Can a film make a difference?

On Saturday Gordon Brown said he had to deal with more important issues than MPs’ expenses.

This morning expenses are a top priority and he announced an expenses overhaul within the week.

Could it be that a certain Dispatches broadcast Sunday evening had anything to do with this? Surely not?

The promised changes include:

  • Full receipts for ALL claims- GREAT
  • Getting rid of second home claims for those living within commuting distance of London. SENSIBLE
    No allowance for those MPs living in grace-and-favour accommodation. – ABOUT TIME!
  • Scrap second home allowance and introduce daily attendance rate – BAD. The whole point must be transparency. A daily attendance rate doesn’t give that. An MP could still buy an IPOD on expenses. The point isn’t that voters balk at paying for legitimately claimed expenses, it’s the illegitimate claims that rankle. The only way to ensure the propriety of claims is to have a transparent system.
  • Transparency of MPs’ Second Incomes – GOOD but the reporting limit for items that must be declared in the Register of Members’ Interests must be lowered from £650 to something closer to £50.
  • MPs’ staff to become direct employees of the House of Commons. GOOD IN PART. But we still aren’t told the names and salaries of MPs staff which is the only way to know if someone claiming a salary is actually doing the work commensurate with that payment.

4 Responses to “Can a film make a difference?”

  1. cj says:


    Despatches was great – but sadly MPs don’t do shame. This is cynical in so many ways;
    timing – smacks of opportunism – especially after dissing Clegg and Cameron’s offer to meet only two weeks ago
    content – he is swaping beef gravy for chicken gravy and making it easier to claim
    hidden agenda – they will try and scrap publication of expenses in July as some sort of trade off – I have no doubt about it

    What about all of the fraud in the past – do we just have to let it go?

    On a seperate tack – the video was absolutely awful – he looked like a Les Dawson character I think he was called Cosmo Smallpiece – you may not know him but the name says it all. – and why announce it on You Tube – what’s that all about?

    Keep up the good work – you have a lot of support out here.

  2. Mike Law says:

    My understanding is that the “daily allowance” will be something in the region of £170.00 per day. If a session covers 150 days, that an extra £25,500 that a MP can trouser for doing what? Just turning up for work!

    Where’s the application form, I want to sign up.

  3. James Ball says:

    On the upside, though Mike, they can only claim that attendance allowance if their constituency is genuinely outside reasonable travelling distance from Westminster – they will at least tighten up that criterion.

  4. John Page says:

    Giving them an attendance allowance just for turning up at the office is barking. And meaningless without numbers.

    Peter Oborne in this morning’s Mail skewers Brown’s hypocritical record on expenses policy.

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