Gordon Brown vows to show that British MPs are “worthy of public trust” as UK law-makers debate new measures to address high-level abuse of public expense accounts. Wednesday, Brown announced that all MPs’ receipts from the last four years will be individually reviewed.
Brown promised that MPs will have to re-pay any claims deemed to have more to do with personal finances than government business. This decision comes on the heels of media reports on MPs’ lavish lifestyle spending — repairs to a private tennis court, for instance — all paid via the public bill. Cross-party negotiations on next steps continue, but it seems that Britain’s political parties are falling over one another in the race to produce both the most transparent standards and the cleanest public officials. Score one for the free press.
— Norah Mallaney
What is it about so many politicians, regardless of the jurisdiction, that they develop an entitlement mentality? In the British case – “the rules allowed for my reimbursement claim” – not “is it the right thing to be seeking this payment?”
It will be interesting to see whether MPs will be held to account in terms of the House of Commons code of conduct re “selflessness, integrity, … accountability and openness” and the specific requirement that “the administrative rules which apply to such payments and allowances must be strictly observed.”