Update: WE WON! [the following is now for historical interest]
Uh oh. Ministers are about to conceal MPs’ expenses, even though the public has just paid £1m to get them all ready for publication, and even though the tax man expects citizens to do what MPs don’t have to. They buried the news on the day of the Heathrow runway announcement. This is heading in the diametric wrong direction from government openness.
You can help in the following three ways:
1. Please write to your MP about this www.WriteToThem.com – ask them to lobby against this concealment, and tell them that TheyWorkForYou will be permanently and prominently noting those MPs who took the opportunity to fight against this regressive move. The millions of constituents who will check this site before the next election will doutbtless be interested.
2. Join this facebook group and invite all your least political friends (plus your most political too). Send them personal mails, phone or text them. Encourage them to write to their politicians too.
3. Write to your local paper to tell them you’re angry, and ask them to ask their readers to do the above. mySociety’s never-finished site http://news.mysociety.org might be able to help you here.
NB. mySociety is strictly non-partisan, by mission and by ethics. However, when it looks like Parliament is about to take a huge step in the wrong direction on transparency, we’ve no problem at all with stepping up when changes happen that threaten both the public interest and the ongoing value of sites like TheyWorkForYou and WhatDoTheyKnow.
Update: Every page on TheyWorkForYou, our biggest site, is now strongly encouraging people to join the protest.
Update: We’ve sailed past 1000 members to our Facebook group. Onward and upward!
Update: And now past 3000 members! Also, some MPs are claiming that they need to vote for this Order to protect their addresses, even though they already changed to law to do this. Doh!
Update: Now we’re past 6500, and our supporters have mailed their constituency MPs in over 90% of the constituencies in the UK. And rather helpfully, President Obama has just given us a concise explanation for MPs why this is a much bigger issue than some bits of paper and some minor embarrassment:
“And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.”
Missed the pingback, but I have posted here:
Have posted here:
I think this is a disgusting motion. We’ve just paid £1m as a society to get ready to publish the expenses, now they want it stopped! It’s our money they’re spending, and we should at least have a right to find out where our money is going. It cannot be one rule for them, one for the rest of us. I’m doing all I can to get the word around about this, I hope everyone else will too.
I just wanted to raise with you my deep sense of unhappiness at the recently announced intention to remove our MPs from the obligations regarding expenses that everybody else in the country has to abide by.
Throughout my working life every employer and the Inland Revenue have insisted on full disclosure of all expenses supported by valid receipts.
It’s not not just an example of outrageous “special treatment”; it’s shaming and more akin to what we hear goes on in countries like Zimbabwe and companies like Enron.
I ask all our representatives to see this proposed measure for what it is – a disgraceful attempt to put MPs above the law – and I entreat you all to speak and vote against it.
My MP is one who is in Parliament every day and raises many questions on his constituents behalf, and he is very concerned regarding Zimbabwe, but his high expenses stood out.
If he and the other MPs have genuine high expenses, they should not be frightened of publishing them.
MP’s have no right to hide their expenses from their employers, the electorate. Oliver Cromwell may have saved us from royal diktat but who is to save us from the pirates in the house of commons? Why the public demonstrations against Maggie’s Poll Tax and subservient acquiescence now?
I run a site for carers who have been fighting for years to get a decent carers allowance, carers are having to live on such a low allowance that poverty is basically on every carers lips, the allowance is just over fifty quid per week for doing a minimum 35 hours per week, this is disgusting, many of my members work 24/7 literally, never having time off , suffering with both mental and physical problems themself.
Carers are having to choose between heating their homes and food, pensioners when they get to retirement age but are still caring loose their carers allowance, thats because the government have a crafty rule? it’s called the overlapping rule which punishes pensioners, they take away their allowance even thou their costs are the same.
What sickens me about all this is that New Labour promised to do away with all this sleaze when they came to power?
The problem has got worse not better, the politicians have their noses further in the freebies basket more than before while their constituent’s suffer in the cold,they are low life.
I have a list here which just shows their greed?
