Thursday, 30 April 2009

Mps' Expenses "vote" Reform

What a show parliament was today; squabbling, finger pointing, accusations, waving a bath plug, just a circus. All for the government to accept Sir George Young's amendment which refers everything to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, yet then go ahead pre-empting the whole inquiry by voting on some measures any way.

The proposals that were voted on were; cutting allowances for outer London MPs, getting MPs to declare full details of outside jobs, making them submit full receipts and changing the way staff are employed. The government won the vote on these proposals, yet it's unclear what will happen if they're not agreed by Sir Kellys' inquiry.

Which is a bit of a mess, Brown could have easily have gained cross party support by talking to the party leaders before making an announcement on YouTube. Or heaven forbid talking to Sir Kelly and agreeing proposals to put in place before July. Why must this be so theatrical, all for what? Brown to be able to claim he cleaned up politics.

Brown can hardly claim that victory today, he just avoided a battle and used Harriet Harman as a human shield. MPs knew they had to vote in favour of these individual proposals, they couldn't be seen doing otherwise. That doesn't equal reform for me, yet it does raise the question of just how bad the expense claims due to be released in July will be, given the frenzy today.

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