At the risk of being pelted with bricks, metaphorically I hope, my sympathies have swung back towards MPs. I’m not alone. After they’ve rubbed MPs’ noses in it so thoroughly, much of the press are starting to clean them up again. The Indy details the anomalies that will create two classes of MP by taking five years to phase out the present system, one class, those standing again, the other, the new boys and girls. In an open invitation for MPs to rebel towards the end of a parliament, MPs who stand down voluntarily will be denied their substantial severance pay but those who are deselected or defeated will continue to qualify. Rental costs will often be more expensive than mortgages why not let them use their rental allowance to repay interest only mortgages but claw back all the profit on sale? MPs humiliation was complete by what Mike White quotes as a coup by the unelected political class, like Legge and Kelly, mandarins who earn far more than they do. On the face of it, theyre going to have to bite the bullet. What they really think was revealed by the jeers greeting the Speakers announcement that the chair of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority would receive a cool 100k p.a. for three days work a week. Labours rogue elephant Charles Clarke puts the principled case against Kelly. The latest tactics to undermine his report are quite clever. Drink Kellys bitter cup now, but go for sweeteners slowly, over the coming years. MPs pay and expenses will stay sensitive forever.
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