Carpet – 35 pounds per square metre
Coffee Table – 250 pounds
Hi Fi Stereo – 750 Pounds
These are just a few things they can claim for, they also get their council tax, water bills, TV Licence, paper bills, they can even claim for food shopping?
The public are sick and tired of these crooks, thats what they are.
When the rest of the country are loosing their homes, going cold and hungry they are topping their nests up.
What a bunch of utter slimeballs.
I’ve just posted to Tom Watson’s blog what I’ve just sent to my MP Mark Field., viz.,
Whether for good or for ill, Dubya is now history, so the number of parties (not necessarily a good proxy for the number of those who regret his departure) is a small irrelevancy.
Far better to concentrate perhaps on what is going on in our own neck of the woods and the cradle of – well, not it would seem openess and accountability, though no doubt some might celebrate this week.
May I post the letter I’ve sent to my MP?
I am concerned, even angry, that the Government apparently under pressure from the both the Tory back bench establishment as well as the Parliamentary Labour Party are attempting in a sleight of hand to hide the detailed information about the expenses members of Parliament have been claiming, or are to claim, from scrutiny. Yet again it appears to be do as we tell you, not do as we do, and will go further in lowering the reputation of politicians.
The fact that disclosures so far have embarrassed MPs, and ministers and the Speaker in particular, is no justification for saying that, as one MP is quoted as saying “MPs’ expenses should not be an entertainment show for the public.”
As we have learnt all too frequently, an audit (and an assertion that expenses have been claimed in accordance with the rules) isn’t the same as openness and honesty.
The excuse is that it is far too expensive to maintain such a detailed system, of individually accounting for expenses. This is no more or less than the imposition politicians legislate and have legislated for pretty well everyone else, and the detailed records that every employer has to maintain, let alone the individual records that ordinary people have to maintain.
It is the arrogance of these assertions, by people who have sought these positions, and live extremely well by contrast with the majority, and who will retire on pensions the scale of which, like others in the public sector, we can only gasp at. And all funded by the tax payer now and in the future.
The extravagance revealed by both the financial collapses of recent months, and the absurd claims made by MPs may not be in the same league of meltdown, but it is the breathtaking ease with which our political leaders rush to fight openness where they are concerned, and attempt to change matters without hardly any public scrutiny or debate – and by a method that makes it difficult to oppose.
Please, actively vote against this and urge that your colleagues of all parties do the same. Do not forget that parliament should be the servant of the people – and show that there is nothing to hide as there will be nothing to find.
It goes further than just the FoI order: from the Times Online http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5527007.ece
“At the same time, the Speaker’s committee revealed that it had watered down tough restrictions on what MPs could claim for. A new regime was promised after Derek Conway, a Conservative Member, was found to be abusing the system. The plans for rigorous external audits, however, have been diluted and a ban on buying furniture and electrical items has been scrapped.
MPs will be allowed to continue using public funds to buy “white goods”, electrical equipment, sofas, chairs, tables, decoration, cleaning, insurance and security. Controversially, MPs will also be able to claim additional sums on their mortgage for “refurbishment”, plus £25 for each night spent away from their main home, without receipts.
A document from the committee led by Michael Martin, the Commons Speaker, said: “It has been argued that it would be excessively burdensome for Members to have provided receipts for all transactions and that additional costs incurred . . . would be likely disproportionate.”
The Commons had been on the brink of publishing receipts for every claim made by an MP since 2005, on the orders of the High Court last year after losing a two-year battle on freedom of information. The Commons authorities spent hundreds of thousands of pounds scanning about one million receipts. If the new law proposed by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, passes, this work will be abandoned and pending freedom of information claims will be nullified.
Ms Harman, the Leader of the Commons, failed to mention in her announcement to the House that the scanning of receipts would be abandoned. Instead she presented it as a victory for freedom of information. “The public will have more information than they ever have before,” she said.”
Blogged here: http://davidkeen.blogspot.com/2009/01/mps-expenses-one-rule-for-governors.html, next job is to email our Libdem MP, a frontbench spokesman, for a statement on their party policy on this.
Appalling but sadly not surprising.
