Monday, 24 August 2009


There are times when you wonder what particular planet some people live on or at least wonder where they have been for the last few months. The latest news that a senior Conservative MP, Sir Patrick Cormack, has threatened to reignite the row over MPs' expenses with a call for their pay to be doubled – may be proof that Planet Tory is a truly strange place.

The call for MP’s to receive the massive increase in salary, from £64,766 to more than £130,000, in return for scrapping the controversial second homes allowance, which has been made in a submission to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which is conducting an inquiry into the allowances system may shock some people who life outside the Westminster village.

The fact that this suggestion was made because it was the best way to restore public confidence in Parliament – should shock everyone else. In fairness to Sir Patrick he did say that he accepted that the time was not right for such a big pay rise and he had urged the committee to consider a number of alternative recommendations.

Yet another old Tory, Douglas Hogg, whose expenses submission included the cost of clearing the moat at his country home, has also called for MPs to be given a six-figure salary - plus expenses. His justification was that the current MP's salary was "so low in absolute and relative terms" that members of the professional and business classes would be deterred from entering Parliament.

You really have to wonder, especially about the significant silence from the Tory front benches…

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