The Need for Expenses Reform
Posted Friday, 11 April 2014 at 09:41
The events of the past week have brought parliamentary expenses back into the public spotlight, reigniting immense public anger and sparking many calls that ‘they still just don’t get it’. This is a hangover from the justified public revulsion left from the first expenses scandal back in 2009.
What should be done as soon as possible now, and what should have been done five years ago, is to abolish all MPs’ expenses. Simple grants can be made for travel and accommodation (if needed). Otherwise, all staff should be paid via a central fund and all office costs should be provided by the House of Commons stationary fund. Neither of which should be described as expenses.
There would be no meals, no furniture, no subsidised bars and in fact no extras at all. The system would be open, transparent and free from abuse.
But that should only be one part of the reform. Parallel to expenses reform, we should instigate a proper right of recall so that MPs believed to have done wrong will have to face their electors immediately, not after the passage of time when a general election rolls around.
Manifesto commitments on both these points would, I’m sure, resonate with the public in May 2015, and the new parliament formed after that election would have the new rules implemented from the beginning.
This would go a long way to proving to a cynical public that MPs do now ‘get it’, that we understand the legitimate public anger and have reformed the system to protect taxpayers’ money.
Here is a clip of me discussing expenses reform on ITV News this week.
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
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