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TI-UK Submission to Committee on Standards in Public Life – Review of MPs’ Expenses

TI(UK) welcomed the 2009 review of MPs’ expenses by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) and the Committee’s decision to receive both written and oral evidence.
 
The political crisis that has been created by the disclosure of irregularities in MPs’ expense claims has grievously undermined the legitimacy of Parliament. Transparency International defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.  Recent opinion polls suggest that the majority of the UK public is finding it increasingly difficult to see UK parliamentarians as a body of honest and trustworthy men and women who act in the public interest, rather than for private gain. Without trust in Parliament, democracy is tarnished and voter apathy encouraged. It is unfortunate that the morally dubious conduct of an alarmingly large number of MPs has cast a shadow, unfairly, over the majority of MPs who are honest and dedicated to serving their constituents and Parliament.  
 
TI(UK) believes that rebuilding public trust can only be done if politicians are beyond reproach and live up to the Nolan Principles of Public Life: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership. If parliamentarians are to have legitimacy as lawmakers, they need to be exemplars of personal integrity. Rules must be complied with, not merely because there are penalties for not doing so, but because MPs are expected to have a system of values in which integrity is required in all aspects of their conduct.  
 
TI(UK) believes that reform of the present system governing MPs’ expenses should be based on:  
 
1.Full transparency  
2.Public acceptability 
3.Benchmarking against good practice in the public and private sectors of the UK
4.Benchmarking against good practice in other parliamentary democracies.

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ADDITIONAL INFO

  • Report published: Aug 2012

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