So forty six of our MPs own property in London that they rent out at the same time as claiming expenses to stay in hotels when in the capital on parliamentary business.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. If they could have bought property in Leeds, Liverpool or Lesmahagow as an investment and as part of their general financial planning then do we, as taxpayers, have the right to tell them they can’t do that. I’m not sure that we do, any more than we have the right to tell them that their savings should be in Royal Bank of Scotland rather than Santander, and that their ISAs should be with Clydesdale Bank rather than Lloyds Bank.
The problem is that in many of the cases I’ve been reading about, in fact in the vast majority of these cases, the Honourable Members involved had at least a little bit of support from the public purse when they bought their properties, or they had help with their mortgages.
That’s a game changer for me.
If they have taken advantage of their position as a Member of Parliament to make a profit then, even if it is within the ‘rules’, it’s wrong. Two things need to happen. The rules need to change again and MPs need to understand that they are not in Westminster to profit at our expense.
As always the Members involved will take great delight in telling us that they have done nothing wrong, and that all of the expenses they have claimed have been claimed within the rules. They will tell us that they have difficult jobs and that they need to stay somewhere when on Parliamentary business in the capital. All of that is absolutely true and we’re all allowed to claim the expenses we rightly incur as part of our daily work routine. MPs should be allowed to do the same, but no more than ‘the same’.
In other words they shouldn’t get help from the taxpayer to buy a second or third property that they can then sell on and pocket the profit.