David Blackburn

Welcome reforms, but they do not provide the complete answer

Welcome reforms, but they do not provide the complete answer
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Baroness Royall has confirmed the Eames inquiry’s recommendation that the House of Lords has its own standards watchdog, following allegations that four Labour peers offered to amend laws for specific companies in return for substantial sums of cash.

Whilst this move is welcome, the more pressing issue is how to redress financial strains on members, which tempted corruption originally. Whilst a separate review will examine the options for a system of financial support, current reforms are merely concentrated prescriptions. James Landale revealed today that the amount claimed for overnight accommodation will be reduced, though peers will have to provide claim receipts (for the first time, incredibly). Prescriptions and greater accountability are necessary, but they provide only half the answer to the expenses problem. Some peers will continue to bend the rules, simply not turn up, or in extreme cases resort to venality, if they do not receive some remuneration for their services.