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Brown is "frit" and will be seen to be acting in a panic! I think David Cameron should agree with any consensus but make it very clear that too little is being done too late.

Good Grief,

Just apply the same standards that the Inland Revenue expects the rest of us to live by when claiming expenses...

Why are we allowing Brown to make the running on this, coming up with ideas?

We should have put the squeeze on Labour by introducing proposals for massive cuts in expenses, demand receipts for everything and reform of allowances.

Of course we can't do that because half of our MPs have their snouts in the trough too. How can we take a partisan line on this when parasites like the Wintertons launder money by claiming double and renting their homes off one another? How can we clamp down on second homes when people like Eric Pickles demand taxpayers pay for their second homes, even though they only live 30 minutes from Westminster?

Cameron should set an example and order a clear-out of our MPs who abuse the system- starting with some deselections.

Having just voted themselves a 13-week break for the summer I am sure our esteemed MPs will find a way to maximise their return from the new allowances; as usual, the devil is in the detail.

One wonders why this is publicised the day before the Budget?

The 'image police' have been at work again. Totally awful! Manic grin, 'man of the people' hands, hopping about from foot to foot, more manic grinning, physical punctuation with vigorous head nodding. Definitely the work of the image police. "You need to appear more relaxed, more natural Gordon, like Obama..."

So the Dear Leader has gone so far into his bunker he communicates with the nation via YouTube.

So much for putting Parlaiment at the heart of the nation!

To exempt the IRA MPs from this rule is simply not acceptable.

If that is part of the price then the measures deserve to be defeated.

We do not need a half-baked revision which seems to be the Labour norm now - nothing really works.

Brown/Labour wanting to speak to others and proposing measures that on the face aren't horrible? .. Is it election time?

I expect this is all for show and they'll just find ways around anyway though.

"Just apply the same standards that the Inland Revenue expects the rest of us to live by when claiming expenses..."

Quite right, Bexie. As Cleethorpes Rock points out, it is a pity that these proposals did not come from the Conservatives first, as most of these ideas have been promoted on ConHome over the last few months.

What about a mileage allowance for necessary travel by car and also that no expenses to be reimbursed unless supported by a voucher?

Pity about the smile! That will certainly frighten the horses.

Don't forget that Brown also said he had 'more important' things to deal with than expenses.

He really has absolutely no shame.

Someone should ask Brown why he wants to pre-empt the Committee on Standards in Public Life report now, when only a couple of weeks ago in PMQs he refused to do that?

So yyet more Danegold must be handed over to the Falangist wing of Irish Republicanism in the name of the Blessed Peace Process??

An utterly outrageous way to announce this. What contempt of Parliament and also the other Party Leaders. How much better for this wretched man to have acknowledged that this is a Parliamentay matter which needs acoss the Board support by taking up the Cameron/Clegg long standing request for a meeting to thrash out a suggested way forward. But no - he has to go tribal.

@Norm Brainer

No! It is not election time!

The Dear Leader has seen the opinion polls! The Lib Dems are pinching his core vote!

Announce something quick! Take peoples minds off McBride, the disputed PPC selections, dismal Jacqui, PC Quick, etc!

It's a paralell universe!

"Is this related to the fact that Sinn Fein MPs not attending the Commons would therefore forfeit their ability to fund their homes in London?"

More likely to do with Labour's friends in the disgraceful DUP

Freddy - There is still a remote possibility that he is looking at June.

In fact the thought occurs, why now on expenses when he was kicking it into the long grass so recently? Is he potentially clearing the obstacles to a June poll?

A terrible way to pronounce on a subject which is very important to many people.Cameron should think carefully about how he responds and I suggest that Cameron offers to hold any discussion with the other party leaders in public. That would cause Brown a severe problem.
As for the proposals themselves they seem alright with the exception of making allowances for Irish terrorists.

What an absolutely frightful spectacle!!!!!!
This is like the static jive of a convicted criminal pleading mitigating circumstances to the judge, false hope flickering frantically behind hubris-clouded eyes.
As for the content!!!!!. Interesting that Harrier is the mouthpiece.
2nd bullet was proposed by Cameron, I think bullet 4 had been hinted at by Cameron. Bullet 5 should have been complied with by registration of interests and is a party political attack which may rebound.
Points 1 and 3 conflate an issue and if rushed through could create another fine mess of unintended consequences.
This is dreadful reactive politics with a built in scapegoat (Harman), some distracting populism, outright theft of others ideas, outright disrespect for Parliament and a right monkey's uncle of delivery, both of medium of distribution and spokesman.
This is a new low in Parliamentary History.

