“MPs keep snouts in the trough”

UPDATE. Nigel Dodds “disappointed by MP’s expenses vote”- DUP statement. So why did none of the NI MPs turn up and vote, then? ( see below the fold)

Inevitably, it was the Mail which struck the classic headline. In a sensational Commons move, Gordon Brown suffered another devastating blow when 33 of his ministers voted against a Commons committee recommendation to submit to external audit and cut their allowances by 3k. Amazingly, Brown himself didn’t even turn up for the vote, while the Tories unlike Labour were whipped ( ordered how to vote). There was much snarling and swearing in the corridors, say lobby reporters..

Among the 33 ministers was the Home Secretary! And tucked away is the No lobby was Angela Smith, Brown’s very own principal private secretary! Remember Angela, once a very friendly Northern Ireland minister? No? Ah well..

Stand by for an avalanche of abuse.

No one will now give MPs credit for voting for a below inflation pay rise or heed their objection to external audit when they already submit their claims for inspection.

Instead, attention will be paid to the next issue in line – that at least a quarter of MPs employ relatives. These include members of DUP dynasties, all fully declared of course for Stormont and Westminster.

And what about those Sinn Fein expenses for members who don’t take their seats?
Nigel Dodds’ statement is hardly s substitute for voting.

Commenting after MPs voted against external auditing of their expenses
and other reforms of expenses paid to MPs, North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds
said:

“The decision of the House of Commons to vote against reform in
the expenses paid to MPs is deeply disappointing and sends out
entirely the wrong message to the public. People will simply be
unable to comprehend the logic behind this decision. At a time
when the reputation of Parliament is said to be at a low ebb, this
decision will evoke a predicable public response. I believe the
existing arrangements, in terms of sustaining public confidence,
still need to be reviewed. The DUP tabled an Early Day Motion on
the issue of MPs salaries recently arguing that any rise in MPs pay
should not exceed 1.9%. We believe that people expect openness
and transparency from their representatives. That is what the DUP
believes in”, said the DUP MP.
SYEu

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London