» Tuesday, October 13, 2009

MPs’ expenses

Asked what Harriet Harman said at Cabinet about the Legg report, the PMS said that Harriet Harman updated colleagues on the process regarding the letters from Sir Thomas Legg and the eventual publication of his report.

Asked if the Prime Minister was expecting fellow Ministers to follow his lead in paying any money back immediately, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had made clear that he intended to pay back the money; he thought it was right that people repaid any money once they had had a chance to ask any questions. Any other questions regarding the Prime Minister’s position as an MP should be directed towards his political office.

Put that the Prime Minister had written a letter to Ministers urging them to respond promptly to Sir Thomas Legg’s letter and make any repayments and asked if the Prime Minister had any powers to force Ministers to do this, the PMS said that the Prime Minister’s language on this had been clear; although this was not a perfect system it was important that we got through this part of the process as quickly as possible. The important point was that the Prime Minister had written to Ministers and made his feelings on this clear. It was up to Ministers to do the right thing.

Put that the Prime Minister’s letter to Ministers said that they should make any repayments outlined by Sir Thomas Legg, the PMS said that the Prime Minister’s letter spoke for itself.

Asked if the Prime Minister felt any sympathy about the fact that some of the rules had changed with regards to cleaning and gardening, the PMS said that this was not a completely perfect system, but the Prime Minister had been keen to initiate the Legg inquiry because he wanted to draw a line in the sand under what he considered to be an old and discredited system. Going forward, we had a new system, which would be in place once Sir Christopher Kelly had reported and once the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority was up and running.

Asked if the Prime Minister had received any reassurances from Cabinet Ministers that they would comply with Sir Thomas Legg’s requests, the PMS said that he did not comment on any private conversations the Prime Minister had with Cabinet Ministers.

Asked if the leaders of the main parties and the Prime Minister had met to agree a line on the Legg review, the PMS said that it was unlikely that the leaders of the parties would get together to “agree a line”; they had all taken their own view as to how they wished to respond to individual letters from Sir Thomas Legg and any implications for their respective parties.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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