Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Michael Connarty We Know What You Did Last Summer

Last summer as pointed out by Mark Pack at Lib Dem Voice there actually was a vote to bring reforms to MP's expenses. Many Labour and Conservative members voting for an amendment that rejected the following changes to the system.

Recommendation 1 was for a "robust new system of practice assurance involving regular financial health checks on records kept and processes used in Members' offices with outside professional teams covering about 25% of Members each year". This was substituted by a "rigorous internal system of audit".

Recommendation 2 would have extended "the scope of the audit engagement so that it is the same as for other public bodies."

Recommendation 3 would have reduced the receipt threshold from £25 to zero so that all claims, however small, would have had to be backed by receipts.

Recommendation 4 was for the Green Book (setting out the rules on allowances for Members) to be revised to specify more detailed rules.

Recommendation 6 was for MPs to no longer be able to claim reimbursement for furniture and household goods or for capital improvements.

Recommendation 7 was that MPs representing constituencies in outer London should be eligible to claim half of any overnight expenses allowance.

Recommendation 13 was for the Additional Costs Allowance to comprise of a £19,600 maximum budget for accommodation (excluding furniture, household goods and capital improvements) but operating on the basis of itemised reimbursement and a flat rate of £30 for daily subsistence.

There those voting aye here were actually voting no to all of the above, such is the difficulty in deciphering some Westminster votes to members of the public. Amongst those who voted against all of the above in the 2nd highest claiming MP Michael Connarty. He has a lot to answer to.

Why has he blocked these reforms?

Why are his claims consistently amongst the highest in Parliament (£183,466 last year rank 2nd most expensive MP)? And significantly higher than neighbouring MPs? With the exception of some notable Labour colleagues especially Eric Joyce.

Why has he yet to publish an itemised list of his expenses? Which are being blocked even following Freedom of Information requests.

He has also as has been reported earlier found the 'ridiculous and tiresome' to fill in his claims for FOI purposes. Why? Does he still feel the same today? If so is it time for him to go?

So as in the title of the film we know what you did last summer, but we want to know what you're going to do in the future. Michael has been largely quiet on the whole expenses issue in recent days.

UPDATE: Connarty has told the press that he will not be self publishing his own expenses before they are disclosed through Parliament.

1 comment:

  1. You're likely to have had a fair amount of traffic for this posting, Stephen, as I just clicked on to it on a link from the CNN website discussing the Michael Martin resignation