After Dave wowed even Brown nosers like Sir Michael White and Steve Richards with his crackdown on Tory grandees and shadow cabinet troughers, Harman wrote to the chairman of the Member’s Allowance Committee proposing that he should set out a procedure whereby MPs might perhaps be asked nicely to repay claims that were outside the rules. Possibly. Not exactly a decisive response from the government.
The Member’s Allowance Committee is chaired by the Labour MP Don Touhig. It was he who led the Labour backbench revolt last July that threw out proposals for a full external audit of MPs’ expenses and an end to the “John Lewis list”. Does that fill you full of confidence?
Harman’s proposal is that if an MP has broken the rules they will have to repay the money. Guido’s view is that only the minimum expenses wholly necessary for the job should be allowable, however the cry of every single troughing MP from every single party is that “it was all within the rules”. So no one will have to pay anything back under Harman’s plan.