A guide to members allowances

A guide to Members allowances

A guide to Members allowances

The current Green Book, A guide to members allowances, entitles MPs to receive a daily un-receipted allowance of £25 a day as a ‘subsistence’ allowance.

MPs will just have to state how many nights they have spent away from their main home ‘on parliamentary business’ to receive the flat-rate sum.

The new rules emerged under the watch of John Bercow, the new Speaker, who promised to reform the system. The new rules, were not discussed in open, rather by the secretive Members Estimate Committee, (minutes of meeting 21st May 2009) which is chaired by Bercow and made up of MPs, including Harriet Harman, Alan Duncan, her Conservative shadow, Sir Stuart Bell, a Labour MP, David Maclean, a Tory MP, and Nick Harvey, a Liberal Democrat.

Bercow, was exposed as a house flipper, Harman claimed more than £10,000 for a media communications expert in consultancy costs, Duncan felt the need to claim thousands for gardening costs, Bell was a food allowance claimer including having a one month £750 food claim reduced to £400, MacLean renovated a farm house before selling it for £750 000 and Harvey couldn’t always remember to submit his receipts to substantiate claims.

What a great bunch to review expenses.

The volte-face by Harman, who stated earlier in the year that: ‘…There would need to be receipts for all claims. I really do think that that is something sensible which we could decide for ourselves now…’ should come as no surprise.

While Bercow may argue this change was agreed prior to him becoming speaker, that really doesn’t wash, as he had it in his powers, as the newly elected Speaker with a mandate for change, to have had this disgraceful payment to be knocked on its head.

The so called ‘cleansing’ appears to be little more than a splash of water on the face, the dirt behind the ears becomes yet more odious.

It will be interesting to see, which of the MPs now claim this new allowance and how they justify so doing.

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