Is he potentially clearing the obstacles to a June poll?

That was my thinking... and the telegraph noticed a few of them labour people being reasonable the other day: http://ua.am/7cZD

it could just be that they are just doing it for the euro elections though - brown ain't got the bottle to go for a general election, and I don't think he thinks he needs to.

@James Burdett

Possibly! My hunch is it is the post McBride polls. I don't think that he is decisive enough to go for a June poll.

Anyway, let us make sure that when the GE comes we all turn out and help with leafleting etc. The electorate has a marvellous opportunity to finally consign Labour to the dustbin of history!!

@James Burdett

Another factor may have been Cameron's bravura performance with Sun readers yesterday.

Norm Brainer - Well I agree that on past evidence there is a courage deficit to Brown's character. However I still think there could be tactical considerations to an election now from Brown's POV namely that nobody expects one.

These sound like a good set of proposals regardless of how they were announced. And let's face it Parliament has failed to clear up its mess for decades now. If there can be cross party agreement to all this before the general election it would be a real step forward.

I'm just astonished that CCHQ have been so useless as to fail to get in first on this.

State TV's website are running this under the headline "Brown proposes expenses overhaul".

If Brown is allowed to take credit for this, the tacticians at CCHQ and in Cameron's inner circle should be shot.

Well done DC, missed the bloody boat again. While Conservatives are bleating on about consensus (and doing nothing except file more expenses under the rules), Gordon Brown seems to have acted unilaterally and put forward some proposals for debate. Regardless of the merit of his proposals or lack thereof, he has taken the initiative. For those Conservatives unfamiliar with such action, it often goes by the name of leadership - a quality sadly lacking in the Conservative armoury it would appear.

One could bleat that it's not fair - it is after all the prerogative of the government to set the agenda for debate. That's OK if we are just talking about the rules. But in fact we are talking about a moral code. There is nothing stopping the Conservatives publishing a proper code of conduct and adopting it immediately. They could reject the increases in salary and pension for a start.

So why don't they? Why does DC need consensus? I'm forced to conclude that DC has no control over the likes of Pickles or Maude. They have no intention of acting reasonably in the eyes of the public until forced to do so. How big a party would DC have if he deselected Tories who won't behave? If you worry about damage to the Tory brand then look no further. Some still don't get it after 12 years?!!!

Maybe it's people like me that don't get it. Why transform to be worthy of government when in opposition you still get the salary and the perks and you can rightly blame someone else for all the problems? Maybe the Conservatives aren't ready yet - not hungry enough for power and responsibility - Too many unreformed Tories and not enough true Conservatives (caring, fiscal or otherwise).

Past time to stand up and be counted. Your country needs you. Lead, follow or get out of the way.

Alistair, I couldn't agree with you more.

The Dolly Labourgraph are going with "MPs' expenses radically reformed by Brown".

We've fouled-up here.

Will Jacqui Smith's sisterly affection still be welcome or will she move into Grand Opulence? Or will she, indeed, remain entitled to such opulence? How fast will house sales follow?
Anybody who calls this reasoned leadership and initiative needs their head examined. This is desperate political expediency masquerading as a solution to an unpopular situation. It bypasses all conventions on professional courtesy in allowing input of all parties and disregards and disrespects the standing of all Parliamentarians. One practical implication is that the Executive State can arrogate to itself any power it likes and that the rest of Parliament are just bodies to flesh out the place. It is cleverly done in that the main ideas were originated in other Parties, so that trying to pull the Executive to account on respect for Parliament can be misrepresented as greed. I hope Cameron and Clegg get that message across to both the country and the Parliamentary Labour Party.
This is Galtieri Politics.

snegchui, that's the most sensible post I've read all day. I was trying to say as much, but gave up typing because I couldn't find the right words. This is not a question of Brown stealing a march on anyone; this is simply him at his absolute worst.

Alastair Thomas, I couldn't agree with you less. It is we who've made the running on this one. It was Cameron who called for a meeting, most of the ideas are Cameron's and it is Brown who has to respond.
ITN news reported it as Brown giving in to opposition demands.
We cannot legislate for the bias of the bbc whilst in opposition.
Brown is desperate, seeking political capital out of everything, I have every confidence in Cameron in preventing him from succeeding.

I'm sorry to upset you all here, but DC has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on this one.

