Coffee House

Nadine Dorries says Ipsa is ‘asleep on the bloody job’, but MPs’ pay and expenses will cause even more grief this year

15 February 2013

4:58 PM

15 February 2013

4:58 PM

Nadine Dorries has vowed to ‘go after’ Ipsa today after the watchdog announced her expenses were under investigation. There will clearly be more to come on this, but the claims the Mid-Bedfordshire MP is making about Ipsa being ‘asleep on the bloody job’ by not noticing that a travel ticket receipt had accidentally been submitted twice won’t come as a surprise to other MPs.

Remember that Adam Afriyie’s confidence about his coup (which I understand from friends that he remains very confident about) stems partly from the help he has given fellow Tories in fighting the current Ipsa system. Louise Mensch raises some of the problems that she identified with the system in her interview with the Standard today. And this week as MPs responded to the government’s Royal Charter proposal on Leveson, Edward Leigh warned MPs that they should ‘learn from personal experience’ when calling for statutory regulation as a response to the phone hacking scandal. He said:

‘In this place, the first reaction to scandal is to call for statutory regulation. May I urge colleagues who make such a call to learn from personal experience? In that context, perhaps we should call the new statutory regulator the independent press standards authority – or IPSA for short.’

Ipsa, and MPs’ pay in general, is a running sore in the Conservative party, but it could well become a gaping wound when the authority comes to recommending how much MPs should be paid. Its pay review is expected to report in the coming months, and at that point there will be a great deal of pressure on the Prime Minister to prevent a rise from the current £65,738 to above £80,000 when public sector pay is only rising by 1 per cent. This would be unlikely to come through a vote in the Commons as preventing the pay rise would require primary legislation. But MPs will think it important that the Prime Minister is seen to back their cause, rather than urging restraint on pay as many of them do not have the private wealth that he and certain ministers and backbenchers enjoy. As James noted last month, some of the most hostile plotters in the party are upset that he hung MPs out to dry in the expenses scandal. They see pay rises as the long-term solution to the expenses problem, and don’t want them to be delayed any more.

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Show comments
  • Mike, Dalian

    From my time working in the Inland Revenue many years ago, I recall that business expenses could be allowed for tax purposes only if they were incurred “wholly, exclusively and necessarily” in the performance of the business. If this succinct test were to be applied to MPs expenses, most of the expenses claims that have incensed the public (duck houses, pornographic films etc) would never have been paid in the first place.

  • roland500

    Well Nadine – This comes from rocking the establishment boat. It was inevitable that ‘they’ would try and pin something on you – even a couple of bob in expenses – to try to do you down. Ask yourself Nadine; to whom have I caused the most embarrassment? It is that person/group who is/are trying to bring you down now. Classic tactic by those who have the power. Nadine – shout loud – shout clear – while you still can – as to why this is happening.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Well its no surprise that the IPSA Quango is as dysfunctional and incompetent as other Quangos. As for MPs wanting such pay rises? Are they insane? Are they seriously so up their own orifices that they cannot see what a slap in the face of the voters if they lobby for large pay rises. If MP’s were not so self-serving they would not even expect a pay rise given their earnings are way above average and it is from that place that much of the problems of this country emanate.

    Of course its the usual hypcrisy. Bankers do not deserve bonuses despite making large profits whereas politicians who have failed to manage the country for a considerable period of time think they deserve a pay rise despite having been debt addicted for the largest part of a generation.

  • symphonetix
  • 2trueblue

    Companies have no trouble with employees clarifying expenses, so why is it after all this time the MPs have trouble knowing what is what with their expenses? Travel paid for, houses provided whilst living away from their constituency home, meals provided whilst they are away from ‘home’, food and drink whilst at the place of work at very, very reasonable prices. and much more. They live a life far removed from those they are supposed to serve.

    Enough. Get off the back of the tax payer and be responsible for your selves.

  • HooksLaw

    You’re saying Afriyie will make a good leader of the conservative party because he will help them fiddle their expenses? No of course not, but are you saying that is the limit of tory MP’s horizons?

  • itdoesntaddup

    I’d have thought it entirely obvious that MPs aren’t paid enough. We seem to get such appallingly ignorant people in Parliament as a result.

    • HooksLaw

      A nice line – but I suspect if you look all over the world you will see thick MPs Senators etc.
      The rat race obstacle course needed to actually get elected probably excludes most sane people.
      Critics of MPs have the answer readily in their own hands. Become one themselves

      The solution to getting better MPs is probably to pay them less. Add to that actually have more of them to form the government from. Then just don’t let them vote and we might then actually get the right things done.

      • Smithersjones2013

        The answer to getting better MP’s is breaking the stranglehold that the three establishment parties and their leaderships have over such matters. After all, its the three major parties predominantly that have selected these idiots in the first place.

  • Alan Douglas

    If MPs think they are not paid enough (as actually we all do), let them go after better incomes elsewhere, ther are plently of applicants for the vacant posts.

    Alan Douglas

  • Matthew Oliver

    So let me get this straight.

    Plotters are planning to write enough letters to try and overthrow a Prime Minister who they see as an electoral liability with someone whose first act in office will be to raise MPs pay. Sounds like a vote winner to me…where do I sign?

    MP’s pay is an issue but it should form part of a wider package of reforms e.g. Recall, Lobbying, Second Jobs etc.

  • Russell

    MP’s should have been hung….not hung out to dry! Many of thieves are still serving in the House of Commons on both sides of the house, and a number in the HoL have not yet had the justice which taxpayers have been denied.

  • Field Marshal

    We heard on the last post about 1200 deaths in a single hospital.

    The Government have a food safety system that is out of control.

    Meteors crash into Russia injuring 970 people.

    And what do we hear from Nadine-she-should-have-stayed-in-the-jungle-Dorries.

    They got my train ticket expenses wrong.

    Did we give this pestilence back the whip.

    • salieri

      Not only did “they” get her expenses wrong, but the stupid train ticket receipt went and presented itself twice. Well, no, to be fair, that was the member of staff who accidentally pressed the button twice. What button? What member of staff, for heaven’s sake??? Does the tax-payer now pay for bloody “staff” to submit expenses claims (online, natch) on behalf of Members of Parliament who can’t be arsed to do it themselves or are somewhere else, busy covering themselves in insects?

      • Victor Southern

        As I remember it her member of staff is her daughter.