A friend on Facebook has commented to me thus:
“Why doesn’t every MP unilaterally pay back their unjustifiable claims immediately; cheque books out today folks!
“This would diffuse things at a stroke, then a new system can be developed ASAP.
“Words are cheap… let’s get the money back where it needs to be, in the UK’s (our) coffers! Am I alone in thinking this? It seems bloody obvious to me!
“P.S. Whichever MP or ex-MP leads in this will earn some redemption.”
I have to say I agree with such repayment, and I’d call the scheme ‘Parliamentary Payback’.
But I’m not so sure the current maelstrom against politicians will be soothed just by forcing repayment, the damage has been done and politics has been burned by it. There is an issue of trust in MPs which has been severely damaged by claims not just for property, but also for food, bathplugs and televisions. Surely MPs could have paid for these things themselves? They are paid a salary – what is that salary spent on if not the costs of existence?
There needs to be a thorough and transparent overhaul of every aspect of MPs’ expenses. It’s all very well for MPs to be calling for that now, having resisted tooth and nail the Freedom of Information requests that sparked this whole thing off. Where was the groundswell in Parliament to reform the system before the infamous disc was sold to the Telegraph?
I don’t think MPs should be allowed to profit from any property bought with public money. If MPs need somewhere to live it could be purchased and rented out to the MP with a basic standard of furnishing and appliances, but the MP should never own it. If the MP lost their seat or retired, the property would then remain in the hands of the Parliamentary Estate and be allotted to the next MP.