My take on MPs’ expenses

This isn’t really about expenses. What’s going on has been brewing for a long time — it’s a more general disaffection with the structure of politics in the UK and a belief that politicians just aren’t up to the job of taking important decisions. It was only a matter of time before we found a touchpaper issue to really get things going. I’d focus on making Westminster a better decision making body. It’s going to take a long time for that to happen but there are some things that could be done quite quickly. So here’s what I’d do:

  • Halve the number of MPs — randomise which neighbouring constituencies get merged so there’s no argument about it. Do this before the next election.
  • Pay MPs 50% more.
  • Have no expenses system.
  • Don’t allow external employment. Being an MP should be a full time job.
  • All benefits or gifts received externally should be declared as they are now.
  • Have a mandatory 50% number of women candidates for all parties. If a party is to be represented in Westminster it must put up at least equal numbers of women to men.
  • Give up on the idea of surgeries. MPs need to accept that they are employed to take decisions on national issues. Councils are for local issues.
  • Ban donations of more than £5,000. Political donations should be tax deductible.
  • Parliament should sit around the year, MPs should have normal working hours, holidays and sick pay.
  • All votes should be free votes.

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