Also written by e-mail to West End Extra and the Standard
very disgarceful how politicians fight and argue so much, even now when it comes to their money. they found a leak in the system and absued it. in The UK its happening in all public sectors
Is there a Number10 petition?
Posted at http://marksany.blogspot.com/2009/01/snouts-in-trough.html
I have reason to believe my MP will vote against.
Do you guys have a template letter we can send to our MP’s
If you have great, where is it? LOL, if not you should consider making one as you may get more people writing to there MP’s if they have a template letter they can use.
Kind regards, Keith
How do we get the message over that They Work For Us? This seems to be another case where they just don’t get this.
Blog post at http://www.cockspiracy.com/
I believe that the contents of the “blog” written by Dominic Pinto – Item 10 above – gives a good basis on what to say. BUT do say it. Whilst the majority ofd people know how the majority of people feel about this, it is apparent that the majority of MPs do not! Write to them, say something, express your disgust for their behaviour.
& yet politicians just do not understand why people just do not trust them anymore there expenses is already an absolute disgrace they shouldnt be allowed expenses for things such as mortgages on 2nd homes, kitchens etc… why should they get to keep these items if they leave that position would anybody get to keep their company car if they changed job? expenses should be for hotel bills, taxi fares etc.. & under absolutely no circumstances should they be exempt from foi
As our esteemed PM is oft to say, “the Opposition Party should be called the Do Nothing Party”. Let’s change that around and say the Government is the “Do nothing Government” as they are guilty of destroying Great Britain for their own gain, not only do they want to control us, now they want us not to know what they spend”. Now is the time to invoke what Mr Reid said about the Home Office “Not fit for purpose” this Government is now “Not fit for purpose”.
WE have to have openess in Government at all times.
I think this is absolutely scandalous. They are embarrassed about what they can claim as expenses and so they try to conceal what they can claim. It would be much better if they were treated for tax purposes in exactly the same way as everyone else.
Labour have always campaigned against people avoiding tax, as though they are the most holy. These tax dodgers are so evil! Yet, politicians (including Labour MPs) can claim for just about anything.
I have a very long commute to work in London (at least 4 hours per day). Could I claim tax relief against mortgage interest on a second home in London? No chance. They are complete and utter hypocrites.
Just emailed my MP, Michael gove. Its disgusting them trying to sneak this out under other big news stories. What else will get buried on inauguration day?
Unfortunately I was disenfranchised when I left the Uk many years ago as I was no longer resident for tax purposes. The law was changed but as I had been out of the UK I was still disenfranchised and thaqt also applies to European elections. So much for European democracy.
That said I can only support those who find this underhanded method by Parliament to hide their expenses totally disgusting and without any moral ethics.
Whoever obtains expenses from the public purse, be it Parliament or local government, must produce receipts and openly declare for what these receipts refer to. It is the taxpayers money not the MPs nor the local councillors.
As mentioned by someone else I cannot understand why there was such opposition to the Poll Tax and little or nothing against a Government who has lost all idea of what democracy means. The Poll Tax was badly explained but it should have meant that everyone in the UK paid their quota towards running expenses of their community. Here, in Switzerland, a similar tax is applied based on one’s income tax returns so each person contributes according to his income. Wish you all the best and hope that the Parliamentarians come to their senses before Thursday.
Reply from my MP:
I certainly agree with your comments. MPs should be treated in the same way as other public sector employees in relation to FOI.
On Thursday evening I have to (travel to a TV engagement) but I am going to do all I can to be here for the votes on this. I will certainly oppose the Government’s attempt to restrict the Freedom of Information.
I emailed my MP, Lynne Jones (Birmingham Selly Oak) who replied saying that she will be signing Jo Swinson’s EDM and voting accordingly.
And here too …
In sum: if you have nothing to hide, why try to hide it?
Absolutely disgraceful. Much worse than the actual attack on transparency is the attack made on free speech by rushing this vote through so quickly that opposition groups have not had time to prepare.
Blogged about here: http://tomhewitson.tumblr.com/post/71788454/here-we-go-again
And if I withheld tax in protest at the disgraceful waste of public money then I’D be the one sent to prison. 😉
One would think, from this proposal, that MPs had something to hide.
