Follow by Email

Saturday, 12 April 2014

A new investigation into MP's expenses abuse?

Inquiry into Tory conference ‘gay-sex party paid on expenses’ 


Trust is damaged


Almost on a weekly basis, some allegation or other comes to light of expenses abuse by MP's
This week, the allegation, now being investigated is that the taxpayer indirectly funded a hotel suite that was used for a gay-sex party. It seems that an organisation called the Policy Research Unit (PRU), which is overseen by senior Conservative figures, booked a suite of rooms costing up to £2,500 per night at Manchester’s Light ApartHotel, during a Conservative Party conference.It would appear that Conservative MP's pay nearly £4,000 a year to the PRU which they claim back through the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa).
This latest "revelation" come in the same week as Culture Secretary Maria Miller, was forced to resign from the government after being found guilty (albeit that the investigation was under the "old rules") of expenses "irregularities" and her pathetic "apology" to the House of Commons can at best be described as, succinct. Miller now joins an ever growing list of MP's who for one reason or another, consider themselves to be beyond reproach for their disgraceful behaviour, especially on the matter of expenses claims, and (except in a very few cases), above the law for any form of censure for their actions. It seems that saying sorry and paying back some paltry sum of money, is more than sufficient punishment for their abuses of the system.
As in other organisations, there is a fundamental flaw in the concept of self regulation. Where regulatory bodies are established and then predominately filled with people who gain their living from being members of, or part of, the business being regulated, then the conflict of interests becomes all too apparent. Numerous examples exist where what the public, or the consumer may reasonably expect to happen is circumvented by the regulatory body to ensure that whilst on the surface seeming to be tough with lots of noise and rhetoric, in reality nothing really happens and the organisation returns to business as usual within a few days. Thus it is the same with Members of Parliament.
What this country desperately needs, is a completely independent body without MP's membership, consisting entirely of lay people, and without nomination from any political party or other interest. The ordinary person, to represent taxpayers and the public generally to monitor MP's standards of behavior. The ordinary person in fact, who  Lord Justice Greer once described as "the man on the Clapham omnibus" 
The relationship of trust and understanding between public and Parliament is severely damaged and is in urgent need repair. Only radical reform will restore public confidence in a system where the perception is that hypocrisy, self interest, and exploiting the public purse is the normal and accepted way of life in the House of Commons. The phrase "Honorable members" has a very hollow ring to it.