MPs’ Expenses Place Brown’s Authority In Crisis

(Telegraph) – GORDON BROWN is facing a growing crisis of authority after his review into MPs’ expenses threatened to explode in his face.

The Prime Minister’s own MPs began openly defying his call to pay back expenses claims, while some Cabinet ministers blamed him privately for allowing Sir Thomas Legg’s investigation to run out of control.

They accused Mr Brown of enabling Sir Thomas to decide his own remit which has led to hundreds of requests for retrospective expenses payments by MPs.

Mr Brown had hoped that Sir Thomas’s inquiry would pave the way for new reforms that could begin to ease the political crisis that has gripped Westminster since The Daily Telegraph began its MPs’ expenses disclosures this summer.

But instead senior Labour MPs were claiming that the episode had ‘backfired’ on the Prime Minister.

David Cameron, the Tory leader, stole the march on the Prime Minister, by promising first to expel any of his MPs who failed to abide by Sir Thomas’s demands for expenses repayments.

Mr Brown simply followed-up by hinting that the whip could be withdrawn in similar circumstances from Labour MPs.

Mr Brown faces calls for Sir Thomas to be given an even wider remit to include expenses abuses which include ‘flipping’ second homes and mortgage payments.

The Liberal Democrats’ Nick Clegg became the first party leader to call for a broader inquiry to ensure some MPs do not escape censure, despite clear evidence of abuse.

He said it was vital that Sir Thomas did not let some of the ‘biggest abusers… off the hook.’

The chaos at Westminster came as MPs on all sides began paying up, after receiving notification from Sir Thomas on Monday.

… (Telegraph, 14/10/2009) – Nick Clegg: Sir Thomas Legg must re-open MPs’ expenses files

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