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Cameron must not dither this time- even for 24 Hours. Misuse of allowances must immediately mean expulsion from the parliamentary party. The stables must be cleaned once and for all.

If Conservative MPs are discovered to have abused their expenses they should be fired immediately. The short term embarassment caused by people like Conway will bring long term benefit in that Conservative voters will be able to trust their MPs. Hopefully this episode will see the demise of the professional politician whose primary purpose is self aggrandisement.

The public is waiting for a political party to step forward and deal clearly and honestly with this issue of corruption. Cameron must act quickly, and, if necessary, brutally.

The short term embarassment caused by people like Conway will bring long term benefit in that Conservative voters will be able to trust their MPs.

Really? Don't you suppose the new generation of B'stards will find new ways of working the system?

I love all this guff about Cameron's 'decisive action'. Conway didn't start his scam last week. He's clearly been at it for years and neither Cameron nor his predecessors did anything about it until the BNP and the press forced 'Dave' to act.

Oh, so he didnt know anything about it? A fine excuse!

They didn't want to know, more like.

I wondered about this when David Cameron set 1st April as his target date - it suggested some adjustments were needed.

We don't want to cannibalise our own party - but equally misuse of public money is very serious. Of course we don't know who may be implicated.

Perhaps the parliamentary party should have a holding company that provides MP with their services - in effect allowing MPs to buy their services and provide a common set of standards. There could be more than one -but it would reduce the possibility of being accused of misuse.

Speaker Martin,Prescott, The Kinnocks, Blair,
Hain,Blunkett,Brown's Smith Institute plus other Leadership Campaign donations...Strange the disproportionate MSM focus on The Conservatives. Ten years of a darn site more than cash for questions. Cash for Labour, dogy loans, peerages, "D" notices. On and on it goes. This is not a Government it is a Socialist fiefdum presiding over the biggest boom and bust EVER.
These silly minor scandals are nothing in the overall scheme of this Country's demise. If The Conservative support and vote fails, the next great leader will be PRESIDENT Blair! For heaven's sake unite and back Guido to publish a newspaper!

Funny we should talk about three - hypothetical- Tories being sacked. But it's OK for Labour. Can we keep a sense of proportion, all this holier than thou just makes it more difficult to beat Labour.

I'm sure it won't be long before we start hearing about the even greater number of Labour MPs and even some government ministers with their snouts in the trough.

Let's see if Brown takes the same firm action that Cameron has though I doubt it somehow if his response to the Abrahams, Hain, Alexander, Harman, Johnson etc scandals are anything to go by.

The Tories have a few bad eggs while Brown and his crew are rotten to the core.

Some people here seem to be mising the point.
The Conway business was not just about the cash.
The stuff about his sons shone a spotlight on the fops who inhabit parts of the Tory party.
Boris,Osborne and Cameron must know that this is what could finish them off.
If the leadership gets tainted with a Flip Flopping, Fop image they have a problem.

Noticed the front page of tomorrow's MoS on this evenings ITV news. The headline is "Conway : Pay MPs £100,000"

It's not being holier than thou David it is showing that we expect much higher standards than Labour.

tim @ 18:12 - Yes I entirely agree with you! It was about the fact primarily that instead of family members being employed to do a fair day's work for a fair day's pay - which DOES happen with many MPs spouses and children - it was about a greedy complacent "fat cat" of a man skimming off the "cream" to pay for his over-privileged and - yes - foppish boys to swan about and ape the aristocracy whilst a hard-pressed single mother employed in his office had her pay cut to subsidise these two young Good For Nothings!!

Malcolm, I agree with you in general, but I wouldn't rush to judgement on the basis of what's in the Sunday papers.

In Conway's case, the Commons Committee had examined the evidence, criticised him, and he had accepted the criticism.

Plenty of dodgy Labour MPs to go at...

Conways sons are the best argument against expensive private education possible,besides coke dealers children and Cameron/Osbornes coke suppliers.

Challenge for the Editor

A number of Conservatives who accept(last night at a fundraising event) that this is the best Conservative website also complained that there are a number of Labour supporters writing comments.

Can you make this website members only (need membership number to login).

Patrick Ratnaraja, do you not think its better to have Labour apologists come on here so that their arguments can be challenged. The danger is that without conflicting views the website will just be the converted preaching to the converted. It will end up like Labour Home.

Yes, Boris, we should certainly abolish private education, that would definitely end the illicit drugs culture at a stroke.

Can't think why no-one else has come up with this amazingly brilliant, constructive and no doubt well-researched solution.

Oh by the way, if all us fiendishly wealthy people gave all our money and goods to the poor, that would eliminate crime too.

The issues of MPs' pay/allowances and Party funding need to resolved on a cross-party basis as quickly as possible. I would suggest a high level all party committee chaired by a former Cabinet Secretary should be established in the coming week.

