One of the joys of having a blog is that sometimes I can have an idea and just put it out there to see what people think.
Today, I have mostly been thinking about new legislation...
How about getting a law proposed that says that any MP who has fraudulently or inappropriately claimed for expenses, [such as garden furniture or dog food] must pay back the money within 30 days. We can hold a public forum which can decide what the people consider to be justified and what is considered excessive... This list could then be used as a template for a future expenses system.
The legislation could go onto, [ahem], "Nationalise" the assets purchased by MP's through their expense claims, so as to ensure that these ill-gotten property portfolios which have been funded from public funds can be either sold and funds returned to the public purse or immediately made available as council housing.
An immediate audit would be required, and powers to seize assets pending investigation. A specific list of acceptable expenses moving forwards will be made public, with the requirement of ALL receipts to be published via the Internet. Any expense above £100 must be approved bythe fees office, in advance of expenditure to be eligible for a refund.
In the meantime, all MP's who require a permanent second house in the vicinity of Parliament shall be added to the Westminster council housing list, and those who require occasional accommodation shall be advised on local, reasonably priced hotels.
And of course, any MP suspected to have committed fraud shall have their receipts and financial details scrutinised by the Fraud Office or SOCA, depending on the circumstances of the evidence.
Should 5% of the sitting 646 MP's have their cases referred for criminal investigation, the legislation will require the Prime Minister to immediately dissolve Parliament and call for a General Election.
I am open to suggestions and amendments - and even more open should any MP wish to actually raise this in the house.