Tuesday 12 May 2009

A day to be proud of British politics

I suppose, as we have the mother of all Parliaments, that when we have a shambles it’s fitting that it be the mother of all shambles.

For months there’ve been so many chances to sort out expenses, but today – over a matter of minutes – the parties engaged in an embarrassing race to get their announcements out first for political gain.

Brown, having been beaten by the Tories in the “I’m sorry” race, was clearly determined for Labour to get in there first.

When they did Harriet Harman made the earth-shattering declaration that she would ask Don Touhig to come up with a proposal of how excessive expense claims might be paid back.

Integrity is restored – thank the Lord for Don Touhig! Without looking at Google I challenge you to tell me everything you know about him.

The real point, of course, is that it was another announcement about taking action, rather than action itself.

If you went to Harman’s house for dinner, you would die of hunger before you got a sniff of any food.

Minutes later Cameron got to his lectern and, frankly, made Labour's plan look stupid. Tory MPs would pay thousands of pounds back immediately and any who refused would be sacked.

The move has caused consternation among the shadow cabinet, but if Cameron was to avoid the destruction of his work to re-brand the party a strong move was required.

The leader called his ministers’ excessive claims “wrong”, but shadow cabinet members I spoke to said they had done nothing wrong and still felt entitled to what they claimed.

Resentment over this will linger.

Word is that Nick Clegg will announce that any MPs who’ve made a profit through rising house prices on their taxpayer-funded second home will have to pay the money back.

That would see some members losing out to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds. Tomorrow will be another busy day in Parliament.


Oldrightie said...

Cameron for PM? Sooner rather than later, please.

Anonymous said...

Brown is playing catch up again this morning. What a stupid game this all is. Everyone should just have a bit of backbone stand their ground and wait for the Kelly review.

Anonymous said...

The outpouring of apologies and the desperate brandishing of cheque books is sickening. Everyone knows that the MP's are only exhibiting this level of contrition because they've been caught. Otherwise these bizarre expenses would have been claimed unchecked, unregulated and unreported ad infinitum.

People who are really hacked off with their MP's performance should express their views through the ballot box at the next opportunity. But if you're disenchanted with the main parties, please vote Green or Independent (or even Monster Raving Loony) not BNP.

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