MPs' Expenses: The Green Party view
The Green Party wants a thorough investigation to ascertain the full details of what has gone wrong, and in exactly what ways, so that the issue can be completely addressed. But our immediate proposals would be:
· MPs should not be allowed to make up the rules that govern their own expenses and communication. There should be an independent commission empowered to oversee and regulate.
· There should be comparison with civil servants in how these matters are handled.
· It should be a criminal offence to knowingly overclaim - just as it is a criminal offence to knowingly overclaim benefits.
· Accommodation: MPs should have their main home in or near their constituency. When MPs who don't live in London need to stay in London, the following criteria should be applied:
They should be paid a flat-rate overnight allowance.
The allowance would pay for hotel accommodation, but could instead be used for rent. (While many MPs have behaved outrageously, it's unreasonable to ask a good MP to live out of a suitcase).
The allowance should only be paid for the nights that the MP needs to be in the capital.
As a possible alternative to the above, we would ask the Kelly committee to consider the possibility of providing MPs who live outside London with apartments in London.