All issues, from spending between elections, to the role of business and unions, needs to be on the table with respected 'elders' from each party being represented. It needs to be a transparent committee, taking evidence like a select committee, in public. There needs to be a short, sharp investigation with an interim report published by May, final recommendations by the Summer and implemented when Parliament returns this autumn.

In particular, I believe MPs' expenses need to be audited independently but that MPs' staff are treated as staff of Parliament and therefore no longer treated as an MPs' expense. There also needs to be greater transparency in the recruitment of political staff - perhaps an inhouse Parliamentary recruitment service needs to be established?

MPs should also no longer be responsible for deciding their own terms and conditions. Parliament should be used to debate the concerns of voters and implement legislation in the public interest. MP pay does need, however, to remain competitive and therefore I would propose paying them £80K from the day after the next General Election rising in line with senior civil servants each year following. Their final salary pension scheme should be closed to new entrants, again from the start of the new Parliament. A new Defined Contribution pensions scheme should be introduced.

I would also like to see the abolition of the £10K 'communications allowance' which puts sitting members in an unfairly advantageous position compared to their opponents. This is bad for democracy.

The Hain / Conway affairs are causing untold harm to the reputation of politics and democracy in our country which will reduce the legitimacy of General Elections in the future, if we see a contunuing slide in turnout.

As part of a new set of rules being agreed, I would like to see Parliament gain new powers to expel members who abuse the code or refer matters to the police. It is quite clear that a ten day suspension from the House was a laughable punishment for Derek Conway and perversely subjected Conway to worse media treatment and public condemnation than if the House treated his abuse more seriously - because he was seen to be treated lightly.

I tend to agree. I think an independent body should decide a suitable allowance for MPs and then all other payments, expenses etc should be a seperate system. Then it would be very clear to the public that MPs are paid X. The abuse of taxpayer funded communications budgests should also be stamped on as it is creating an anti-democratic incumbency. I'm pleased Conservatives opposed this Labour policy of feathering their own nests.

A Newspaper or an Independent Radio England
would be a great idea. An independent msm forum is urgently required. I'm sick to death of the established media's reluctance to ask politicians hard questions.

A radio station could carry some shows from the states featuring top US presenters like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Medved to add a bit of humour. Michael always describes America as "The greatest nation on gods earth" which always amuses me, well the greatest for classic movies maybe!, but other things, I'm not so sure.

Considering most people already see politicians and the political system as a whole as being 'institutionally' corrupt, I don't think this particular story will have much lasting impact. Forgotten within 3 months.

The storms currently raging regarding funding of the Labour party on the other hand are far more damaging, simply because at present Labour is the governing party.
Any problem to befall a political party is going to be magnified one thousand fold once that party is in government.

I think the impact of these recent revelations, whilst being damaging to politics as a whole, will be far worse for Labour than for the Tories.
Being in opposition at the moment gives us time (if we're sensible) to give the party a spring clean, and to really make it clear to MPs that they must follow the rules, however set against it they may be.

Perhaps the threat of using a REAL whip would be a fitting incentive?

This is one of the stories, from the Mail on Sunday, featuring that delightful couple, beacons of the modern Tory party, Ann and Nicholas Winterton:

"A husband-and-wife MP couple have claimed £165,000 in Commons expenses for their £700,000 second home six years after they paid off their mortgage.
Tory politicians Sir Nicholas and Ann Winterton switched their fashionable London apartment to a family trust and used their parliamentary allowances to avoid death duty.

Using a loophole in Commons rules, they claim more than £30,000 a year in "rent" from the public purse, which is paid to a family trust set up for their two children. "

In other words they are embezzling £30k/year.

They are also avoiding IHT on the property, because it has been transferred to their children, and they (or rather we) are paying full market rent on it.

Of course it is wrong and immoral, even if it is legal.

Surely Labour are doing similar though. I wonder what The Mail's motives are.

I despair I really do.

Conway needs to be told to SHUT UP and that his only hope for avoiding a CRIMINAL prosecution and a prison sentence is to demonstrate real contrition and get off the scene ASAP. All this "I have done nothing wrong; the system is at fault" has to stop immediately.

I have no idea whether the specifics of what the Wintertons have done mean they've been overly sharp little tax planners or tax evaders.

Finally, the extremely low contributor Anthony Steen needs to start producing some very clear examples of what his daughter did for her pay. Didn't he also call the other day for higher taxi expenses as it was unreasonable to expect older MPS to carry their kit around London. Mate, think yourself extremely lucky, shut up and move on if you're too old.

Support the Strivers - I agree with you 100% on all counts! A period of silence from Mr Conway would now be welcome.

At first sight there appears to be a clear difference between the steps taken by the Wintertons (legitimate avoidance) and Derek Conway (blatant evasion), as long as the Wintertons themselves are not the ultimate beneficiaries of the trust. Should there be any Labour attempt to play on supposed immorality factors, they should be asked whether they view the arrangements of Mr & Mrs Balls in the same light.

On a separate note, the Sundays will no doubt be kicking themselves that they have missed out on Wendy Alexander being reported to the procurator fiscal.

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