Gareth Lyon: By professionalising councillors, we are repeating Parliament’s mistake at a local level | Conservative Home


The last century has seen a well-intentioned, but largely self-defeating, attempt to improve the honesty, responsiveness, and accountability of our political system by spending more on it. Instead, we have seen the rise of an increasingly well insulated professional political class, the hollowing out of voluntary parties, and the creation of an institutional ratchet which is dragging political thought to the statist establishment left.

1911 saw the first Parliamentary pay structure introduced in an attempt to curb what were perceived to be unaccountable outside influences on MPs’ political priorities and decision-making. It was also an attempt to widen access to political careers. The second of these reasons, however, does not really stand up as a justification. This reform happened at a time when such access was already widening considerably, largely as a result of the “outside influences” – or independent interests, such as trade unions, cooperative societies and philanthropists. The widening access we have seen over the past century would be likely to have occurred anyway. So, we are left with a system which depends for its legitimacy on the somewhat contentious proposition that the last century has seen a profound and remarkable rise in the honesty and fairmindedness of our Parliament.

The payroll for our MPs, in turn, led to allowances for Peers, MPs’ expenses, and the proliferation of MPs’ staff, and most perniciously of all, Short Money.

Clearly Parliamentarians and their staff must be paid but each extension of the taxpayer’s largesse has helped to establish a career path for the so-called “career politicians” of tabloid ire and a largely unaccountable ecosystem of policy advisors, researchers and party staff insulated from outside influences, contributing to the increasing disconnect between political decision-makers and the wider community. As with any institution, these party machines have developed their own independent interests and agendas.

 

Source: Gareth Lyon: By professionalising councillors, we are repeating Parliament’s mistake at a local level | Conservative Home

Parliamentary watchdog tried to hush news that hundreds of MPs had credit cards suspended | Nye Bevan News


Ex-high court judge rules risk of ‘embarrassing’ MPs no reason to withhold information

They were revealed by a Freedom of Information request which the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority tried to block.

The Telegraph reported last night the watchdog feared the “chilling effect” it could have on its relationship with politicians and claimed it could reduce public confidence in the regulatory system.

But it was over-ruled by a former High Court judge who said the risk of “embarrassing” MPs was no reason to keep the information secret.

It mirrors the initial reluctance of parliamentary authorities to release information on MPs’ expenses 10 years ago, when the scandal was uncovered only when it was leaked to the same newspaper.

The release of the credit card data showed MPs are regularly having their credit cards suspended for failing to provide receipts in a timely fashion or claiming for disallowed items, with 377 MPs sanctioned since 2015.

CLAIRE PERRY, THE ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE MINISTER WHO ATTENDS CABINET, ADMITTED WRONGLY USING HER PARLIAMENTARY CREDIT CARD TO PAY FOR HER AMAZON PRIME SUBSCRIPTION.

Since the 2015 election, 377 MPs have all had their credit cards suspended, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act

 

Source: Parliamentary watchdog tried to hush news that hundreds of MPs had credit cards suspended | Nye Bevan News

MPs are claiming 22 per cent MORE in expenses than they did at the height of 2009 scandal | Daily Mail Online


  • Analysis of figures since the 2009 scandal show expenses continue to rise
  • Some increases have been driven by rising staff wages and fewer internships
  • Richest MP who owns estate where Pippa Middleton married made loo claims
  • Over 10 years 500 MPs have exploited a loophole to get free first-class travel
  • It comes as a Tory MP faces a possible jail sentence for fiddling his expenses 

MPs are claiming one fifth more on their taxpayer-funded expenses than they did at the height of the 2009 expenses scandal which rocked faith in politicians for a generation, it has emerged.

The latest claims signed off by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) include £180 spent by Jeremy Corbyn last March on artwork for a ‘Jeremy Corbyn MP calendar’, and the cost of two replacement toilet seats for the office of Britain’s wealthiest MP, Tory Richard Benyon.

The 2009 furore – which unearthed lurid details of MPs ‘flipping’ their designated second home, and claiming for duck houses and moat cleaning – forced six ministers from office and sent five members of Parliament to jail.

At the nadir of the scandal in February 2010, 389 MPs – more than half the House – were ordered to repay a total of £1.1 million to the Treasury over inappropriate expense claims.

 

Source: MPs are claiming 22 per cent MORE in expenses than they did at the height of 2009 scandal | Daily Mail Online

MPs will enjoy £1,000 pay hike, while average worker endures 10% real term wage drop : RT Question More.


It is one rule for those that make the laws and another for those that do not, where is that in the question of Equality for it should be the other way round. Those with less should gain more than those with more to equate to equality.

If the MPs are to receive a further pay rise then they should forego all their expenses and also their subsidised bar, for what group of employees are entitled to drink at work and with their substantial pay rises they could more afford to pay the full price for their enjoyment.

