Well, this is a surprise isn't it? MPs getting all hot under the collar and in a lather because they have to subject themselves to independent regulation over what they can and cannot legitimately claim.
Tory MP Roger Gale says that the chairman of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) should consider resigning, LibDem Bob Russell brands IPSA as the worst organisation he has dealt with and Labour MP David Winnick said that MP's patience had " … reached such a state that inevitably there will be changes."
Roger Gale even told Radio 4's Today programme that "What we have put in place does not work and those responsible have got to be replaced". Newsflash for you Mr Gale – if MPs had not been found wanting then this would not be an issue! Don't blame other people for your fellow MPs shortcomings! And don't blame us, the people who pay these expenses, for wanting it accounted for as a consequence.
But at least there's one consolation in all of this, that the three main parties are agreed that the padlock must come off the expenses trough!
IPSA has only recently been established and it needs to get bedded in to address the almost institutionalised feeling amongst MPs that they are above such mundane things as proving what they spend our money on and having others decide what is and is not legitimate.
Now that IPSA is to consult the public on what they consider as fair you can almost taste the panic amongst some MPS. What if the public insist on MPs only being able to claim for what any other person is reasonably allowed to claim from their employer? You know like policemen, nurses and servicemen etc.
The MPs over the last few months have been strident in their condemnation of IPSA and made it personal by saying certain people should resign. Now it's the public's turn.
You've now got about six weeks to make your views known. For more information please visit the IPSA site.
IPSA conducted a poll in Nov 2010 with some interesting results that may show the direction the public wishes the MPs expenses to take. Just look at the response as to whether those asked (2599) thought that MPs' second homes should have space for their children:
Yes, (up to 5 years old) – 5%
Yes, (up to 16) – 14%
Yes, (up to 18) – 8%
Tes, (any age) – 2%
Not at all – 65%
Don't know – 7%
(Yes, before you tell me, I know that's 101% on total! But that came direct from the IPSA survey, maybe they have trouble counting and that's the issue that MPs have with them? – But they made it up with the question above it where the total was 99%.)