Sir Christopher Kelly has this morning announced the terms of reference for the The Committee on Standards in Public Life’s Inquiry into MPs’ Expenses. He says:
The aim of our Inquiry is to reform the system of MPs’ expenses to create a new set of rules which are trusted by the public, and which give MPs the support they need to do their jobs.
There will be public hearings, Guido intends to attend those hearings and make a submission through the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics.*
Over the last five years of investigating MP’s fiddles it is fair to say that Guido has become something of an (unwilling) expert on the system and the abuses of the system by which MPs enrich themselves.
Broadly speaking there are some simple principles which need to underpin any new system. Firstly and most importantly transparency. We need a completely transparent system of financing. The best protection we have against shady behaviour is sunlight.
Secondly we need full accounting. Every single penny must be accounted for, it is public money and the public are entitled to know where it goes. If politicians don’t like it, maybe public life is not for them.
*Full disclosure, Guido financially supports the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics. If you want to intern for the Centre (next month) email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.