One of the many odd aspects of Gordon Brown’s expenses gambit was why he came out with a proposal that was bound to be mocked as paying MPs just to turn up. It would only have been worth the Prime Minister coming out with his own proposals before the official review and before he’d consulted with other party leaders and his own MPs, if he was going to propose a regime that was tougher than others would have wanted; one that would have marked him out as someone who was going to end this culture of feather-bedding. But in the FT today
, Sue Cameron suggests one plausible explanation for Brown’s proposal:
According to rumour control, the idea may have come from chief whip Nick Brown, who has apparently been drawing up a list of dissident Labour backbenchers who often do not bother to turn up to the Commons. Paying them to put in an appearance would solve the problem.
I must admit, though, that I’m actually keener to find out who suggested to Brown that he made that YouTube video and who recommended all the smiling.