The issue of expenses and our Members of Parliament rumble on. As one MP caught in the spotlight resigns another is sure to follow. The system is flawed. What ever the rules say doesn’t seem to matter.
The press want stories and it seems anything to do with expenses is fruitful territory. I took a call yesterday from the Daily Mail, as Cambridge association chairman, asking if I thought a certain MP should resign. Given the only information I have read on the matter has been in the newspapers I didn’t think it was fair or right to comment. Without the facts it is far too easy to be influenced by the press which is often wrong or very selective in what it prints.
Allowing MP’s to pick and choose how they spend public money on themselves is a recipe for perpetual controversy.
Perhaps a lesson can be learnt from the military. When away from home personnel live in a “Mess” . An unfortunate name I know. A Mess is living accommodation, a private bedroom often with ensuite, a bar, dining room, snooker room, staffed kitchen and an active social life.
I am not suggesting MPs should have the full military package but it should be possible to provide public accommodation for those that need it without anyone “earning” out of it. Perhaps buying up or building a number of blocks of flats and kitting them out would in the long run save a lot of revenue money as well as creating an asset that the public purse benefits from.
Disconnecting the need to live in London during the week with making a personal profit from the activity would be a big step forward.
Several government ministers in Germany occupy drawing rooms in their ministries in Berlin. You may approve of the German defence minister von der Leyen, who sleeps on a 7.4 square metre small corridor between her offices and the sanitary facilities. Note, while these politicians declare a taxable benefit in kind (221 Euros per month) the Left party is nevertheless complaining that these ministers don’t use their salaries to rent their own space. [ http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/steuergelder-ministerin-schwesig-spart-sich-berliner-wohnung-a-953774.html ]