David Cameron’s basic point is that this is a “significant and very welcome U-turn” by Gordon Brown, since he had already made a number of these proposals and sought a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss them – but he had previously been rebuffed by Brown on the grounds that the Committee on Standards in Public Life was conducting its review.
“Nevertheless, there are some real issues and problems with a daily allowance. However, I agree that something has to be done without delay and so will discuss it with the Prime Minister.
“At the meeting, I will also be pushing for further reforms. These include the abolition of the communications allowance, a reduction in the number of MPs and a clear commitment to a reduction in the overall cost of politics.”
As Mr Cameron said in his statement above, he has concerns about the notion of a per day allowance, but has said elsewhere that Parliament has “got to replace the status quo” and that he will discuss anything that could be an improvement on the status quo.
Incidentally, it has not gone unnoticed around Westminster that apart from a few infamous Labour examples, such as Labour’s Ann Keen in Brentford and Isleworth, the vast majority of MPs in Outer London and the constituencies in the South East – who will lose out as a result of making those with seats “within travelling distance” of Westminster ineligible for the daily allowance – are Conservatives. Do not underestimate the political calculations which Gordon Brown has taken on this.