Harman Takes a Softer Line on MPs' Expenses; Deputy Leader Says Sir Thomas Legg's Approach Was 'Arbitrary'

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 16, 2009 | Go to article overview

Harman Takes a Softer Line on MPs' Expenses; Deputy Leader Says Sir Thomas Legg's Approach Was 'Arbitrary'


Byline: Tomos Livingstone

MPs told to pay back expenses claims by aWhitehall auditor may not have to do so after all, Leader of the Commons Harriet Harman suggested yesterday.

Dozens of backbenchers are furious that a review by Sir Thomas Legg has imposed new retrospective limits on claims dating back to 2004, even if the expenses were approved by the Commons authorities at the time.

The former Whitehall civil servant has imposed a cap of pounds 2,000 a year for cleaning and pounds 1,000 for gardening at their second homes - leaving some MPs facing pay-back demands running into five figures.

Both Gordon Brown and David Cameron have taken a tough stand, insisting that MPs should pay up and a line should be drawn under the issue.

But Ms Harman, Labour's deputy leader, took a softer line yesterday, and criticised Sir Thomas' approach.

She told MPs it would be "arbitrary" to apply different rules and standards than those which applied at the time.

"There is a three-week period in which members can respond to Sir Thomas," said Ms Harman.

"If they think there is an inaccuracy in his proposal or they think he is not judging them by the rules and standards that obtained at the time, no doubt they will point that out.

"Obviously we have to judge things by the rules and standards that obtained at the time. To do anything else would be arbitrary."

One Labour MP said backbenchers felt "bitterly let down" by Mr Brown's handling of the issue. Claire Curtis-Thomas said Labour MPs were "pretty damning" about the Prime Minister's response to Sir Thomas' audit of expenses, and suggested he may have been "cowed" by the fact that he had personally been found to have overcharged more than pounds 12,000.

Her comments came as it Conservative backbencher David Wilshire announced that he would not seek re-election in the poll expected next spring. The MP for Spelthorne in Surrey had earlier reported himself to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon over allegations he used Commons expenses to pay more than pounds 100,000 of public money into his own company.

And Speaker John Bercow and Mayor of London Boris Johnson became the latest politicians to repay expenses as a result of the Legg audit. Mr Bercow paid back an "accidental over-claim" of pounds 978 for mortgage interest, while Mr Johnson returned pounds 1,266 he claimed for council tax while an MP.

Mr Brown's spokesman denied there was a difference of opinion between the Prime Minister and Ms Harman. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Harman Takes a Softer Line on MPs' Expenses; Deputy Leader Says Sir Thomas Legg's Approach Was 'Arbitrary'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.