South East Cambs MP Will Publish Expenses On-line In Future
SOUTH East Cambridgeshire MP Jim Paice has defended his personal position regarding MP s expenses amid the widespread furore that has engulfed Westminster and led to the speaker of the house, Michael Martin standing down. Mr Paice, who is the shadow minis
SOUTH East Cambridgeshire MP Jim Paice has defended his personal position regarding MP's expenses amid the widespread furore that has engulfed Westminster and led to the speaker of the house, Michael Martin standing down.
Mr Paice, who is the shadow minister for environment, food and rural affairs, has insisted he "always acted within the spirit of the rules" after it emerged he claimed more for his additional costs allowance in 2007/08 than either David Cameron or Gordon Brown.
The allowance entitles MPs to claim for mortgages, rent, council tax and other household items such as furniture and cleaning but Mr Paice told the Ely Standard that despite claiming the maximum �23,083 in the last year, he was never in breach of the rules. He told the Ely Standard that his claims had included a vacuum cleaner, microwave and a dishwasher.
"Last year I did claim the maximum allowed to me but what should also be noted is that in previous years I have claimed a lot less than the maximum.
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"Over the years I have made some claims for things like a dishwasher, and I have had some windows fitted but I have always taken care to act in the spirit of the rules and I have always spent as if it were my own money," he said.
Despite the sweeping changes to the expenses system which are being planned in Westminster, Mr Paice believes significant damage has been done to people's perception of their MPs, damage that will take some time to repair,
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"It's going to take a long while as a small number of members have gone well beyond the spirit of the rules, and I think a great deal of effort is needed to restore trust," he said.
In a bid to help restore voters faith in the system, Mr Paice has opted to publish all of his future expenses online as well as insisting that he will only be claiming for mortgage interest, council tax and utility bills on his flat in London.
But, even with the measures, Mr Paice believes there is still much to be done, "Although none of these things in themselves will restore trust in our democracy, I hope that they show an appreciation of the seriousness of the situation and a real desire to clean it up," he said.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Should MPs have been able to claim for items like furniture and white goods? Write to: the Ely Standard 38 Market Street, Ely, CB7 4LS or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Turn to Page 3 to read Malcolm Moss's views on the furore surrounding MP's expenses.