Kelly’s expenses reforms published – and accepted
By politics.co.uk staff
Sir Christopher Kelly’s long-awaited review of expenses was published earlier today – and immediately accepted in full by party leaders.
Mortgage interest payments are to be scrapped. MPs will be banned from sitting both in Westminster and devolved legislatures. The communications allowance is to be scrapped.
Resettlement grants will only be given to MPs who are involuntarily leaving. All candidates for parliament will have to declare financial interests before running, but they can maintain second jobs once in parliament.
Sir Christopher’s statements contained many barely concealed barbs at party leaders. News of the report leaked last week immediately after he had briefed them.
His root-and-branch reform of the allowances system for MPs was commissioned at the height of the expenses scandal by Gordon Brown.
Its proposals will be implemented by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Watchdog (Ipsa), which is set to be fully operational by April next year. Today Speaker John Bercow announced that Professor Sir Ian Kennedy had been chosen as chair-designateof the new body, and that he woud be paid no more than £100,00 a year, a figure greeted by outrage and angry laughter in the Commons.
Many of the measures contained in Sir Christopher’s report had already been leaked, such as the ban on MPs’ spouses working for their parliamentary partner.
MPs did not have a say on the reforms, but could give their reaction during prime minister’s question and immediately afterwards, when leader of the House Harriet Harman gave a statement on the Kelly report.
Most comments were positive, and few MPs dared to berate the report, giving parliament’s standing in the wake of the expenses scandal.