‘It ceases to be public money when it is paid to me’: Former Welsh Secretary David Jones defends his 10% MP pay rise


Original post from Wales Online

‘…………… RACHEL FLINT

Mr Jones told a reporter who asked about his pay rise: ‘I can do whatever I wanted to do with it… that is no concern of anybody else’

Former Welsh Secretary David Jones warned people in North Wales are 'heavily reliant on services provided in England'
Former Welsh Secretary David Jones warned people in North Wales are ‘heavily reliant on services provided in England’

Former Welsh Secretary David Jones has said he intends to take his 10% MP’s pay rise – claiming it “isn’t public money” once it’s in his bank account.

The Clwyd West MP accused the media of “self righteous indignation” over the independently decided increase which will boost MPs’ wages from £67,060 to £74,000.

Defending the rise to a reporter, Mr Jones asked her what she did with her monthly wage when he was asked if he would be giving the near-£7,000 rise to charity.

How the rise was announced: Outcry as MPs get 10% pay boost while public sector workers have wage increases capped at 1%

‘It’s no concern of anybody else’

The Tory MP said it was no-one’s business other than his and that the money “ceases to be public money the moment it is paid to me”.

MP Mr Jones paid back £81,000 of profit he made on his taxpayer-funded second home after the expenses scandal of 2009.

He said: “My wage is being paid to me and what I do with it afterwards ceases to be public money.

“It ceases to be public money from the moment that it is paid to me.

“And what I do with it, frankly, I can do whatever I wanted to do with it, and that is no concern of anybody else really is it?”

Assembly Members have had a huge pay rise as well: Controversial £10,000 pay rise for AMs given approval

David Jones
David Jones on his firs day in the job as Secretary of State in September 2012

He added: “I do give a lot of money to charity. But frankly, put your heart on your sleeve and say ‘I’m giving the entire lot to charity’ – at that point it actually ceases to become charity doesn’t it?”

The £81,000 Mr Jones paid back after the expenses scandal was the highest single repayment made by any MP.

The pay rise was announced by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) on Thursday, just a week after public sector workers had their wage increases limited to 1% for four years in Chancellor George Osborne’s budget.

It also comes hot on the heels of a 18.5% increase to Assembly Members basic salaries – seeing them earn £64,000 if re-elected next year.

‘MPs can’t win’

Mr Jones added: “It seems to me that MPs can’t actually win, when they are in charge of their own expenses they get pilloried, they are handed over to an independent body and they are still pilloried – and I just don’t understand why.”

The former Welsh Secretary came out with the response when called for a response to the increase, saying he didn’t understand why the press were reacting in such a way.

He said: “The press spent several months at our expense making our lives hell in 2009.

“The issue of MPs pay was quite properly taken out of MPs hands, the independent body has made the award… that is the end of the matter as far as I’m concerned.”

Nine living Welsh Secretaries

Former Welsh Secretaries, from bottom left, Lord Crickhowell; Cheryl Gillan MP; William Hague MP; Stephen Crabb MP; Lord Morris of Aberavon KG; Second row from left, Lord Hunt of Wirral; Peter Hain MP; Paul Murphy MP: David Jones MP
Former Welsh Secretaries, from bottom left, Lord Crickhowell; Cheryl Gillan MP; William Hague MP; Stephen Crabb MP; Lord Morris of Aberavon KG; Second row from left, Lord Hunt of Wirral; Peter Hain MP; Paul Murphy MP: David Jones MP

He said: “I don’t know what you would like [MPs] to do… Would you like us to take control of our own expenses again?”

Other North Wales MPs have said they will donate the rise to charity, in line with a decision by Assembly Members who were recommended to take a rise after a similar independent review.

Susan Elan Jones, Labour MP for Clwyd South, said she had always opposed the rise and had urged her constituents to write in against it.

She added she would be donating any rise to local charities.

‘There are real issues about the proposed rise’

Ms Jones said: “When so many people in the public and private sectors have only low or sometimes no annual rises and our local councils in Wrexham and Denbighshire don’t even pay everyone the living wage, I think there are real issues about the proposed rise.”

But Wrexham Labour MP Ian Lucas said the suggested pay rise was “the right the decision has been taken out of MPs’ hands. It makes no sense to reject its recommendation.”

Delyn MP David Hanson is also at odds with his own party. Welsh Labour told the Daily Post “now is not the right time to increase MPs’ take-home pay”, but Mr Hanson said:

“MPs’ pay is set independently of MPs and Ipsa have had a full consultation on their proposal, the outcome of which I accept.

“The changes are cost neutral and are paid for by reductions elsewhere in MPs’ budgets and allowances.”