Magazine article Public Finance

MPs Must Drop Gesture Politics to Restore Trust, Says Graham

Magazine article Public Finance

MPs Must Drop Gesture Politics to Restore Trust, Says Graham

Article excerpt

Gesture politics from the major parties is preventing MPs from restoring public trust over their expenses, a former standards watchdog chair has said.

Sir Alistair Graham, who led the Committee on Standards In Public Life until 2007, criticised Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron for jostling for the moral high ground instead of working together on a short-term package to deal with the scandal.

The committee, now chaired by Sir Christopher Kelly, is due to report on the vexed question of MPs' expenses and allowances in July.

Graham told Public Finance: 'It's just a pity that, on what is essentially a cross-party issue, the party leaders can't devise a common agenda. Given that this is a real nadir in political life in this country, it might have been a new opportunity to create a different kind of politics.

'We're into slightly partisan gesture politics, to try to get on to the high moral ground or just as pure political damage limitation.'

However, Graham said that Kelly's forthcoming review would not be undermined by the apparently ad-hoc announcements from the government and opposition. …

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