Dishonourable members: no charges for Conway the con-man!

Why oh why am I surprised? I never learn…

The BBC reports that

Pressure is growing for a comprehensive overhaul of MPs’ expenses after police said they could not investigate disgraced MP Derek Conway.

Mr Conway was reprimanded by Commons authorities for paying his student son nearly £40,000 to be a researcher.

Scotland Yard said a “lack of systems” for accounting for MPs’ expenses meant it was ruling out an investigation.

Is this “pressure” real or imagined?

I fear that the papers will move on to Cameron breaking cycling laws.

Let’s remind ourselves of MPs’ expenses:

MPs are allowed to claim expenses of up to £10,000 for a new kitchen, £2,000 for furniture and £750 for a TV or stereo for their second homes.

Other claims allowable include £6,335 for a new bathroom, £299.99 for air conditioning units, £300 per rug, £50 for a shredder and £1,000 for a bed.

The figures are in the so-called “John Lewis list” used by Commons officials to list maximum amounts for items.

Most MPs can claim items from the list up to a maximum of £23,000 a year.

The existence of the list – based on prices at the John Lewis store “because it was highly rated by Which magazine” – came to light during a recent information tribunal.

My advice to parliamentarians:

1) Refuse to take more than an average worker’s wage, donate the excess to charitable causes or your party.

2) Work towards the establishment of an English parliament so that all can enjoy the benefits of devolution.

3) Work towards the next general election being conducted using the single transferable vote method of proportional representation to ensure that MPs have broad support amongst their voters.

4) Ensure the next election isn’t called when it’s convenient for the ruling party: introduce fixed terms.

If these modest reforms are not implemented, expect to see a record low turnout at the next election…

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