Could the second homes controversy be a chance for the Lib Dems to set themselves apart from the other parties? They’ve certainly come out hard on the issue, tabling an early day motion calling for the second home allowance to be abolished for London MPs, and calling for an inquiry into MPs’ expenses. Here, courtesy of Politics Home, is the statement put out by their housing spokesman, Sarah Teather:
“It is completely unacceptable that London MPs living within commuting distance of Westminster are allowed to claim money for a second home. Thousands of Londoners travel to work in Central London every single day, so why on earth shouldn’t their MPs?
The London second homes scandal doesn’t just damage individual MPs, it damages Parliament and our democracy.
It’s time that Parliament cleaned up its act. A full inquiry would be welcome, but unless Labour and Conservative MPs are prepared to vote for change it will continue to be business as usual at Westminster.”
Good luck to her, I say. The current rules are clearly inadequate and need an overhaul. Although it should be remembered that the spate of “new politics” talk which followed the Derek Conway affair – from the Lib Dems, Tories and Labour alike – soon died down, and came to practically naught. So will things be different this time around? Watch this space.
P.S. Paul Waugh has a great post on how Downing Street is distancing itself from all this.