Thursday, February 07, 2008

MPs Insult Our Intelligence

Excellent opinion piece by Dominic Lawson in the Independent from a couple of days ago about the two most recent things to vex me: the Sadiq Khan bugging "incident", and the continuing payola/MP's expenses scandal.

As I may have mentioned previously, the Speaker of the House of Commons has repeatedly stopped increasing transparency of MP's expenses. Whether this is due to him having two grace and favour apartments in Westminster and still claim for his Glasgow house is debatable. Having him choose the MPs who lead the investigation he has been forced to undertake, however, is just idiotic.

Guido Fawkes has - as usual - some rather interesting views on the investigation into MP's expenses. As Guido's blog does move rather quickly, I've copied his points into here;

It beggars belief that as popular disgust with MPs is now near universal they decide to appoint three of their own to investigate themselves. When you find out which three MPs the Speaker has chosen to do the investigating you can only laugh or else you will cry. Guess what the result will be?

Monkey #1, Nick Harvey, a LibDem MP and former spinner for lobbyists Citigate Dewe Rogerson who still keeps his hand in as a consultant to parliamentary lobbyists Trimedia. Clearly the perfect choice to assess the shadowy influence of lobbyists given the tens of thousands he makes from the industry whilst a serving MP.

Monkey #2, David Maclean, the Conservative MP who tried to stop the Freedom of Information Act applying to MPs by using some very shifty parliamentary tactics. This provoked uproar and disgust leading to defeat after a few underhand shenanigans. Just the person to investigate calls for more transparency.

Monkey #3, Sir Stuart Bell, a Labour MP who hired his son Malcolm as a researcher. But unlike Derek Conway's sons, Malcolm definitely used to turn up at Parliament. In fact, it was while working in Portcullis House that Malcolm broke into George Galloway's office, stole his chequebook and made off with £2,000 from Galloway's bank acocunt. Which must have been the first time Galloway was the victim of a fraud. Young Malcolm Bell got 60 days in a young offender's institute. So his father is just the person to look into whether MPs hiring members of their family can lead to fraud.

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