Peter Hoskin

Committee overload

Committee overload
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We all know how bureaucratic and convoluted a lot of Parliamentary practice is, but this reminder from Heather Brooke of the bodies involved in reforming MPs' pay and expenses is still pretty astonishing:

"Currently we have: the senior salaries review body (which makes recommendations on MPs' salaries and pensions); the committee on standards and privileges (appointed by the House of Commons to decide on complaints against individual MPs reported to them by the parliamentary commissioner for standards – currently John Lyon); the committee on standards in public life (which deals with complaints about unethical conduct among MPs – the current chair is Sir Christopher Kelly); the members allowances committee (made up of MPs who advise the members estimate committee on the rules surrounding allowances); the modernisation of the House of Commons select committee; the reform of the House of Commons committee (created to modernise the house in ways presumably more modern than the modernisation of House of Commons committee): and the Department of Resources (the Fees Office) – previously responsible for paying expense claims.

To this we can now add Ipsa [the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority], a commissioner for parliamentary investigations, and a new Speaker's committee on Ipsa." This is particularly infuriating because many of the best and most transparent solutions – like publishing claims online, pretty much as they're made – are also the simplest and cheapest.  It's also indicative of how the public are still being kept out of the process, as I blogged about here.