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Today Mark Thomas, political activist, commentator, performer, writer and comedian has instructed his lawyers, Leigh Day & Co to write to the Speaker of the House of Commons threatening legal action unless a full transparent review is urgently ordered into the scandal of MPs expenses.
Mr Thomas has been advised that the approach peddled by MPs in the press that their unreasonable expenses are within the rules is not correct. In fact, the current scandal has been largely caused by attempts by many MPs to stretch the rules far beyond their ordinary meaning and an unwillingness by the House of Commons Department of Finance and Administration officials to rein them in.
The letter requires Speaker Martin, as Chair of the House of Commons Commission to take urgent steps to commence a review of the Department’s actions in dealing with MPs’ applications for expenses. The following steps are set down as the bare minimum requirements:
* To obtain and publish independent authoritative legal advice & guidance on the meaning of the MPs’ expenses rules, to be consistent with other guidance applicable to the public where similar words are used
* To appoint independent accountants to audit all claims by MPs in the current parliament against the legal advice and guidance obtained
* To consider auditing all claims by MPs back to May 1997, applying consistent principles which would be applied in cases of false/excessive claims against other public authorities or the HMRC
* To explain publicly what sums have been wrongly paid out to members and to set out proposals for recoupment where overpayments have been made, such recoupment to be no more favourable to MPs than the system for recovery of benefits overpayments or income tax underpayments
* To report possibly fraudulent claims to the Metropolitan Police fraud squad for investigation.
The Speaker has been given 14 days to respond, failing which Judicial Review proceedings may follow.
Originally posted by Freeborn
It would be good if we could charge every single politician named and shamed with corruption and fraud.
Unfortunately they have broke no laws whatsoever.
Is this surprising when MP's set the rules on their own expense claims and monitor these claims themselves.
This has been going on for years.
Originally posted by Kram09
I was watching BBC News yesterday and at the end of the report, the reporter mentioned how when Parliament burned down in 1834, crowds gathered on the side of the Thames and cheered.
Originally posted by detachedindividual
The one thing I fear from all of this is that the BNP might gain some power from it. That is a real risk and is now being discussed. If otherwise sensible people choose not to vote, there is a real risk that the BNP could gain from it.