You don't need consensus or professional courtesy to know how to behave. There are various models in the public domain, not least those of HMRC by which the public has to abide, that set the tone for sensible behaviour. Cameron asked for Consensus, Brown snubbed him, stole his ideas (again) and presented them as his own. And yes Snegchui, that is leadership. By his action he has retaken the initiative and made DC look slow, silly - reason enough on its own.

I agree that Brown's action is ugly, blatant theft, no regard for parliamentary process, etc. Maybe I'm out of touch on this but the public don't give a fig for parliamentary process. Said process has seen them ripped off over the last decade by (let's be nice) the few of all parties 'under the rules'. They want action not words. In the absence of action I'm sure they'll prefer a date for a debate with an agenda over a call for a meeting. Who do you think they feel is acting decisively because there is only the court of public opinion on this one, nothing else matters.

And yes Malcolm, it is incredible isn't it? Having led from the front you are now challenged by Brown to follow him into the debate to discuss 'His proposals'. You can blame the party, you can blame the leadership or you can blame those old Tories who prevented the leadership from acting decisively, even blame the BBC for not giving due credit if you like. About the only person you can't blame is GB. In fact, even with the leering and stomach churning presentation, this is still the cleverest thing he has done of late.

Now are we going to cry into our collective beer or are we going to do something about it? Do we have any better proposals> Can we get every member of the party to sign up immediately? On this issue better than any other we can deliberate, publish, conform/act and then offer to debate a consensus with like minded politicians to bring the official rules into line with our adopted behaviour. Or we can go to Brown's party and discuss his proposals and be forced to accept concessions because of his majority.

Alistair Thomas, I suggest you confuse Leadership with Dictatorship, reason with demagogy and integrity with moral vacuity.

"So the Dear Leader has gone so far into his bunker he communicates with the nation via YouTube.

So much for putting Parlaiment at the heart of the nation!"

Iain, can you now remind us what people usually do in bunkers in late April? ;)

What's particularly bizarre is that this is only an interim measure. Sir Christopher Kelly has confirmed his report is due to be published before the end of the year - and presumably will then be debated and voted on.

So, Brown's proposals may only have a year in them tops. That presumably means that any changes would be with immediate effect, which makes the whole thing more absurd - set up an entirely new bureaucratic system and procedure only to tear it down in 12 months time. What a waste. What a shower.

Snegchui, thank you for your suggestion. Let me see if my dim wit can step slowly through your superior intellectual points.

Dictatorship is a subset of Leadership; it's a particularly strong, nasty form of leadership but it's still leadership. Is GB a dictator? Yes, his control freakery certainly makes him a contender. Is DC a dictator? - no. Do I want him to be? No, but I do want him to lead passionately with inspired vision and determined conviction.

DC and GB are leaders, right? So one definition of leadership might reasonably be the action of said leaders. DC, given a target seriously wounded by outrageous, fraudulent and petty expense claims by those closest to him, demands a meeting to achieve consensus thus offering his unworthy opponent a chance at being part of the solution. GB, being betrayed by his own side and cornered by his opponents, does he sue for peace and accept the gracious defeat within consensus? No. He attacks. He steals his opponents arguments and then wrong foots them by establishing the time and place of the debate and the limit by which time a conclusion acceptable to the public should be reached. Which is the stronger approach? Which is the biggest vote winner (oh yes, demagogy) with a public hungry for action not hollow words?

Surely demagogy is a form of reason, although pandering to the people's whims was probably not GB's primary driver here. To appease the few people of integrity left in his party like Frank Field might have been an influence, but I suspect this was GB's strong suit, petty politics, and sticking one over on Cameron was reason enough, and if a few voters were pleased along the way then so much the better.

When the public whim is for social justice, equality and fairness - i.e their representatives should be subject to the same rigours as they are in terms of taxes and allowances - then a little demagogy is a good thing. Social justice should be the foundation of every Conservative policy, not just a soundbite for Cameron to throw out from time to time.

I'm not sure where you are going with integrity and moral vacuity. GB defines moral vacuum for me and I believe DC is a man of integrity, although I have yet to hear him denounce specific snout-trough merchants high up in his party in the same way that the definition of political integrity, Frank Field, has done with his party.

Confused I may be and you can berate me as much as you like, but this was not a good day for Cameron. You can cling frantically to the moral high ground that "these were our ideas" and deny that Cameron dropped the ball, but while you do then these mistakes will keep happening and you'll never break 45% and GB may yet claw his way back. Heck, DC hasn't even earned my vote and I think he's the best of the bunch.

