Labour MP for Erith & Thamesmead

Teresa Pearce MP

No more Conways…..

Posted on April 21, 2009 by Teresa Pearce

plugThe news that MPs allowances and expenses are to be overhauled is very welcome. Sadly it may take a long time for public confidence to be restored. That said, however, the proposals are sensible and in keeping with the way other public servants are paid. The key proposals ( which can be read in more detail on the BBC link below) are that:

1) The second home allowance is to be scrapped and replaced by an attendance allowance linked to actual attendance in parliament.  This is very good news as one of the things that had attracted most criticism was that an MP could use the allowance to buy a second home and then also benefit from the capital gain on that property.

2) The items known as the “John Lewis” list ( such as linen, sofas, TVs and even bath plugs!) that have caused so much press interest will no longer be paid.

3) Outer London MPs will no longer be able to claim the accommodation allowance of £23,083 but will have a London supplement added to their salary of around £2,900, thats more than enough for a Zone 1-6 travel card!

4)  MP’s staff will now all be employed directly by the House of Commons with standardised contracts. Not only will this give transparency and security to MP’s staff but it should put a stop to the confusion some MPs seemed to have in deciding if someone was actually a researcher or a nanny!

5)  All items must be receipted even small items under £25.

These measures are welcome and long over due. An MP’s constituents have to pay their own commuting and private expenditure and as our representatives MPs should do the same.

4 to “No more Conways…..”

  1. Richard says:

    About time too! Let’s hope the proposals become a reality. Did I hear somewhwere the proceedings were going to be televised?

  2. Thats true, the Committee on Standards in Public Life will let the cameras in when it takes evidence in June and July.

  3. Olivia Dixon says:

    The trouble is that turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. How will Gordon Brown get this through the House? Very few MPs will vote for it! Olivia

  4. Martyn says:

    I’m not against these ideas, but the root of the problem is that the public should know what is being claimed for (I know we are finding outm but that is despite not because of the rules), and have the right to hold MPs to account if claims are unreasonable. Voters should be able to trigger a byelection if enoug of them sign a petition in a constituency. This power to recall politicians exists in many other countries – including the USA.

    IF MPs know their claims will be public, and they can be held to account for them, these problems will truly be put behind us. I hope you will back both ideas.

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