Tag Archives: mps expenses

Stephen Williams says IPSA allegations of debt are wrong

Former Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West Stephen Williams found himself on a list released by IPSA, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, of 26 MPs and former MPs who had had debts to them written off. He was the only Liberal Democrat to appear on the list. The BBC report said that he owed £209.18.

Stephen took to Twitter to tell a journalist from Sky News that there had been an error and that he did not owe any money.

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LibLink: Julian Huppert: Safe seats and second jobs are at the root of the Rifkind/Straw mess

Julian Huppert MPAs Parliament prepares to debate whether MPs should have second jobs, Julian Huppert has written on the controversy surrounding Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind for the Guardian.

He attacks what he calls an “abhorrent” and “unacceptable” aspect of our political culture and sets out why he thinks there should be more regulation of MPs’ outside interests.

Many of us work night and day to get through our work. We find it is the equivalent of having two full-time jobs – one in Westminster and one in the constituency.

But there are just far too many who don’t behave that way. They’ve been here so long a sense of duty morphs into one of entitlement. They get caught up with the pomp and ceremony, allowing the link between the public and their parliamentary role to unravel.

At the crux of this failure is our electoral system. Safe seats generate complacency. They give many MPs the opportunity to sit back, knowing they’ll get re-elected again and again. And it is often in safe seats where some MPs find they have enough time to take on two jobs. Suddenly they believe they don’t need to respond to casework or do the work in parliament. They are above all that – and why shouldn’t they earn £5,000 a day at the end of their careers?

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 13 Comments

Dear Daily Telegraph, Enough already. It’s actually okay for MPs to claim 11p for a ruler.

The_Daily_TelegraphSo the Telegraph is back to its old tricks on expenses. Five years ago, the paper uncovered some serious abuses by MPs at the taxpayers’ expense – along the way, the paper was also (as I wrote at the time) “guilty of flaky fact-checking, unfair distortions and disgraceful smears”.

Yesterday the paper attempted, rather desperately, to re-live past glories by running the story, ‘MPs’ expenses: Ken Clarke bills taxpayer for 11p ruler’. It wasn’t just Ken who attracted the Telegraph’s ire though: ‘Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, was found to …

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Maria Miller resigns – but is that all that needs to happen?

Rt Hon Maria Miller MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and SportThe writing was on the wall for Maria Miller in the 33rd second after she began her grudging apology last Thursday. Even if she had shown the required amount of contrition, the very fact that a system which allowed a committee of MPs to water down the Standards Commissioner’s judgement looks, even if it isn’t, motivated by self interest, by the privileged protecting their own.

At no point did she, or David Cameron, show any signs of “getting it”, of showing any understanding why the original issue was a serious matter.

By allowing it to become a battle between the Conservative leadership and the Tory right, one in which the latter has triumphed, Cameron has weakened his own position.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 21 Comments

MPs under attack again – for claiming mileage for doing their jobs

Having Nigel Farage on Question Time again was more than enough to make my blood boil last night. Sadly, even my Facebook timeline had little to soothe. I saw an 18 month old story being recycled again to give MPs another kicking.

In May last year the Telegraph had a go at some MPs who claimed mileage to attend Remembrance Day services, including a couple of Liberal Democrats. Why on earth should that particular engagement be any different than any other that they attend in the course of their official duties? How many people would meet work expenses out of …

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Why do so many Liberal Democrat MPs not claim for energy costs?

There’s a new expenses scandal in the offing. Today’s Sunday Mirror headline screams that 340 MPs are getting their second home energy bills paid. Yes, energy bills are a hot topic at the moment but let’s look behind the hyperbole.

Of course, MPs are paying their own energy bills in their homes out of their salaries. What is being paid by the public purse is the cost of their accommodation in either their constituency or London. If you’re going to do the job of an MP properly, you need two bases. It stands to reason, therefore, that the second base …

Posted in Op-eds | 48 Comments

Danny Alexander under attack in local paper over children’s travel

A few weeks ago, I wrote that the Telegraph’s attempts to make another expenses scandal out of MPs claiming for travel for their children between London and their constituency as they are allowed to do under the rules. For me, I am happy to pay as a taxpayer to pay this price to ensure that Parliament has parents of young children within it.

While there were some clearly egregious examples of abuse of the expenses system which shocked us all in 2009, I have always said that politicians, in the main, whatever party they are from, are decent people who

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