The way it seems to me:-

1) Committee start review

2) Gordon Decides what the outcome will be, and tells cabinet.

3) Gordon denies any prejudice and says 'must wait for review to complete'

4) Document explaining Gordons stitch up caught by photographer

5) Gordon forced to publish his stitch up (decided long ago), but clearly cannot admit it was planned right from the start, so presents it as new/recent work.

Alistair Thomas, I must disagree with you.

ConHome regularly criticises DC for not saying enough on specific policy - and then when DC leads with ideas they are stolen and bastardized, and worsened! Given it was DC who first proposed major reform with specific ideas, it's not reasonable to criticise him when GB behaves like this. Why is the vote being rushed? To stop the Tories making the political hay they have been able to... this is Brown at his worst; like it or not GB is the PM and does have the right to govern... albeit he does it badly.


Are these expenses reasonable or not? General consensus is that "the rules" just don't stand up to scrutiny and allow MPs privileges denied to the public they are supposed to serve.

Presumably DC has a comprehensive set of ideas that he (and the party?) believes are the right way to behave, the right way to proceed? Is there a single Conservative MP whose current activity would break the new proposals? If so, why?

If DC knows the right thing to do then surely the question is not "Why rush the vote?" but "Why carry on doing the wrong thing for another day, another hour, another second? Why keep abusing the public trust?" What need for consensus? There is nothing compelling any MP to behave badly - it's a choice they make. Act now, get our own house in order and let the other parties follow in our wake or risk oblivion at the polls. Discuss "Consensus" from a position of strength of doing the right thing not just talking about it.

And to close, 'Political Hay the Tories are making?' Last poll I saw, Labour went down by 5 points and the Tories went down by 1 point. Conservative polling is stuck around 40% - has been for months. Tory talk isn't winning, Labour are just losing. This is one area where we can act and act now. Why are we dithering? Why are we inviting our political opponents into the debate?

Good old Gordon! He'll be still spinning when they screw him in his box. What a time to "bury the bad news" of his MPs daily allowance farce. MEPs have the same system. They sign on in the morning then push off for the day. Tailor-made for Brown's House of Commons.

That's saying nothing of the fact that the MPs who will lose out will be those whose constituncy is far from Westminster, and the winners will be those whose constituncey is within reasonable commuting distance. The proposals have all the hallmarks that we saw so often when he was Chancellor. Slapdash thinking and panic.

What a way for a once respected party to go down to defeat.

Alistair Thomas, which particularly demented part of the Civil Service do you work for? Or are you a retired English Graduate from the old days when British Rail had a particularly well defined sense of humour in its Customer Services Dept? Or has there been an implosion in the No 10 bunker upon McBride's ousting and the promotion of the Gibbering Idiot Youtube and your posts the last writhings of a tortured and despairing leadership?
Dictatorship is a subversion of leadership in that it takes forwards rather than leads. So your original link upon which your artificial tendentiousness is built is flawed. For "He attacks", substitute "He lashes out" as in infant school playground politics.
For demagogy and its wonderful effects upon the body social and politic, read Iraq War, 10p Tax, wilder political fringes - for arch practitioners read Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin.

Political gain is Brown's only driving force. The two main Opposition parties will have no choice but to reject the proposals as they stand and there is no chance of reaching consensus on the floor of the House.

The talks proposed by Cameron & Clegg were the way forward but Brown cannot stay in the UK long enough to schedule any such meetings.

Government would do well to look at the rules regarding employment that it and its' agencies impose on the rest of the population, and apply them to itself.

Us mere mortals find it hard to understand how it is reasonable that an MP should be paid a wage (which looks to be carefully set a little less than a higher tax bracket) and then be permitted to claim additional, special, privileged, tax-free allowances for merely turning up to do their job.

If a "civvie" takes a five year temporary contract, a time remarkably similar to an MP's tenure, they are expected to make the best of it. Their reward is a wage and perhaps short-term assistance for relocation and/or travelling expenses, which are carefully scrutinised - and subject to taxation. Towards the end of their contract they seek other employment, or possibly a renewal of that same contract.

This is why so many view the expenses situation, both current and proposed by Gordon Brown, with disdain.

"Is he potentially clearing the obstacles to a June poll?"

