MPs exploited expenses “for personal gain”

RINF NEWS

MPs are again under fire, this time from Sir Christopher Kelly, the head of an inquiry into Commons expenses.

Opening the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s first evidence session, Sir Christopher Kelly stated: “These values are timeless. If they had been followed more by more MPs over the past few years we would not be in the situation that we are.”

He also said the expenses system had been “exploited for personal gain”.

More revelations came today as the Esher and Walton MP, Ian Taylor, is the latest politician to step down following heavy criticism.

Taylor insists the recent scandal is not the sole reason for his resignation.

“There has been some criticism of me recently for my failure to ‘commute’ rather than on the substance of whether I hold views or take actions on key matters on behalf of constituents”, he said. 

“We need to be more open and transparent to rebuild trust, as well as explaining better the duties of Parliamentarians.”

He continued: “I fear that the rise of the professional MP will further undermine the quality of parliamentary debate and certainly be counter-productive if we are looking for free-thinking candidates.”

Another MP, communities minister Shahid Malik, is undergoing futher investigation  following a complaint about the use of his expenses allowances, according to the commissioner’s office.

Shahid Malik had stepped down while Sir Philip Mawer, Gordon Brown’s adviser on the ministerial code, examined his housing arrangements.

The report stated that Mr Malik was unable to provide rental agreements or receipts to support his claims.