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Friday, June 19, 2009

An interesting admission

When the Speaker gave his valedictory address to the House of Commons this week he was adamant that MPs were architects of their own misfortune by failing to support reform when they had the opportunity just under a year ago.

At that time a package put together by Liberal Democrat MP, Nick Harvey was rejected by a majority of 28. The vast majority of MPs – 146 of the 172 – who voted to keep the allowance, described as the “John Lewis list”, were Labour, including 33 ministers.

It was widely reported at that time that opposition to reforms was led by Don Touhig, a former minister, and driven through by Labour backbenchers. A comment in tonight's South Wales Evening Post by Gower MP, Martin Caton (whose name I cannot find in the list of those who voted on the key amendment) says that "I have gone against the party whips and called for greater transparency with MPs' expenses."

So what exactly has been the role of Labour Party whips in maintaining this appalling system of expenses and has the Prime Minister been aware of their activities? Surely, we should be told.
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