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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The cost of MPs

Here we go again! The Independent and other media report this morning that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which has faced complaints from MPs for its tough new expenses regime, has launched a public consultation about what members are entitled to.

This is despite the fact that Ipsa has barely got underway, that it was set up after an extensive review and that the bureaucracy that has led to so much criticism has started to settle down and staff are learning how to work with MPs rather than against them. Why open up all the old issues again now? Surely we have all had enough of navel-gazing by MPs and want them to concentrate on running the country instead.

My biggest concern about this review is that it has the potential to re-open the expenses controversy and re-ignite public disillusionment with politicians. Surely the obvious thing to do was to follow the Welsh Assembly's example, hand over all the important decisions to an independent body and leave it at that.

Instead, we have to listen to MPs moaning about filling in forms and submitting receipts for expenses, something that happens in nearly every other organisation. Any body can always improve the way they operate but please, make this review short and sharp and then let us hear no more about it.
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