Expenses question-marks on eve of Kelly report

By politics.co.uk staff

Confusion over whether the newly-established expenses watchdog will accept Sir Christopher Kelly’s recommendations in full is overshadowing the build-up to his report’s publication.

Since Harriet Harman pointed out over the weekend the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) is tasked with implementing Sir Christopher’s proposals as it sees fit doubt has been cast over whether they will be implemented wholesale, as many MPs have demanded.

“Ipsa will implement the report and edit it as appropriate,” the prime minister’s spokesman said yesterday.

He denied that Gordon Brown would seek to influence the report, despite the prime minister meeting with Sir Christopher yesterday to pressure him to ensure potential MPs would not be ‘priced out’ of standing for parliament.

“It is not for the prime minister to determine how it is implemented,” he added.

Early confirmation of whether Ipsa will accept the findings in full or not appears unlikely. The watchdog has not yet been fully established and its membership is yet to be determined.

The Commons’ Speaker’s committee will ratify appointments. The committee’s makeup could include members of the old estimates committee which attempted to cover up expenses claims.