Will Lib Dem MPs be shamed in July’s receipts apocalypse?

The Daily Mail is speculating that at least one senior Lib Dem MP will be caught up in the expected criticism of MPs’ expense claims, when receipts are published in July. The newspaper reports here that Nick Clegg has been asked for an assurance by a front-bencher that there will be no sackings for Lib Dems embarrassed by their published expenses; an assurance Nick apparently refused to give.

Whether there is any truth to this gossip remains to be seen. Earlier today, Political Betting’s Mike Smithson suggested that the Lib Dems could be winners, particularly in London, given their superior expenses ethics. As posters on that website note, the Lib Dems are still likely to be caught up in general anti-parliamentary feeling from the public — and especially if any of our MPs have made questionable claims.

Lib Dem supporters will have to hope none of our MPs have let down the parliamentary party’s good record on seeking reform of Commons expenses.

Hat-tip: The Spectator’s Coffee House and Political Betting.

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  • The most important thing MPs of all parties need to grasp is that, “it was all within the rules” doesn’t make it better.

    It makes it worse.

  • “Earlier today, Political Betting’s Mike Smithson suggested that the Lib Dems could be winners, particularly in London, given their superior expenses ethics.”

    Hmmm. Just for the record, what Smithson actually said was this:
    “[Based on a poll] There’s also the possibility that the Lib Dems seats of Carshalton, Sutton and Richmond might be vulnerable – but none of their London MPs claim the second home allowance.

    What the poll does not help us with are some of the key betting constituencies such as Brent Central where sitting MPs Sarah Teather (LD) and Dawn Butler (Lab) are in a rough fight following boundary changes. My money is on Sarah – currently 6/4 – who is a non-claimant.”

  • Even if the Lib Dem have been amazingly ethical compared to the other two parties (I suspect they have), the public won’t notice. The headlines will be “Labour/Tory MP is corrupt” rather than “Lib Dems don’t have corrupt MPs”. It won’t get noticed amongst the scandal by the other parties, which there obviously is going to be.

    Hopefully it brings down a few senior Tories along with the inevitable Labour ones.

  • As for the Daily Mail story, it’s just a typical Mail story. They don’t name any sources, so no-one can accuse them of make stuff up.

    Notice that there’s no mention of the Tories, only Labour and the LDs.

    It talks about MPs who have affairs are “understood” to be scared. How do they know that?

    As for the senior LD, asking Nick to assure him no-one will be sacked doesn’t mean that he has done something wrong, rather that he wants assurances from the party’s leader that no-one else has dne anything wrong. He is right not to assure him of the outcome, because until the investigation is done, there’s no promise that can be made.

    It’s a poorly done story. So a Labour MP has claimed expenses on 4 plasma tvs in 4 years. And his name is? Yeah, didn’t think so.

    Meanwhile, am I the only one to notice that under the Tory plans to reform expenses, Eric Pickles (shamed on Question Time over his expenses) would get to keep his 2nd home? Convenient or what?

  • David Morton 28th Apr '09 - 6:07am

    Two quick points.

    1. I just can’t see the party getting any traction on this while the narrative is “they are all at it.” Todays Indie/ComRes is Con 45 +5 Lab 26 -2 LD 17 -1

    2. It will only take one LD MP to be caught to cement the “they are all at it” narrative.

    Sorry to be negative but I think anyone hoping for some geat polling dividend from this is going to be disappointed.

  • Question is, should we be tough on those who are “caught” – i.e. deselection as well as sacking?

  • So how about the following sequence:

    1. Figures published, with various questionmarks against Lib Dem [and other] MPs

    2. LDs establish a panel to review cases [primarly made up NOT of the great and the good, i.e. few if any MPs, ex MPs etc – I am available for a reasonable fee !].

    3. Panel identifies range of findings from:
    a) no case to answer
    b) mild rebuke
    c) member rebuked and instructed to repay all/part of claims
    d) suspension
    e) withdrawal of whip/ deselection.

    It needs a lot of polishing up, but at root isn’t that the only transparently publicly acceptable approach?

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