The only conclusion one can draw from this outrageous, inconsistent and selfish act is that many MPs are spending money on things or people that the public would not approve of. I (as a civil servant) and an individual am subject to numerous pieces of transparency and data management law that I have to comply with.
It beggars belief that Members of Parliament should not be subject to the same principles.
What reason is there for such an act if not to continue centuries of sleaze, nepotism and outright waste? Thank you, mysociety, for clarifying the ‘address’ issue which seemed to be the only valid argument. Without that, what does the debate centre on?
We pay their salaries. We pay for their second homes and (in some cases) their children’s jobs! We even pay for a report to be prepared. And then, while they are supposed to be working for us, they refuse to even have the decency to tell us what they are doing with OUR money!
I think that some of these claims are totally unacceptable and ought to be restricted by law. We should only pay to put up MPs in cheap hotels overnight, not for a flat! If they want to buy a house in London they should buy one WITH THEIR OWN MONEY like everyone else.
Payments to family members from the public purse ought to be banned outright.
But first we need to make sure that they can’t get away with concealing their corrupt and inappropriate behaviour from us. I will be writing to my MP but also suggest that a march is organised to protest against this.
Have blogged about this here: http://robknight.org.uk/blog/2009/01/mps-expenses
Good to see a campaign coming together so quickly. It’s really quite exciting!
Why the hell should we trust these people to run the country when they behave like this?
This is what I have writen to my MP on behalf of the Sheffield Unlock Demcocracy Group:
I am writing on behalf of our group to express our outrage at the attempt to remove MPs expenses from the scope of the Freedom of Information Act.
You will remember the public dismay last year at the use some MPs made of their expenses. Disclosing this to the public gaze was the best way to stop it happening. If the Government gets away with this manoeuvre, scandals such as the Conway affair will be allowed to happen again and we will not be permitted to find out about them. This will do nothing to improve the public’s trust in our representatives which is already low, or in the government.
The Government is planning to put us all on a national identity database, force us to carry identity cards, keep the DNA of millions of innocent people on a database and to read all our emails, phone and internet records regardless of whether we are supposed to have done anything wrong. Their argument is always: “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” Why, then, is it one rule for us and another rule for politicians?
When Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, one of his first acts was to publish the Governance of Britain Green Paper which asserted that: “It is right that Parliament should be covered by the [Freedom of Information] Act.” Why then the change of mind?
We urge you to sign Jo Swinson’s Early Day Motion: “Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order 2009”, and to oppose the proposal when it comes to the House on Thursday.
In 2007, a group of backbench MPs attempted to get a similar proposal passed, but this was defeated. Now there is another attempt. Please ensure that this is defeated.
Blogged a second time here:
Read about why the expensive redactions are being made and how their practices are even more slack than expense claims in business.
I’ve blogged it here
Why should MP’S have access to expenses which is more than the average soldier on the front line gets who is serving his country? They should have one wage which covers what they are entitled too, and live within there means like everyone else
Top work have just come across your websites today through this campaign and think they are great. Have blogged about it all here http://myhouseatpoohcorner.blogspot.com/ and have been spreading the word amongst my friends!
Another blog entry little read but it does get syndicated via LibDemBlogs and WelshLibDemBlogs so it might pick up a couple more for the facebook group.
Thanks for the heads up on this one. I have just written to my MP but his record indicates that he will vote against this amendment anyway.
BTW the link to theyworkforyou.com in the body text of the article needs fixing.
FOR THE ATTENTION OF:
Robert Goodwill MP
Scarborough and Whitby
Wednesday 21 January 2009
37 Sring Bank
Dear Robert Goodwill,
I fear this government by stealth is undermining everything you went to Parliament to protect. The latest insult to the taxpayer, about to happen on Thursday, is a disgrace to democracy and your annual take from the taxpayer’s pocket is already verging on fraud.
Jo Swinson IS my MP and I have contacted her offering my support and hoping that she gets a good majority of MPs voting in support of her motion. I do not often agree (maybe I seldom agree would be better) with Jo but we each know where the other stands and on this issue I am 100% behind her.
