Independent chairman warns of “quick fix” changes to MPs’ expenses

The Conservative and Liberal Democrat party leaders have both rejected Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s proposals to reform MPs’ expenses, on the basis that it could prove more generous than the current system and apparently lacks the need for receipts. Meanwhile, launching an inquiry into MPs’ expenses – which is expected to take up to eight months – the chairman of the independent Committee on Standards in Public Life, Sir Christopher Kelly, has warned against “quick fix” changes.

Sir Christopher, whose independent Committee on Standards in Public Life begins its review on Thursday, said an independent inquiry was needed to settle the issue once and for all and that a political deal was not “the right way” to go about it. His committee would take a “cold, hard look” at MPs expenses, public concern over which was the biggest threat to trust in politics since the cash-for-questions scandal of the 1990s. While the government is not obliged to accept his committee’s findings, he said he believed it was in the interest of all political parties to agree to endorse his recommendations – due to be published before the end of the year.

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