Conservative Diary

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MPs' expenses returns to the top of the political agenda

Picture 3 The revelations over MPs' use and abuse of parliamentary expenses dominated the political agenda during the spring in the run-up to the June elections, with the papers  leading on the story day after day for weeks as the Daily Telegraph published details of the claims made by parliamentarians.

Yet as MPs return to Westminster tomorrow after their 82-day summer recess, the issue is again set to be the talk of the Tea Room - and the media.

For as the Sunday Telegraph reports today, tomorrow Sir Thomas Legg - who has headed an official independent inquiry into MPs' expenses claims between 2004 and 2008 - will be writing to each MP telling them one of three things:

  • They must repay money for having made claims he deems inappropriate; or
  • They must provide him with further information about certain claims before he can decide whether any further action needs to be taken; or
  • They are completely in the clear.

The Telegraph report today states that only half of the 646 MPs will be given the all clear, suggesting that 325 will have to repay money or provide further documentation to back up their claims.  Yesterday's Times reported the figure to be a much more modest "up to 100".

Either way, anyone who thought that the controversy surrounding MPs expenses would die down is likely to be proved wrong.

Update: The BBC is reporting that Gordon Brown is expected to be forced to pay back some money.

Jonathan Isaby 


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