What, by the way is your attitude to those who claim to be 110%, 150%, 1000% behind something/giving effort etc.?I know it is not relevant to the current question but who can give more than 100%? It is impossible and should be wiped from the language!
It is a very sick society when the lawmakers specifically exclude themselves from any laws that they make which they find inconvenient. This is “Animal Farm” all over again.
I am amazed that the leaders of the House, having already wasted large sums of public money taking thre matter to the High Court – and losing – have the temerity to try this on again. In the interests of an open and just democracy the rest of us must do all we can to curn the self-interest of elected representatives.
It is a very sick society when the lawmakers specifically exclude themselves from any laws that they make which they find inconvenient. This is “Animal Farm” all over again.
I am amazed that the leaders of the House, having already wasted large sums of public money taking thre matter to the High Court – and losing – have the temerity to try this on again. In the interests of an open and just democracy the rest of us must do all we can to curb the self-interest of our elected representatives by persuading them to vote AGAINST the proposal.
Like many others we have been driven out of the UK by the expense of this current government they have taken our entitlements to health care which we paid all our working lives for and other entitlements.For them there is only one law that which will benefit them most whether it be gold plated pensions, hidden expenses or various other frauds.We spend some time each year with family in the USA where democracy works not the psuedo variety of the UK,schools function children respect the sheriff,the differences between what our families expect and get in the two countries are numerous but freedom equality and democracy are definitely more important in the States.
I would have thought that MP’s expenses are covered under the Data Protection Act. If not then every public servant can have their expenses revealed under the FoIA.
My MP – David Kidney – the honorable member of Stafford basically told me to go and whistle…..!
I’m quite annoyed by the scurrilous reporting of this issue. Nothing has
been “sneaked out” as some are claiming. Last Thursday, the Government’s
Motion for this Thursday’s debate was published in the usual way in the
Notice of Future Business. On this Thursday, this motion will be debated
and voted upon. MPs can table amendments to the Motion if they wish, and
I am sure there will be some amendments.
As for the effect of the Motion as drafted by the Government, it doubles
from 13 to 26 the categories under which all expenses claimed by MPs
will be published from now on (and also MPs’ expenses since 2005 will be
re-published under the 26 categories). Why are some people saying this
isn’t good enough? Because some newspapers and campaign groups have been
pursuing cases through the courts to make the House authorities publish
every individual expense of any MP they ask about.
Personally, I have no problem with individual publication of every
single expense I claim but I think the scheme the Government has come up
with is good enough to make sure there is full disclosure – and more
disclosure than currently, not less.
I did reply –
So I take it you won’t be representing me this Thursday and will not be voting AGAINST the bill?
Democracy in action!
Now I’m quite annoyed….
The reporting of this matter is not “scurrilous”. The trouble with MPs in the main (I have no problem with you personally as you seem above board and usually represent your constituents well) is that they are completely out of touch with the people they are meant to represent.
1) Do you know the red tape I have to plough through as a Director of a small business?
If I want to claim lunch on expenses I have to keep a receipt and run it by my company secretary to prove it is a legitimate business expense. This in line with Customs and Excise requirements and HM Tax requirements. Should the shareholders of my busines wich to know what I get paid in ‘expenses’ I am beholden to them.
2) How many of your colleagues have lucrative jobs ‘on the side’?
Ann Widdecombe – “Fighting the Hoodies” – in my time, using my tax, while claiming a wage from me.
Ken Clarke – till recently MD of BAT – an industry the government is trying to wipe out.
I could go through up to 420 other similar cases – I picked the opposition so you can see I have chips on both shoulders
Meanwhile the poeple of Stafford are losing their jobs whilst still paying the wages of these MPs… our no jobs v their many
3) A simple one – Who is paying your wage?
Thanks for the reply as ever – I look forward to seeing how you voted on Thursday – but once again I won’t hold my breath.
As ever I will probably have to wait until your leader has the guts to give the people what they want – A General Election so we can demonstrate to this government exactly what we think of the erosion of our rights and future that is occurring.
Oh for a better opposition!
