Ottaway on MPs expenses
Richard Ottaway, Conservative MP for Croydon South, has set out his thoughts on the serious issue of MP’s expenses which has been dominating the news in the past few weeks.
“In the past few weeks there has been widespread and justified concern expressed over the system of parliamentary allowances and expenses.
“I profoundly regret my part as an MP in allowing an indefensible system of allowances to develop which does not command public support and for this I apologise to my constituents. I share the view that MPs should act honestly and decently and expect to live by the same rules and standards as those they wish to represent. No MP is above the law. Full details of my allowances will be published shortly.
“I believe that I have claimed everything legitimately but I readily acknowledge that the current system is a shambles. What is needed is total transparency and a process that everyone can have confidence in. The Committee on Standards in Public Life are currently reviewing the system and they are expected to report before the end of the year with their proposals.
“However, I intend to act immediately rather than wait until the new recommendations are published.
I have already taken the following steps:
• Referred all past claims for the last 4 years to the Conservative Party Scrutiny Committee who will assess their reasonableness
• I will make no further claims on the discredited Additional Costs Allowance covering the costs of a second home until the Committee on Standards on Public Life publishes its proposals
• In the spirit of transparency, I will publish all future claims for reimbursement of travel and incidental expenses, which I submit to the Fees Office, in real time as I claim them, online.
“Together with the other fundamental changes to the approach to expenses that Conservative Members endorse and undertake to implement, which David Cameron has announced, I believe that we are taking some significant early steps towards putting things right and beginning the humbling task of restoring the public’s trust in our democracy.
“I believe these measures demonstrate an appreciation of the seriousness of the situation and a strong desire to clean up the system. I expect more wide-ranging reform when Sir Christopher Kelly publishes the findings of review later this year.”