MPs' Expenses, My Plan for Reform - Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats

April 9, 2009 6:57 PM

The ongoing controversy over the expenses system is having a hugely damaging effect on public confidence in MPs and politics. The behaviour of a small minority of politicians has played a major role in this collapse in confidence, but there has also been a collective failure to agree on a system that is seen as fair and transparent.

In recent years MPs from both the Labour and Conservative parties have voted against proposals made by the Members Estimates Committee to toughen the expenses regime, or have attempted to block Freedom of Information regulation that would see MPs' expenses subjected to public scrutiny.

It is clear that the status quo cannot now continue. That is why we need talks between the three party leaders to create a swift resolution and introduce a set of rules that would enable MPs to do their jobs and enjoy public confidence. It is important that the system is fixed as soon as possible, rather than waiting for a committee to report in five or six months' time.

Such a system should be based on clear principles:

• Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent

• All expenses have to be justified on the basis of enabling MPs to do their job

• Reform should not increase, and should ideally reduce, the total cost of politics to the taxpayer.

Further details of Nick's proposals can be found at:

http://www.nickclegg.com/2009/04/mps-expenses-reform/