Then I got another response
It’s not a Bill, it’s a Motion because we are not overturning the law. And yes, we are subject to all the same rules and audit requirements as you in your business. I produce every receipt in order to claim reimbursement. I sign a certificate every single time confirming that the expenditure was incurred exclusively in connection with my duties as an MP. If I offend against these rules I can be publicly shamed, suspended from Parliament without pay and made to repay the money. As I say, I have no objection to disclosing every individual items of my expenditure to the world, and I think the disclosure regime I will vote for on Thursday will ensure that the constituents of all MPs will have sufficient detail to enable them to make a judgement as to whether or not their MP is on the make/worth the cost/living in the real world etc.
Nice to be represented!!!!!
The Libertarian Party have also got a campaign on this.
They expect the collective crooks to vote to conceal, so have asked everyone to write to their individual MP.
Instead of worrying about the vote (which you guys are doing a great job on), they are asking for each individual MP to make their own decisions to publish.
If they won’t then they will be added to a list of shame.
Just seen this:
Breaking…. government to abandon FOI change
[broken link to Times removed; no adequate substitute located]
Mark Field MP replied this morning:
Will do! As you know I have been quite strong on this issue over the years and intend to continue being so!
From: Dominic Pinto [xxx]
Sent: 21 January 2009 10:31
To: FIELD, Mark
Cc: MAY, Theresa
Subject: All Tory MPs will be ordered to fight Labour attempts to keep expenses secret
I contacted you via mysociety’s service the other day, and have also been in contact with others, asking that you actively oppose the ‘Freedom’ of Information Order to be debated tomorrow evening (and encourage colleagues of all parties and both Houses to so do).
See also from earlier:
January 21, 2009
Lords to try and throw out the FOI changes
Liberal Democrat peer Tom McNally has apparently put down a motion which – if passed tomorrow – would throw out attempts by the Commons to keep their expenses secret.
Despite a convention that the Lords do not usually interfere in Commons affairs, the government do face a reasonable chance of defeat, for two reasons.
Firstly the little known but influential “Merits of Statutory Instruments” committee, chaired by a Labour peer Lord Filkin, has issued a damning report about the rule changes. It says:
The Government has failed to provide an explanation of why the additional measures in the Order are required over and above a previous SI rushed through in July 2008 that was intended to deal with concerns over MPs’ personal security. The Order does not clearly state what the change is intended to achieve and the Committee recommends Peers seek an explanation from Government over why the Order is necessary and what its objective is when it is debated tomorrow.
Secondly, the Tories are minded to back the Lib Dem motion – although no formal word on their position yet.
Already Lords sources are comparing this vote to the occasion peers threw out plans passed by the Commons for supercasinos – the beginning of the end of that particular policy. Could it happen again?
I think it’s all over.
The Government appears to have retreated on this issue, for now.
If the Order had really been conditional on cross party support, then why was there a 3 line whip imposed by the Labour party to try to force it through ?
Well done to everyone who lobbied their MPs through What
WriteToThem.com or by other means.
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
Hi – and thanks for this timely information. I had no idea this was going on and this proposed legislation must have really touched a nerve because I did something I have never done before – and that is write a letter to my MP, Justine Greening, asking her to vote against it. Whether it is a Bill or a Motion at this stage is, in my opinion, not the most important issue; the fact that it is being planned for, discussed, mooted, whatever, is evidence that a move is afoot to prevent/modify full disclosure. Old habits die hard.
By law, I have to keep receipts of all purchases for my small business for five years, whether for large items, or sellotape. However, what I think is the key point, in my business, I am not spending the taxpayers’ money, only my own, and I think all citizens, no matter who they are, should be subject to the same rules of accountability. Let’s hope that wisdom reigns in the House with this motion/bill.
Blogged here: http://virtual-lancaster.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-secrets-are-our-mps-hiding.html
This is a disgrace. Thanks for drawing our attention to the plans.
It’s not entirely over ’til it’s over …..
