Peter Hoskin

The wacky race for transparency

The wacky race for transparency
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The three main parties are tripping over each other in the race for transparency over MPs' expenses.  As Fraser reported earlier, David Cameron lead the way by confirming that he'll tell his MPs to formally declare whether they employ any relatives.  Labour and the Lib Dems have subsequently moved to identical positions. 

Cameron's actions - and the catch-up politics of the other two parties - will have won him some political capital.  But maybe it's wrong to talk about "winning" in this case, when the reputation of the whole House has been so thoroughly tarnished.  The always-perceptive Frank Field yesterday equated the Conway case with "embezzlement", and told the House that:

"It is difficult to think how much lower our collective reputation might sink among voters generally."

And so - to stem the rot - maybe Daniel Finkelstein suggests the only possible way forward: banning MPs from employing relatives altogether.  Now let's see which party leads the way on that one...