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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cameron exposes his own weaknesses on expenses vote

According to The Times today's vote on MP's accomodation allowances could be more difficult for the Prime Minister than he envisaged, even with the flat rate allowances taken out.

David Cameron has withdrawn his support over plans to force MPs to declare how much they earn from jobs outside Parliament and intends to order his frontbenchers to abstain during today's vote. The paper says that this measure is the biggest remaining element of Gordon Brown's expenses reform package.

What is interesting about this of course is what it says about the Tories. Cameron has already had to back down on plans to make his Shadow Cabinet give up outside work. His plan to get his team to vote to refer the issue to Sir Christopher Kelly's Committee on Standards in Public Life is an interesting ploy but it is contrary to the spirit of a free vote and in reality the main motive appears to be to buy him six months to avoid another mutiny amongst his own team.

If he plays it correctly this could be just what the Prime Minister needs to salvage something from this mess.
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