» Wednesday, January 21, 2009

MPs’ expenses

Asked repeatedly about the Government s position on MPs expenses, the PMS said that the Government was here to facilitate the will of the House. It was up to the political parties in the House to resolve this issue and find a solution.

As Harriet Harman had been saying, the Government had the understanding that there was a consensus. However, the Government currently understood that there was no longer any such consensus. On that basis we would not be tabling a statutory instrument tomorrow. To clarify, the reason we tabled the statutory instrument was on the understanding that there was sufficient cross-party support for this.

The Prime Minister s expenses were already published in full and he supported greater transparency in MPs expenses, which was why he was personally supportive, as an MP, of the proposals, and why he was perfectly relaxed about all his expenses being in the public domain.

Asked what this looked like to the public, the PMS said that the package that we had put on the table represented a significant enhancement in the transparency of MPs expenses. However, these were issues for the House to resolve. If the Government needed to change legislation in order to reflect the will of the House then that was something we would be prepared to do. We would only operate on the basis of there being sufficient support in the House of Commons for whatever the final position turned out to be.

Put that this was an embarrassing u-turn by the Government, the PMS said that the Government had taken a consistent position on this; we promoted further transparency but it was for the House to resolve these matters.

original source.

Briefing took place at 16:45 | Search for related news

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