Parliament must be saved from itself

A magisterial verdict on the MPs’ expenses scandal is delivered from leading political scientist Vernon Bogdanor ( who it so happens, was David Cameron’s politics tutor but is not parti pris). Mr Brown, “is not to blame for the greed – the person responsible for filling more boots than Imelda Marcos is Margaret Thatcher”, says a former MP with a long memory.

The cost of furniture, gardening, swimming pools and horse manure should be paid by MPs from their salaries. This would mean, until Sir Christopher Kelly reports, a fall in the standard of living of many MPs.

Whatever the precise mechanism, it is essential that members of the public are now involved in the determination of MPs’ pay and allowances. Only through radical reform will we be able to ensure that our political system does not undergo the degradation that destroyed the Fourth Republic in France in 1958. Britain, it was once said, can never be ruined but by her Parliament. It is now for the public to play their part in saving Parliament from itself
It is now for MPs to decide it is time for Speaker Martin to be handed a revolver and a bottle of whisky..

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