The expressions on the faces of the MP’s who were brave enough to appear on BBC Question Time on Thursday night said it all ! They all looked highly embarrassed apart from Margaret Beckett who decided she would try and defend herself. She failed miserably, however, to convince the outraged audience.
What is becoming clear is that there are two types of MP’s in this saga. Firstly, there are those MP’s who submitted expense claims for items they had purchased for their so called second homes. Many of these MP’s had sought guidance on whether they could claim and many claims were passed by the people charged with administering the scheme. Secondly, there are those MP’s who seem to have been deceitful. For example, several MP’s have claimed for alleged mortgage payments made on houses that had actually no mortgage.
Whilst the first scenario is milking the system the second scenario is the most serious and is probably fraud. It’s the MP’s that have perpetuated fraud that I think should feel the force of the law against them.
There is no doubt that our political system has been badly damaged. It’s not going to be easy for MP’s to regain trust from us, but a start would be for all those found to have committed a fraud to either resign or be sacked as MP’s and secondly for the whole expenses system to be re-written and administered properly.
What we also need to know are the details of all the MP’s who have played within the spirit of the rules. It’s easy to think that our whole political system is corrupt but so far we have only been told about those MP’s that have made outrageous claims and it may well be that the vast majority have not played the system.