Peter Hoskin

If you see an MP wandering around with a stopwatch, this is why...

If you see an MP wandering around with a stopwatch, this is why...
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So the details of Sir Christopher Kelly's review into expenses are starting to leak ahead of their formal publication next week.  The proposals will include an expected ban on employing family members, reductions in living allowances, and a ban on claming mortgage interest for a second home.  Of all the measures, though, the most eye-catching is that MPs whose nearest railway station is within 60 minutes of Parliament will be unable to claim for a second home.

Most of Westminster is expecting a parliamentary uproar over the proposals.  And it's easy to imagine how that last one, in particular, will be quibbled over and opposed during the next few weeks and months.  You can just see MPs wandering about with stopwatches; calculating their average journey times; working out whether their "nearest" railway station is actually further away from Westminster than the one they use; sabotaging trains ... that kind of thing.  Some of them, in a roundabout way, may even have a point - the 60-minute rule does have an arbitrariness about it - but that's hardly going to play well with the national audience.

In the end, you suspect the party leaders are going to have their work cut out pushing the Kelly proposals through.  Their grim solace: that any MPs who kick up a major fuss may have their work cut out hanging onto their seats.