Local democracy

What is Penny Mordaunt up to?

Does Penny Mordaunt know what she’s getting herself into? One of her most striking promises is to give MPs something called ‘social capital pots’: cash to spend in their constituencies. They are part of her attempt to soothe colleagues by describing them as ‘people who want to serve’ – and to weaken the power of the Treasury. ‘I want to give you more agency to serve your community,’ she said. While these pots sound unremarkable, Mordaunt would be significantly changing what an MP actually does This is a fascinating idea, and not just because it flatters MPs’ egos. It’s more than the ‘pork barrel politics’ some critics have alleged of the idea,