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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

MP's Expenses Published Online

The expenses claims of every member of the House of Commons over the past four years have been published online today. Under the rules, MPs had to nominate a primary home, where they spent most time, and a second home for which they could claim for rent, mortgage interest, furnishings and food up to a maximum of more than £23,000 a year.

Certain information, including MPs' addresses and correspondence has been removed according to officials "on privacy and security grounds." The truth of the matter is that without addresses it is impossible to discover if "flipping" - by which some MPs switched the designation of their homes and claimed allowances for several properties over the four year period.

For example, this morning, the Daily Telegraph published details of how Treasury Minister Kitty Ussher changed the designation of her constituency home to avoid capital gains tax. She has now resigned. However, if the newspaper had not published these details she would still be in her job as this information is not in the online database of expenses.

Nearly a dozen MPs have been forced to stand down since the publication of their expenses by the Daily Telegraph. However, most of these hace been forced out by Gordon Brown and David Cameron because they had a history of not being loyal to their leader.

For example, Brown has used the Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) to bar Ian Gibson from standing at the next election after criticism of his expenses claims. Gibson was censured for selling his taxpayer-funded second home to his daughter for below market rates. Several members of the government have done far worse but they remain in office. However, Gibson has been a constant critic of this right-wing goverment and so the opportunity has been used to get rid of him. Gibson has resigned, triggering a by-election in his Norwich constituency. As the local party support Gibson, it will be interesting who they select as their candidate.

From 1st July people would also know how much time and how much money MPs get from second jobs. This will reveal the real corruption of parliament as it will show how corporations bribe our MPs for inside information and to get them to vote in particular ways.

1 comment:

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