The head of the Parliamentary Standards and Privileges Committee, Tory MP David Curry, has resigned prior to the commencement of a formal enquiry into his expenses claims. The Parliamentary Standards and Privileges Committee is the body that polices the expenses of MPs. Mr Curry is thought to have claimed some Â£28,000 for a second home he has not used for most of the time. It apparently came about as a result of a temporary failure of his marriage, where he moved in to the property for a short while. But he kept the claims up.
There is a lot of debate about the status of the homes and his use of a ‘more convenient’ Travelodge.
Mr Curry has stated that he will be standing down after 23 years as an MP, three of them as a member of the Standards and Privileges Committee at the end of this term. So it does seem to be a bit of a paper exercise as there’s no guarantee any money will ever be paid back.
This case looks to be a bit complex when you look into it, which is a good reason for the acceptance of the Kelly proposals to simplify the system and make it so much more transparent.
MPs were given almost a blank cheque and possibly encouraged by the system and peer pressure to pay themselves what they saw as their worth. David Curry may see himself as a bit of a victim of this, but at the end of the day he was in one of the few positions where the holder should have identified the moral and political dangers involved. Standing down as the head of the committee is the right thing to do, so would paying the money back.