Monday 11 May 2009
Today, Not The Barnet Times launches its campaign known as GROT - Get Rid Of Troughers.
The revelation that our elected representatives have been gorging themselves in the public trough whilst hundreds of thousands of families are struggling just to keep their heads above water, has united the country in its contempt for the political classes.
Such contempt is damaging for the reputation of the country and must be addressed once and for all.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown promises that the rules on expenses will be changed, but for as long as politicians set and police their own rules, the suspicion will remain that MPs will simply find loopholes in order to keep on troughing.
David Cameron says that MPs should apologise. That doesn’t go far enough. The only way for public confidence in the political system to be restored is for all guilty troughers to repay the money they have robbed from taxpayers.
Although some MPs expense details have now been leaked to the Daily Telegraph, the majority will not be released until July. All of these expenses must be examined in detail and where ‘Honourable’ Members are unable to justify their claims, they should repay the sums involved with interest.
If MPs refuse to co-operate, the public should impose the ultimate sanction - expulsion from Parliament at the next election.
G.R.O.T. calls for an immediate end to the Second Homes Allowance, to be replaced by a hotel voucher system for MPs representing constituencies more than 60 miles from Westminster.
We also call for Stamp Duty avoided on second homes to be refunded to the taxpayer.
In the coming months, we will discuss the practicality of a co-ordinated Martin Bell-esque campaign to remove the worst offenders from office. In the mean time, Members of Parliament should be under no illusion that they are troughing in the last chance saloon.