Sunday, 22 March 2009

Integrity Of Our Elected Representatives

It has been apparent, for some time now, that the question of allowances and expenses for our MPs is a subject that requires immediate resolution. Case after case comes to light where the 'spirit' of the existing rules and regulations are being abused. As examples, we have had the instances involving the Wintertons, the Keens and Jacqui Smith, to name but three.

The latest to hit the news is Tony McNulty, as related in the Mail on Sunday. If the reported facts are correct - and there is no reason to suppose they are not - then McNulty is guilty of an even greater abuse of the system than Jacqui Smith who does at least 'stay' at the address for which she claims her 'housing allowance'. Admittedly McNulty did initially live at his Harrow residence for 3/4 years, until 2001 when he moved to his present residence in Hammersmith.

The paper also reports on the case of Crawley MP Laura Moffatt, who when queried on her allowance claims retorted that it did not concern her as she doesn't have a second home. Pressed to square that statement with the fact she had claimed, according to the article, the sum of £61,457 between 2002/03 and 2006/07, she terminated the discussion.

As I have posted before, I find it incredible that whilst members of the public have journeys lasting 60/90 minutes from their homes to their London offices, MPs expect that they be allowed 'special privileges' to allow them to stay in London at the taxpayer's expense. For MPs, as in the case of McNulty, who live within 10 miles of the 'office' to need a second home is ludicrous by any stretch of the imagination.

Why do they need these residences? Why, if they are MPs whose constituency is beyond reasonable travelling distance from Westminster, can they not stay in hotels and then claim the cost?

Is it any wonder that we, the public, become incandescent with rage when we see MPs creating a 'special status' for themselves with, for example, unnecessary housing allowances, concessions on their food and drink within the Palace of Westminster and dispensation from the draconian smoking laws they have imposed on the rest of the country?

Perhaps, before lecturing the country about its code of conduct, MPs need to 'put their own house in order'?

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