Monday, 29 March 2010


The new rules published for MPs’ expenses can be summarised as follows:

No claims towards mortgages;

Reduced travel/subsistence costs;

One relative only on staff;

No claims for cleaning, gardening or tax fiddling;

Extra help for MPs with young children.

Will they be enough to start to restore confidence in the House of Commons or can that never happen? Will most of us continue to have a sneaking suspicion that they are still “at it”?

The reforms seem generally reasonable for a start, and I reckon we should see how it goes. We can rely on the Daily Telegraph to keep a weather eye on what is happening and report any slippage.

Those with constituencies at least 20 miles or 60 minutes from Westminster will be able to claim up to £1,450 a month to rent a one bedroom flat. (MPs with children aged under five, single parents with children under 21 and those caring for disabled children will get extra support.) I would have made it a bit more than 20 miles. People do have to commute to work; that’s the way life is, but the these new rules are an improvement.

All claims will require receipts, which again is a step on the road to normality. Who else can claim expenses without receipts?

Payoffs to retiring MPs will be stopped. Well, that’s fair too. They know the job is for a limited period, and many of us work on short term contracts and get no pay offs at the end of them.

MPs will be able to employ one relative in the future. This is possibly sense as much of an MP’s work may have to be conducted from home, however, once again it will have to be monitored to see how many of them manage to abuse it. It was really only because some of them abused the system by employing their kids to do nothing (Conway the Conservative Conman) that the matter came to light.

MPs will be reimbursed for trips between Westminster and their constituencies at ordinary so-called ‘standard class’ rates. Although, with the mess of rail fares how they are going to judge what that is, I really don’t know.

Cleaning and gardening claims are no longer be allowed, nor are claims for accountants to work out MPs' tax. Well, that makes all kinds of sense. Many of us have busy lives but manage to wash a few dishes and a shirt or two (although not at the same time). If you are renting a flat you shouldn’t have a garden, so that makes that simple. And if you want to fiddle your tax, don’t expect me to pay for an expert to help you do it.

MPs will be allowed to claim £15 for an evening meal if the House sits after 7.30 pm, if they provide a receipt. That won’t suit some, who spend more on a bottle of wine than a pensioner gets for a week.

So as I say, this seems a reasonable package on the face of it. We (and the Daily Telegraph) will need to keep a close eye on it to ensure that they don’t find ways to cheat!

Right. When are we going to start on the idiotic anarchronism that it the House of Lords?

Pictured: Derek Conway and family (the greedy brood who started it all) and some other more agreeable little piggies ......


  1. Ugg those repulsive Conway’s makes me sick just to look at them!

    A step in the right direction.

    But the house of doddering old farts very much needs something done about it.

  2. I suspect, although I may be wrong, that the Conways' greed was the first step on the road to the investigations into the abuse that has been going on for years.

    When Conway was nabbed, he probably blabbed about it not being fair and everyone was at it, and so on.... and the Telegraph decided there was a good story in it.

  3. It's a start, though I'd put a 3 times and out clause in there somewhere too.

  4. Yes QM. That, or something like it, sounds like a plan

    Of course no one can, at the moment, get rid of them from parliament. I mean Conway was chucked out of the Conservative Party but he is still drawing a £65,000 salary, (well, £66,000 now) and for all I know his wife is still drawing salary as his assistant. I think it’s Nick Clegg that is proposing that we should be able to get rid of them during a term, if there are sufficient people who wish to get rid of them, and of course if they have done something against the law.

    Maybe “3 strikes and you’re out” for minor matters, but theft on a grand scale should be reported to the police, and I doubt that if you’re doing bird you can still be an MP... but who knows. You can if you’re a Lord.... as per Jeffrey Archer and that drunk, errr I mean fine nobleman, Baron Watson of Invergowrie, who was so pissed he set the curtains of an Edinburgh Hotel on fire because they wouldn’t serve him any more sauce.