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MPs' expenses: Telegraph investigation exposes all

  hssutton 22:34 07 May 2009

The telegraph should make interesting reading on Friday.

Jack Straw claimed back twice as much for his council tax as he had actually paid.

He later repaid the money and apologised for the error. :)

click here

  Forum Editor 12:08 09 May 2009

You have absolutely no evidence that anyone has 'fiddled' anything. so please don't make such sweeping statements.

The people who sit in parliament do not live on a different planet at all - many of them come from perfectly ordinary backgrounds, and in the last have 'struggled to get by' along with the rest of us. This idea that Members of parliament don't understand what real life is about is a fallacy - they probably see more of real life in their daily mail sacks and constituency surgeries than you do. They have families and mortgages like millions of other people, and as I have repeatedly said, they are just as capable of making mistakes as you and I.

There's a general perception that MPs somehow have an easy life, but I can assure you that the opposite is true. I know two House of Commons researchers, and what they tell me of their MPs' working lives (both Conservative) is enough to make me sure that I wouldn't swap places with them under any circumstances.

We pick our MPs from the people who present themselves for election, and if we're not happy with what we get perhaps we should concentrate on making the job a little more rewarding - then we might attract a higher standard of candidate.

  johndrew 12:14 09 May 2009

There once was a time when, at least some, MPs did the job for the country rather than themselves. It is possible the existing rules were formulated during this period in the knowledge they would not be abused.

However we have moved to a `new` age where being a representative is a job where `opportunities` exist not to serve the country so much as to serve the holder of the position - a bit like those bankers who have caused so much damage.

It was mentioned in these forums that MPs are `self-employed` persons; perhaps we should treat them as any other self-employed person and bring them into the real world. A fixed contractual sum for doing the job, allowing them to sort out their own accommodation, pension, feeding and similar from their own resources may well attract those who wish to serve the country rather than getting their snouts in the trough and provide some experience of life that is typical of the population.

An alternative would be to do away with all allowances for housing, leaving it up to them to resolve their primary accommodation at their expense (as the remainder of us do), and to provide secondary accommodation in London for when they are working - perhaps a use for the Olympic Village after the 2012 games. This could be made secure at a much reduced cost and still provide enough security to make the more nervous MPs safe. Furnishings could still be comfortable, with the opportunity for any MP to add to them at their own expense.

It may also be a good idea to introduce punishment for breach of the rules of office; we all have such a system at places of work. After all if an employee can be dismissed for gross misconduct why should it be different for an MP? Currently they are able to shrug off much that would cause an employer to summarily dismiss an employee (or contractor) elsewhere.

Bringing MPs into the real world and ensuring they understand about work ethics and responsibility can only be a good thing.

  johndrew 15:49 09 May 2009

`Did you bother to read the rest of the thread ..`

Yes but did you?

  johndrew 15:51 09 May 2009

Yes. That would constitute the self-employed contractor status.

  oresome 15:51 09 May 2009

We need people from all backgrounds to both want to and succeed in being elected as MPs.

There's no doubt that financing accommodation in London is an expensive business ......... especially so when you also have a constituency home to finance.

Coupled with this are the long hours working and travelling leaving little time to do the menial tasks like cleaning, cutting the lawn and decorating the house yourself.

I doubt an MP's salary will go far taking all the additional costs and constraints on their time into account, so little wonder that the expense allowance is seen as part of the remuneration package to be used or lost.

Let's have MPs that are well remunerated, work full time as MPs and have the use of public owned and funded accommodation whilst in London.

Expenses can then be much more limited and claimed without the suspicion that they are feathering their own nest to make a capital gain at the taxpayers expense.

  Forum Editor 17:22 09 May 2009

we see people posting about MPs as if their jobs are comparable with say, bus drivers - just turn up, do your shift, and go home again. These people talk about being an MP as if anyone could do it, which is very far from the truth.

If we want good legislation, and we want our society to be expertly and failry regulated we must pay for it - we must elect and pay people of a suitably high calibre. Then we'll get high-quality government. If you're expecting MPs to do the job simply for the pleasure of serving the country you are in fanatasy land - it simply isn't going to be the case. People enter politics for various reasons, not the least of which is the desire for power and influence. It has been thus down the ages, and it will always be the case. We need that kind of person, and we'll get them if we create the right conditions.

I'm all for accountability, but let's not allow the pendulum to swing too far - if we regulate our legislators to death we'll end up with a parliament full of time-serving nonentities, which is precisely what we'll deserve.

  laurie53 17:53 09 May 2009

"they fiddled, like pigs at the through."

If you have evidence of this, that they fiddled, then you should go to the police, otherwise you are covering up a crime.

Or are you just uttering your own baseless prejudices?

  Edbanger 19:12 09 May 2009

Will the Telegraph be as open when exposing all the Tories with their noses in the trough?

I doubt it.

  Forum Editor 19:50 09 May 2009

Ah.... the 'ruling class' prejudice shows its face at last. What a lot of tripe you come out with at times.

Attitudes like yours belong to another age, and by perpetuating your prejudice you're simply stopping yourself from understanding what really goes on. Instead of trying to understand a situation you resort to the same old rhetoric - ears closed to any other opinions.

  hssutton 09:28 10 May 2009

"these people are taking full advantage of a generous expenses scheme and bending the rules to get bucket loads of extra cash." I'm in full agreement with you

A certain lady has changed her designated 2nd home several times, so as to claim expenses to furnish and improve a property, then changing the 2nd home to the main residency so as to avoid Capital Gains Tax when selling has got to be one of the biggest "fiddles" of all.

According to the Mirror Last night it emerged that the Inland Revenue is to investigate whether MPs have evaded capital gains tax when selling second homes.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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