Unless you mean June of 2010,I think not.At least not on the current polling. In addition although he is toying with attacking Conservative policies he has yet to go for the throat. He doesn't strike me as a very brave man. A 4% contraction in the economy isn't good news for Brown. I think he knows that he is unlikely to win, but will spin it out as long as possible hoping for D.C. and co, to slip on a Banana skin.

Snegchui, not everybody who doesn't buy your elitist, condescending, blind faith in Cameron at face value is a a Labour troll (I assume that's where you were going with your demented civil servant, English graduate, Bunker spawn line).

Your insults, and diversionary tactics do not strengthen your argument that Cameron has not messed up in this instance. I feel sorry for you because your overt hatred of Brown blinds you to the possibility that he can even now do something clever and harm your cause.

Let me make one last effort to open your eyes to the merest possibility that dear David has not played his cards to best advantage, and in so doing has damaged the hopes of those of us that want a renaissance in Conservative fortunes so badly it hurts.

When DC called for consensus 2 weeks ago, do you think he considered that he might be challenged to attend a meeting at a time and place of his opponent's choosing to debate his own stolen ideas under his opponent's call to action that the public demand progress on sorting expenses? I guess not. If you can't accept that DC was wrong footed by Brown's action then at contemplate that DC was surprised by it, even if only for its hubris and breath taking hypocrisy.

My suspicion is that Cameron expected Brown to stay in the bunker and wait for the committee to report. DC's apparent openness for consensus and drive for urgent debate would further embarrass Brown. DC's objective was not to sort this issue for the electorate but maximise the discomfort of his political opponent. Pure politics. DC misread Brown, he played his cards and Brown trumped him. A winning trick was turned.

For what it's worth, Brown didn't do it for the people either. A parliamentary debate is not going to fix this, not quickly or elegantly anyway. Parliament and it's rotten systems are part of the problem so how can it be part of the solution? No, this was a spoiling tactic aimed at Cameron and in the sordid world of politics, it was clever and effective in my view.

My question is, on such a fundamental issue dealing with right and wrong, why play politics? Cameron is an honorable man. All parties are tarnished by past sins so nobody is well placed to lecture, but Cameron is credible to lead both old Tories and Nulabour into the light. Brown (and his)on the other hand have lied, spun and cheated for 12 years. Even if they had a good idea you're bound to ask "Where's the hidden agenda?" "What's in it for them?" Why would you want to reach consensus with a pit full of snakes?

One way to solve this is by someone with a moral compass saying this is what I believe is the right way to behave and I am going to conform to this code even if I lose out financially compared to other MPs exploiting "the rules". Lead by example and deselect all MPs within the party who do not comply. Simple, brutal, worthy of trust.

It is an honour to be selected as an MP, and it should be a privilege to serve. Are there enough Conservatives that understand this to form a new Government? Sadly the answer to this is far from certain otherwise I would expect DC to act more decisively.

In truth is is it said that there are many more opinions than facts.
What makes a fact? What makes an opinion? Interesting question.
Myself elitist: My family laugh, those who don't know my family here, say maybe. I say to them I grew up in countries where I cannot relate to class, I cannot relate to side, I take you on your word. There is an egalitarian confidence in that that translates here in the "mother country" to elitist condescension. That is your problem not mine. If you do not have the confidence to be yourself, what do you want me to do about it? If I am to do this via the State, my driving principle is that I prevent people from inhibiting you, which is not a natural place for me to be - but in the circumstances I must take away barriers before I can show space.
Blind faith in Cameron??? I have written here many times I do not quite know what the specifics of the Cameron agenda are, and have eventually come to accept that the willingness of Labour to ex-appropriate Tory/Cameron ideas for their own benefit drives the closed fist of Tory policy at the present.
Labour, at present, are driven by an emptiness. I have written here fascism is not a coherent political creed, but an exposition of psychological flaws, - as is the the agenda of Gordon Brown: Authoritarian drives to make the world fit me, rather than dealing with the world as it is.
But change is the mission is the cry of the visionaries ( a la Brown, Hitler, Stalin, Blair) - as Conservatives the call is evolution based in reality allowing for time and respect.
To say Brown understands the respect and links of community is trash. To say Cameron does is, is stretching it, but I believe Cameron's fundaments allow a better chance of getting there than Brown's. Who would I like to see driving this: (Thatcher drove me mad, but I would follow- But can you reform self-centred people once a new stability is achieved - will they rest or do they live on adrenalin? ) Today, I see no beacon, but I will follow a flag.
I will not follow the flag of UKIP's/BNPs immature single-issue either-or and definitely not the false demagogy of the Labour.

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