Sir Ian Kennedy To Launch Own Consultation On Facebook

(Telegraph) – PROFESSOR SIR IAN KENNEDY, head of the new expenses watchdog, is to launch his own consultation on the discredited system of Commons allowances on the social networking site Facebook.

The move amounts to a direct challenge to Sir Christopher Kelly, whose Standards Committee drew up a series of proposals that were meant to clean up Westminster.

Sir Ian, who was warned on Sunday it would be ‘unwise’ to water down the proposed reforms, is said to feel that using the internet and other mainstream media, including radio phone-in programmes, will be more effective than the public hearing system used by Sir Christopher.

There was dismay last week when Sir Ian, head of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, told insiders he would effectively tear up the Kelly reforms and formulate his own expenses regime.

William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, called on him to think again as it emerged that Sir Christopher would meet Sir Ian this week to discuss the decision to drop parts of his report.

He is said to be ‘very surprised’ that Sir Ian wants to ditch plans to ban MPs employing relatives as well as demands that they return profits on second homes.

The Kelly reforms were unveiled on Wednesday, only hours before Sir Ian’s appointment, and were expected to draw a line under the expenses scandal.

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2 Responses

  1. No doubt this new “consultation” will take us well into the next parliament! Bye-bye Kelly reforms!

    Or is this more about setting the stage for a substantial MP pay increase?

    • You are probably right on both counts, Cynical. But the announcement also goes to show just how much of a political animal Kennedy is…

      Postponing any reforms to the next parliament will enable Kennedy to see ‘how the land lies’ after May’s general election. If Bercow and company are not returned then he can announce that his consultation has proved Kelly’s case and implement those reforms in full (but they will not be, in any way, ‘back-dated’). That will ensure his friends receive their ‘parachute’ payments and are allowed a last hit at the public purse.

      With that out of the way he can then decide on the ‘appropriate’ increase for MPs’ salaries. We can expect that to be substantial if Bercow and friends are returned – perhaps less excessive if they are not. (Or he may even ‘listen’ to any new class of MPs whom might be against any increase).

      Either way he will then be in-place to protect his mentors throughout the next parliament. (He will have to put himself up for re-election in five years time).

      The ‘new’ consultation, as you suggest, consists only of smoke and mirrors; but the fact is that Kennedy can actually point to his remit which says, more or less, that he must review any new expenses regime and provide a period of consultation.

      You can expect him and his colleagues to frequently refer to that remit over the coming weeks (and months, and years…)

      No change. Situation normal.

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