03 June 2009

No signs of urgency

One might argue that some of our MPs appear to be corrupt; some may simply be greedy. But they would also appear to be spectacularly incompetent. The Times reports:
The official release of MPs’ expenses could be delayed until the last day of June because of a stand-off between MPs and House of Commons officials.
MPs on the committee that oversees the running of Parliament are desperate to end the drip-drip release of expenses data by publishing it in a redacted form on the internet.
Others, though, are arguing with the Parliamentary Fees Office over what should be redacted, suggesting that they are trying to prevent publication of some entries which could seen as embarrassing.

How long have they been talking about this? How much longer do they need? Would anything ever have happened if The Telegraph had not published what it has?

Even worse:
... it emerged that the external body promised by Gordon Brown to go through every MP’s claims will not be created until January at the earliest. It will be voted through Parliament in the autumn.

So until some time after next January, there will be no authoritative examination of MPs' expenses claims. (I do not regard either the Labour Party's star chamber or the Tory equivalent as being remotely comparable to an independent, qualified assessor; indeed, in the absence of an independent qualified assessment, it is difficult to see how these party bodies can reach reliable conclusions.)

A conspiracy to delay matters? More likely, it reflects a spectacular lack of awareness that, outside the Westminster bubble, the whole issue is viewed with rather more seriousness.

No comments: