parents claiming sympathy that they are an orphan

Dingdongalistic said...

"Thieves, all of them."

Nick, even the Telegraph proves you wrong on that one. Not all MPs abused the system.

Nick said...

I'm sorry but you are wrong.

They are all thieves and they come in two flavours.

1. Those that took the money
2. Those that aided and abetted them.

That's the full set. You can't tell me or others that if a thief opens the door and lets in his accomplices that he's not a thief.

That's what MPs have done. They have either been on the take, or they have left the door open and let others in to steal cash.