Members` pay and reimbursements - An opportunity missed

The House of Commons has once again missed an opportunity to thoroughly overhaul Members` pay and reimbursements for expenses says North Thanet’s MP Roger Gale.

The MP, who was himself unable to vote due to absence on a parliamentary armed forces delegation, said on Friday morning:

"We appear, with the backing of the Labour front bench, to have maintained a system of allowances and expenses that is mis-understood, misrepresented and, on occasions, mis-used.  We have at the same time adopted a "hair-shirt" approach to salaries that have, over the past ten years, fallen behind a reasonable basket of comparative professional incomes.

We are now in some danger of not only attracting the inevitable public and press opprobrium but of deterring many good men and women from putting themselves forward as prospective Members of Parliament.

There is the real prospect that the House of Commons will become a domain occupied only by those with private incomes and family business interests on the one hand and by those who regard the work as a job rather than as a vocation on the other.  I do not believe that this is likely to prove to be in the long-term public interests.  Once again short-term expedience has been allowed to take precedence over the longer term advantage of our country. That is a great sadness." 

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