Friday, June 05, 2009

Standards In Public Life

Today is the closing date for written submissions to the Inquiry into MPs' Expenses which is being undertaken by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

I posted my own submission to them on 2nd June, having posted a pre-copy to 10 Downing Street on 31 May. My submission is comprehensive and totals 2,222 words. It should eventually be placed by the Standards Committee on their web-site here.

In a separate email I have asked for evidence I gave to their Committee back in 1995 to be appended to my current submission for it contains certain points which are relevant to their current inquiry. This earlier evidence appears on pages 66 to 70 in Volume 2 of the Committee's very first report (Cm 2850-II). Unfortunately, there seems to be no access to my earlier evidence on the internet and I had myself to copy it from a volume held in the library at Sheffield University. This is an extra reason for my asking the Standards Committee to append it to my current submission.

It seemed to me to be clear that what has been needed ever since the expenses crisis broke, is that a system has to be put in place which provides essential services which are needed for MPs to act fully and properly on behalf of their constituents (and for the nation) yet is under strict control so that it can never again be abused.

Instead we have had a whole host of moves which have been entirely irrelevant to what is the essential and prior need. These nonsenses have included the removal of the Speaker, attempts to remove the Prime Minister, calls for a General Election, proposals for changes in our constitutional arrangements, a persistent and irresponsible media hype and (worst of all) a likely boost for political extremism.

Let us first get on with what is the immediate need, which the Standard's Committee will hopefully help us to apply our (and our MPs) minds to. (Update 7.30 pm - it needs, however, to be recognised that by 19 May or so, 20 MPs' had made their own submissions to the Inquiry.)

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