Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Brown U-Turn On MP Expenses

The other day I picked up on what was written in the blogosphere online about the MPs expenses scandal. Thanks to Mick Fealty I found out about the MySociety campaign through theyworkforyou.com to try and force MPs to vote against the proposals (and against decent standards of Democratic process). I also read on Douglas Carswell MP blog that he was going to publish details of his expenses, inspired by a pledge from Ben Wallace MP.

Last night I was having a flick through the blogs and I saw on Doug Carswells Blog that he had top slot at PMQ's today, and that he was looking for suggestions for questions... seemed simple really - ask about the expenses, and see if he can get Gordon Brown to make a similar pledge. So, this was what I suggested, (twice actually, as my post last night was not visible on his blog this morning, so I posted it again today).

I have not seen the footage yet, I will be looking for it when I get home.

Anyway, The Times is already reporting that Gordon Brown is to perform a U-Turn after having been asked the question by Doug Carswell MP. You can read the Time Report here.

Here is a snippet: Mr Brown made the announcement in response to a question from Douglas Carswell, the Tory MP, who asked why he was whipping he MPs to pass the matter.

The change is a victory for the opposition parties and for the huge grassroots campaign by groups such as mySociety and Unlock Democracy. The Tories announced yesterday they were opposing the measure, while Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat, has led the case for the opposition.


I am pretty sure that Mr Carswell would have had this thought on his own, he is after all one of the smarter of the MPs we have in Westminster, but I am grateful that he did ask on this particular matter. I am more grateful really that such a counter-productive law will not be passed.

Unfortunately, despite the apparent u-turn we can be sure that this will be slipped back in as soon as the Government thinks no one is looking, or when outrage is so high against them, this will pale in comparison to whatever cock up we are lambasting them for.

My final thought is this, Doug Carswell knew in advance that he was to get the lead question, I understand that the Speaker sets out who is to get that particular privilege each week. I am sure it will not have escaped the Speakers attention that Doug Carswell had pledged to publish his expenses on the Internet. I wonder if the Speaker wanted Doug Carswell to ask that particular Question? Perhaps Mr Speaker wishes avoid himself being cast in yet another embarassing expenses story?

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