Expenses reports: What to look out for


Tomorrow sees the release of three reports concerning expenses. politics.co.uk guides you through the paper trail.

By Ian Dunt

There are three main items to look out for tomorrow. Firstly, Sir Thomas Legg's report into the MPs who abused the expenses system and how much they must repay. Secondly, Sir Ian Kennedy's judgement on those who appealed against Sir Thomas' decision. And finally, a Commons publication containing full details of events hosted by MPs with groups outside the Palace of Westminster over the last five years.

The Thomas Legg report

MPs had hoped the publication of this report might finally provide the climax of the expenses scandal. Parliamentarians have been desperate for this dark night of the soul to be over, but it just keeps dragging on. Sir Thomas has made it through 646 MPs' expenses, of which about 300 are expected to be found excessive. They will have to be paid back. It will be the first time hundreds of MPs who have been forced to repay allowances will be listed for all the world to see. Those who appealed or were refused will also figure.

Sir Paul Kennedy's judgement

Sir Paul, a former judge given the power to hear appeals from MPs unhappy about Legg's verdict with a report at 10:00 GMT. Expect a fairly sympathetic hearing.

Commons reception records

The final piece of tomorrow's jigsaw is the least commented on but could easily turn into the most damaging. The full record of all the rooms booked out for lunches, dinners and receptions by MPs for outside groups in the Palace of Westminster over the last five years will be published by the Commons.

Parliamentary journalists will be franticly hunting for two things. Firstly, any meeting with a pressure group followed by a U-turn by the MP in question will raise eyebrows. There will be a lot of cross-checking against the list of electoral donations tomorrow. The potential for this document to lead to a stream of future scandals is substantial.

Others will be looking specifically at Cabinet members meeting with unions. Any potential leadership contender who has done the rounds with trade unions will automatically confirm the suspicions of the press pack.


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