Beckett and others continue to trot out the line about security (now not necessarily of MPs themselves, but of people supplying, or doing work for MPs), disproportionate cost. There’s still no adequate response to why the quite reasonable imposition of the full disclosure requirements on other public bodies should be avoided by MPs; note that they are still permitted to a) not provide receipted for claims under £25, and get these benefits free of tax, and get to keep the proceeds of any capital appreciation (whether that’s free of tax or not isn’t clear) of the (arguably) necessary 2nd home, or improvements made.
Why, if this was such an ordinary matter of business (the tabling of the motion and the proposed Order last Thursday), was it to be brought into effect so quickly, and on the bais of cross-party agreement that would appear to be absent?
This one is likely not to go away, but we should be able 9and prepared) to battle further – see 2nd clip below.
What was due to happen on Thursday?
MPs were to vote on a plan which would exempt MPs’ expenses details from the scope of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI Act) but that has been now been shelved. It would mean any Freedom of Information requests for MPs’ claims made since 2005, could be turned down. MPs’ addresses are already excluded from the FOI Act. There will still be a debate about other changes to expenses, outlined in the revised Green Book, such as moves to allow the National Audit Office to carry out spot checks. MPs will get a free vote on that issue.
Is this an end to the issue?
No. The government has axed the vote on exempting MPs’ expenses from the FOI Act but has not said all receipts will now be published. Gordon Brown said the government sought cross-party support and “would continue to consult on that matter”. MPs will get a free vote on changes to the Green Book – the Commons rule book on expenses. Also, the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Sir Christopher Kelly, could still launch his own inquiry into the pay and expenses system. He delayed it last year and his office says a new inquiry was still a possibility. Ms Harman will appear before his committee in February.
I don’t really understand how the government ever expected to get away with this in the first place.
It was inevitable that they would get resistance from many sources and that they would end looking like complete hypocrites because they were still demanding that taxpayers accounted in full for all their expenses!
Or perhaps they believe that they are so superior to the ordinary people of the UK that they don’t need to follow the same rules that they dictate we have to follow.
What the devil is an “MP”?
How can we ever expect MPs to take their greedy hypocritical noses out of the public money trough when they are the ones who make and oversee the rules? Take ms Smith for example, she has followed the expenses rule book to the letter and as such is legally correct in what she is doing. But how can it be, and how can she feel, morally justified. Surely it is wrong to lodge with someone(especially a family member) Mon to Thurs and call THEIR HOME your main residence, then claim that your actual FAMILY HOME is your second home in order to be able to claim expenses. Does ms Smith pay the mortgage on her sisters home? Does she pay all the bills incurred with the running of her sisters home? Does she pay for all the food consumed in her sisters home? And more importantly, if ms Smith was to retire from politics, would she still live with her sister? would the rest of her family up sticks and move in with her and her sister? Of course she doesn’t pay all the bills for her sister, and of course she would retire to her Redditch Family home. Ms Smith has also turned down her “grace and favour” government home, so this act alone should exclude her from being able to clame second home expenses on her family home. What ms Smith and a great many MPs are doing may be correct according to the rule book, but it is also disgustingly immoral, and all MPs guilty of “Playing the System” should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. The rule book regarding MPs expenses needs totally revamping by a completely impartial body and MPs need to take a serious look at their attitude towards self financing from the public purse. A few rule changes and a few prosected MPs might make the political “Old Boys Club” clean up its act.
Never, in all the field of human expenses,
was so much. claimed so often, by so few.
Despite the awful credit crunch,
the pigs in the trough went ‘munch, munch, munch’,
No tax, no checks and a bottomless pit
The MP’s wallow, like pigs in S***
The follow the rule they made, of course
so fail to show the slightest remorse,
despite the truly amazing feat
of twice replacing a toilet seat.
One can only conclude from this staggering farce
That the sitter must have an enormous A***.
Repetitive use of moonlight flits
Is exploited by these disgusting S****.
24 light bulbs to replace
Takes one MP, what a foul disgrace.
Tudor beams adorns the house
Of one such common, Commons louse
Benefit-in-kind applies to other
When claiming the cost on the house of mothers
And buying Tampax for a Commons male
Is just part of this most sordid tale
Woe betide the common man
Who aspires to similar perks and can
Look forward to PC plod and pale
At the thought of fraud charges and years in jail.