Wednesday, January 5, 2011

MPs mount attack on new expenses watchdog as they demand IPSA chairman quits, it seems MPs want return of expenses as ‘second salary’

Dear All

There are many battles to be fought politically but the one that creates the most passion in Westminster isn’t child poverty, injustice or inequality.

Its MPs expenses!

Since the MPs expenses scandal was thrust into the public domain, the public’s respect for MPs has plummeted like a bad stock exchange price.

Not only has respect hit rock bottom, it is now tunnelling through the concrete.

Senior MPs are at war with the new expenses watchdog the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa).

It is a running campaign using a drip drip effect to try and kill off the IPSA and get it replaced by an MP friendly and compliant bunch that will rubber stamp anything, anytime any place.

Back to the bad old days is the yearning.

To that end there has been fierce criticism of Parliament's expenses watchdog as it launches a public consultation to help determine what should be valid claims.

So what would ordinary people see as valid?

Rental for a flat seems fine, all utility bills, gas, electric, council, water, service charges.

Standard Furniture package seems fine, what you would expect to see in someone’s house. If people have their own tastes then let them pay for it out of their own pocket.

Working away from home, food allowance seems fine.

Travel allowance, everyone can buy that whether it be bus, rail or underground or air, standard class.

Taxis, I don’t think so, you want to jump a taxi; you pay for it unless public transport isn’t running to get you home at night.

There are people who stand out in the expenses complainers such as Tory Roger Gale and Lib Dem Bob Russell, point men for the ‘Westminster Taliban’ but you could also add in Labour MP Tom Harris as a spiritual leader of the unhappy as well.

Tory Roger Gale says Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) chairman Sir Ian Kennedy should consider resigning.

A shot across the bows but Labour placeman Sir Ian Kennedy says no!

Kennedy in layman’s terms is on a nice little earner, Quids so to speak!

Liberal Democrat Bob Russell says in dramatic fashion that the IPSA is the organisation was the worst he had dealt with in 40 years in public life.

40 years in public life, not time to step off and let the future in?
Kennedy says his organisation was set 'for the long haul' and said the question of resigning had never occurred to him.

The only way he will go is if MPs can bring to ahead a confrontation on some trumped up situation which forces the Government on the road to reform.

Kennedy says some MPs were finding it difficult to adjust to independent regulation of their financial affairs.

In other words, the removal of the culture of expenses as a second salary!

Gale, MP for North Thanet said on BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

“What we have put in place does not work and those responsible have got to be replaced. I'm saying both the chairman of Ipsa and the interim chief executive are going to have to consider their positions.”

To which Kennedy and Co will pay no attention to.

Russell, MP for Colchester since 1997, told the programme:

“I think in its present form it (Ipsa) should be scrapped because it's not fit for purpose.
It's the worst organisation I have had to deal with in 40 years in public life.”

I don’t think the public care.

Senior Labour backbencher David Winnick said:

“The patience of Members of Parliament has reached such a state that inevitably there will be changes.”

They are angling for some perks, standard business ploy, aim high and then get cut down to what you want.

But Sir Ian insisted his organisation would not consider fundamental changes: 'Absolutely not. Ipsa is doing the job Parliament asked it to do. We are here for the long haul. There's not an immediate quick fix that's possible.'

So let us look at a recurring complaint by MPs.

MPs not being able to use expenses to transport their children to and from their constituency!

Is that a valid complaint?


The reason is that expenses are there for MPs to do their job as an MP, not as an additional second salary fund to draw on so they don’t put their own hand in their pocket.

It is little wonder that trust has vanished when MPs behalf in such a high handed manner.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Mr. Mxyzptlk said...

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority vs W MPs

A no contest the MPs will win hands down Cameron(scum) in order to bolster his flagging position and hang grimly on to 10 downing street(Fuck the Tory party wankers! he was heard to say) will (shall sell his very soul(and everyboby else's to) to remain Prime minister.

Just look at the snp went into minority Governance with all the little Nationalists believing they had elected a Gaelic Tiger....Turns out the snp are suckling on the teat of the Public purse just as greedily as those they slagged off. and there the snp will stay suckling until they are fat and content...or they get an arse kicking out of minority power.

Power corrupts and it has certainly corrupted the snp leadership

George Laird said...

Dear Mxyzptlk

"Power corrupts".

As a general concept I think most people would agree with your point.

Unfortunately because of the nature of politics lots of people get in who are of no use.

And we will see that in Holyrood 2011.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University