NE CAMBS: MP Malcolm Moss calls for House of Commons purge to sweep away the guilty

By John Elworthy MP Malcolm Moss tonight called for a purge of the House of Commons to sweep away those who have committed fraud, criminal acts or who have abused the system . His hard hitting remarks came as Mr Moss, the MP for NE Cambridgeshire, retur

MP Malcolm Moss tonight called for a purge of the House of Commons to sweep away those who have "committed fraud, criminal acts or who have abused the system".

His hard hitting remarks came as Mr Moss, the MP for NE Cambridgeshire, returned to his office at Westminster just minutes after the Speaker, Michael Martin, had quit.

Mr Moss was one of the 23 MPs who signed the motion last night calling for the Speaker's resignation for his handling of the MPs expenses debacle.

"The reason I signed was that I was really disappointed with his performance on Monday and after that I felt something needed to be done to move events forward," said Mr Moss.

"I'm not claiming that had any influence for my own belief is that he was lent on heavily by the Prime Minister."

Mr Moss described the Speaker's performance yesterday as "inadequate" and it had left ordinary people wondering what on earth was going on in Parliament.

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"The Speaker misread matters, and gambled on support that never came," said the MP. "The public wants to see fundamental change and it has to start with the Speaker who allowed the fees office to interpret rules in this very expansive way which has caused so much anger to the electorate. People are saying he is being made a scapegoat but I don't see it that way."

Mr Moss said the Speaker carried the can because of what had happened on his watch but he also felt it was time for others "to start accepting responsibility and start resigning".

He said: " We need to direct attention to sorting out what happens to those who committed fraud and criminal acts and we need as a political party to remove from our ranks those who have abused system.

"We need to purge the system and give some steer to local associations, if necessary, for de-selection. Next must come a General Election and if that means a 'plague on all your houses' so be it. The outcome of the next election may be something totally unanticipated."

Mr Moss, who retires at the next election, believes that an early election could mean "lots of innocent people would be swept away, even those who stayed within the rules may be deemed just as bad as those who hit the headlines. But I believe there is a groundswell of opinion that says an early election is the right way forward."

He believes all MPs will be forced to explain their expenses to their local association but he feels in the short term it could be part of a process which could "re-invigorate our democracy. There is a massive opportunity to effect fundamental change in Parliament and reconnect with the people."

Although Mr Moss says he has had only a small number of emails from constituents angry about the expenses issue, he is replying to each of them and inviting anyone to visit his surgery.

"The emails I have had have been pretty vitriolic and but I'm telling people to come and berate me in my surgery. At the end of the day there is a feeling everyone has snouts in the trough, and still have questions that need answering.

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