Thursday 15 October 2009

Barnet’s MPs all have a Legg to stand on

Sir Thomas Legg, who conducted a review of MPs expenses, has told Barnet’s three Members of Parliament - Andrew Dismore, Theresa Villers and Rudi Viz - that they will not have to repay taxpayers for the money they claimed in respect of their second homes.

Whilst this will undoubtedly come as a relief to the so called ‘honourable’ Members, it will stick in the craw of many constituents. The Green Book which lists MPs allowances states unequivocally that claims are: “only allowable if the spend is wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred on parliamentary duties”.

Quite why it is necessary for an MP living in London to require a second home at taxpayers' expense is a question they have yet to answer adequately. The Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) was intended for MPs representing far flung constituencies - not those which are a mere 45 minutes from Westminster.

The general public, whose tax bills are rising sharply, are justifiably aggrieved to find themselves paying inter alia stamp duty, legal fees, mortgage interest, cleaning and gardening bills on the luxury bijoux residences our MPs seemingly cannot do their job without.

MPs reportedly feel hard done by and bemoan that their claims were “within the rules”. Indeed they were, but these were rules which they themselves made. That something is legal does not, however, make it morally acceptable.

It is quite clear that none of Barnet’s MPs are going to pay us back a single penny of our money, but the very least they could do is apologise.

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