MPs ordered to pay back expenses

Photo by UK Parliament

The House of Commons are facing fresh attacks today as half of MPs will be asked to repay their expenses, as the final report on the scandal is published this morning.

Sir Thomas Legg, the former civil servant in charge of investigating MPs’ expenses, will order 350 MPs to pay back a total of more then one million pounds.

The report also includes damning statements about the reputation of parliament, with criticisms of the “devastating” effects on the reputation of parliament and for creating a “culture of deference” when they expected Commons officials to pay for their claims without asking questions.

Douglas Hogg, the MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham was overpaid by £20, 639.42 over a five year period, which he has already paid back. The list of his expenses included several items that are not allowed, such as a housekeeper, a gardner and repair work.

It is believed that MPs will have until the end of the month to repay the money, although some already have. If anybody decides not to repay the expenses then they could have the amount they are due to pay back docked from their salary or from their allowances.

Sir Thomas was asked to thoroughly investigate all audit claims made between 2004 and 2008 after The Daily Telegraph made a series of revelations that people were flipping properties to maximise their claims and using taxpayer’s money to buy items such as a duck house, biscuits and a garlic press.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) are currently thinking of new proposals for expenses system. A national debate will be held on how trust can be put back into the system.