Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Still Polls Apart over Expenses; the Issue of MPs' Expenses Is Still Rumbling on. Political Editor WILLIAM GREEN Reports

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Still Polls Apart over Expenses; the Issue of MPs' Expenses Is Still Rumbling on. Political Editor WILLIAM GREEN Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: WILLIAM GREEN

IF POLITICIANS hoped the General Election would put the expenses scandal behind them, they couldn't be more wrong.

But rather than journalists stirring up the pot, it was MPs who let rip in Parliament yesterday after weeks of simmering anger.

The expenses system was overhauled in the wake of last year's headlines about claims for items such as moats, porn films and duck houses.

MPs in the old Parliament backed tougher rules and creating the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) to oversee them.

But claims the system is a shambles boiled over in Parliament yesterday. Some MPs have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket in terms of expenses run up as part of their job and the row has led to a stand-off between MPs and IPSA chairman Sir Ian Kennedy.

Sir Ian has insisted the authority is taking steps to improve operations but warned new rules were "here to stay" and urged them to "demonstrate their responsibility" to make them work.

Sir Ian has also complained staff have suffered aggressive and rude behaviour at the hands of angry MPs.

But dozens of MPs, including several from the North East, yesterday made clear their anger by showing up for a Parliamentary debate about the situation, although they risk a public backlash.

Ben Page, chief executive of polling organisation Ipsos MORI, told the Chronicle: "Fairly or unfairly it smacks of special pleading and does nothing to enhance the reputation of Parliament." Gateshead MP Ian Mearns said IPSA regulations failed to meet the additional cost of setting up an office in his new constituency in the town centre, close to transport links.

Speaking after the debate, the Labour MP confirmed he had been paid from the end of May but was yet to receive a penny for travelling and accommodation bills.

The Labour MP welcomed transparency, but said the expenses system was a bureaucratic nightmare. He said: "I have had to go to them (IPSA) to ask for a loan because they have produced a system to tide MPs over. But I haven't yet received it.

"To put it bluntly, I have got a massive credit card bill coming up but I am concerned I am not going to be able to pay it. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.