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I think the first question should be whether MPs (including those who make up the Government) have the 'moral authority' to preside over their own terms and conditions in anyway at all?

The answer is of course 'NO'. It is not only lowly MPs who are milking the system. Senior Ministers are as well.

IMO the first step to restore faith in Parliament's authority is to completely divorce MPs from the control of their terms and conditions.

I agree wholeheartedly with William Blake's Ghost - anyone in control of their own pay and expenses will of course raise them above what is necessary. Take this power away from MPs, instead, have it tied to another job. For instance, a mid-level civil servant's pay.

Thatcherite88 and William Blake's Ghost are both correct, though I think Tim's point is that if MPs take a pay cut, it's easier for them to cut public spending without being labelled as hypocrites.

So far, I agree with all of you.

I am a constituent of James Clappisons' and am horrified that he claims so much in expenses.

I too work long hours and entertain clients in London town. If I am going to be too late for the (excellent 15 minutes Euston to Watford) train then I stay in a hotel at a cost of £100 - £125 per night. Driving at night is a 40 minute journey maximum.

For him to claim for a second residence in London is taking the piss as much as anyone else. The centre of his constituency is 14 miles from Westminster and as such is easily accessible at any time of day or night.

I would not bat an eyelid at a claim for £7,000 per annum for hotels. However, over a hundred grand for a property in London. Outrageous.

Will seriously consider my vote next time round. I dont say that lightly either, but as far as I am concerned I dont want to be represented by someone who takes adavntage of his priveleged position.

The solution to the second homes fiasco is so obvious. They do the same as anybody else... a Hotel when they need to. That satisfies the Pickles argument and can be capped at £120 per night (deals can be done). WIth the way the house operates now there can be no argument against it.

John Redwood is the most experienced and overlooked talents in the Conservative Party

Very suprised that Clappison is being fingered.Wasn't he one of only three Conservative MPs who voted withe Norman Baker to make expenses more transparent? (I may be wrong about this my memory on the subject is a bit hazy).

Fine in theory but we all know that in practise we would get to the end of the year and find out that most had failed in their attempt to reduce their expenses.
A much more realistic option is to radically change the expenses rules now and ensure a very large saving

There area many MPs in all parties who, by their transparent greed and selfishness, have no moral authority whatsoever. Furthermore moral authority (integrity) is a bit like virginity because once it’s lost, it’s lost for ever.

Ha! Ya see? Me and Tim Montgomerie were heading in the right direction, the Rt Hon Redders agrees with us.
[Irritatingly smug grin> :D]

Actually, the actual premise behind Mr Redwood's, who is usually excellent, proposal is deeply flawed.

Expenses are supposed to cover essential costs for an MP to perform their role.

This simply reinforces the point that MP's are milking the system for personal gain, so can rein in their abuse a little bit to look like they are being cost-effective.

In short, the proposal is simply asking MP's to steal a little less.

I am disgusted by MPs as a class. I was particularly upset to discover that some MPs have been able to recover Stamp Duty which they have incurred on property purchases. They should be liable for all the same taxes as any elector is and should not be able to recover any such costs.

"is a bit like virginity because once it’s lost, it’s lost for ever. "

Not necessarily

"Women are being given controversial "virginity repair" operations on the NHS, it emerged last night. Taxpayers funded 24 hymen replacement operations between 2005 and 2006," .... "Tory health spokesman Mike Penning expressed concern"

Mind you, in this part of the world was a skill of Sykes's Nancy.

The ways of the world and the deceits that lie therin.

Bill you are far from alone in your revulsion. Clearly an independent committee will have to take over the touchy issue of MP's remuneration. Hopefully D.C. realises how big a vote winner cleaning up our sleazy corrupted system and will act accordingly.

As Oddball at 17.04 says:

"They do the same as anybody else... a Hotel when they need to. That satisfies the Pickles argument and can be capped at £120 per night (deals can be done)".

The rest of their expenses could follow what HMRC allows business people to claim.

I see no reason whatsoever why any review is necessary. All MPs have to do is join the rest of us - and quick, if any of them expect us to vote in future.

I call for voters to go on strike!

Moral authority is a very fine thing and our MPs could certainly use more of it; but really, the sums involved are piddling and I'm surprised so much time is devoted to such matters. Far more crucial is MPs having the will and the moral courage, not authority, to bring about the massive reductions in public spending necessary not only to start digging this country out of its financial hole, but to bring about the reduction in the power of the State that is essential for political liberty.

Malcolm Stevas

You may think "the sums involved are piddling" but I am sure many would disagree; in any event it is a moral issue. I know real public servants who would never have dreamed that it was within the rules or right to claim what MPs do. I also know similar people in the private sector.

"You may think "the sums involved are piddling" but I am sure many would disagree"
You mean, the sums involved are worth talking about in comparison with the umpteen billions of indebtedness our glorious leaders have let us in for? Seriously?
It's certainly a moral issue but let's keep a sense of priorities. Which is more important: hounding a few greasy shysters in Parliament who've fiddled their expenses ('twas ever thus), or puncturing the grotesquely bloated cornucopia of State expenditure to restore our wealth and freedom - ?


You surprise me. Yes of course the sums involved are worth talking about. I know people who have done far more for their country than the jokers in parliament could ever dream of let alone achieve. The standards applied to MPs are truly disgraceful when compared to those expected of others in public service who do far worthier work than MPs. How can we tackle the billions unless we and our legislators recognise the value and cost of the pounds shillings and pence.

The idea of a temporary pay cut is a silly one. When it gets reinstated it will lead to a massive pay rise. The answer is for MPs to sign up for a three year pay freeze - that is what they will soon be asking the whole public sector for.
On expenses we should only pay against receipts and we should allow any non-London MP to rent a furnished flat. They can choose where to live like anyone else and move their belongings around as required. There would be no need for the John Lewis List. This might be more expensive (in terms of additional costs allowance) but it would be entirely transparent.
There is no shortage of candidates to be MP. The market says the price of MPs should go down.

What rubbish, we don't need cheap headlines about MPs pay freezes.

What we DO need is honesty. Clean up expenses - and I DON'T mean "change the rules" - I mean find some morality & claim only what's necessary. Bottom line is stop the profiting from expenses.

If you have a spare minute please vote in this on-line poll, and spread the word!

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