MP Expenses System - a national disgrace.

May 17, 2009 10:28 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 to toughen the expenses regime, or have attempted to block Freedom of Information regulation that would see MPs' expenses subjected to public scrutiny.

Nick Clegg, leader of The Liberal Democrats has called for urgent reform and a new system of expenses that would be based on the following 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

Most importantly of all, MPs must be stopped from making hundreds of thousands of pounds buying and selling properties funded by the taxpayer.