The right noises on expenses

At last! A party press release in my inbox that I haven’t already seen on a blog and which doesn’t make me go “fnrrr, suppose so”.

The Liberal Democrats today tabled an Early Day Motion calling for the second home allowance to be abolished for London MPs.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Housing Minister and Brent East MP, Sarah Teather, who tabled the motion, said:

“It is completely unacceptable that London MPs living within commuting distance of Westminster are allowed to claim money for a second home. Thousands of Londoners travel to work in Central London every single day, so why on earth shouldn’t their MPs?”

Well, it’s a start anyway. Many Lib Dems – not least those in high office – have openly expressed their frustration in the past that the party has not developed an internal code on expenses to be adhered to by all parliamentarians.

It’s all the more frustrating because our record on openness and on proportionate use of expenses is a pretty good one. A code of ethics would be for the most part a formal expression of restraint already shown. Lib Dems do not pop up in those tabloidesque “I-thought-she-was-my-secretary-but-it-turned-out-she-was-my-physiotherapist-and-oops-also-my-sister” shocks all that often.

In this instance, apparently no London Liberal Democrat MP currently claims the second home allowance. Which makes a campaign on it a bit of a no-brainer.

So will we see this welcome development lead to the drafting of an internal parliamentarian code to mirror the campaign? In the case of the second home allowance, any code would be a literal statement of current practice.

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This entry was posted in News and Parliament.

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