David Cameron has accused Brown of a lack of leadership this evening for not attending last night’s defeated vote on the expenses reforms that he wanted to go through.
Meanwhile Nick Clegg has gone a step further and committed to unilaterally introducing
some of the recommendations of the Members Estimates Committee, such as independent
spot checks of MPs expenses and quarterly expenses reports from his "shadow cabinet".
The vast majority of MPs who voted to keep the discredited "John Lewis" status quo were Labour, including thirty-three ministers and Brown’s two parliamentary private secretaries. On the Platform today Mark Field MP called for decisions on these matters to be taken away from MPs:
"It seems to me that most MPs simply fail to understand the level of
public disbelief at the stream of revelations over the extensive
enrichment of parliamentarians courtesy of the allowances and expenses
system. All of this has grown like topsy over the past decade as a
result of parliament’s repeated reluctance to bite the bullet and
increase the MPs’ headline salary.
Indeed even this week the Prime Minster continues to grandstand, by
publicly criticising the proposal from an independent body to raise the
MPs’ headline salary and put a mechanism for independent future review
in place, yet at the same time turn a blind eye to the continued
scandalous abuse of the current system. Instead, a culture of cynicism
has grown up with an understanding that some of the burgeoning
allowances could be siphoned off as the equivalent of salary."