Clegg calls on Brown and Cameron to accept Kelly’s recommendations on expenses

This news release popped into the Voice’s inbox from party HQ late this afternoon – Nick Clegg has today written to Gordon Brown and David Cameron to call on them to declare that they will accept in full the recommendations of Sir Christopher Kelly’s investigation into MPs’ expenses.

Here’s Nick’s letter in full:

This has been a terrible week for British politics. Days of revelations about expenses claims have caused immense damage to the standing of all MPs and Parliament itself. It is now vital that we act as swiftly as possible to draw a line under these events, clean up the expenses system and begin to restore public confidence. I am writing to you in order to drive this forward.

You will know that I have come up with my own interim proposals: that MPs should return to the taxpayer that proportion of profit made on second homes which have been subsidised by the taxpayer. As I have said to both of you in private and in public, I firmly believe the only long term solution to this problem is to take MPs out of the property investment game altogether. That means we must adopt the Scottish system whereby only rent costs can be charged to the taxpayer, not mortgage costs. I will be writing to Sir Christopher Kelly to make this recommendation in the strongest possible terms.

We politicians have slugged this issue out over the course of several weeks and got nowhere. To my utmost regret, we have failed to achieve consensus on a solution that could be implemented immediately and people have lost so much trust in politicians that they would be unlikely to support anything we could agree on anyway.

That means Sir Christopher’s independent inquiry is now the only remaining option to clean up the system from top to toe. It must be accepted in full by MPs, without quibbling over details. I want all three of us to declare publicly and immediately that we will accept the report’s recommendations in full.

In normal times I would be very reluctant to suggest we adopt proposals we haven’t yet seen. But these are not normal times. Only by binding our hands in this way – removing the ability for Parliament to amend the Kelly recommendations line by line – will we have a chance of convincing the public that we are serious about serving them, rather than our own interests.
That is why I am asking for an urgent resolution of the House that will state clearly that when Sir Christopher’s recommendations are reported, they will be put before the House in their entirety and we will not seek to amend them in any way.

This is a time of crisis in our politics and it is no time to split hairs over the details. I believe it is vital that we make a clear statement to the public that we know things have to be done differently.

I propose that such a motion is tabled in the name of all three party leaders – to demonstrate our unity of purpose on this issue – and is put to the House at the earliest possible opportunity and certainly before the Whitsun recess.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Nick Clegg

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