MPs' allowances — External audits and no more furniture — rejected — 3 Jul 2008 at 17:17
Ann Widdecombe MP, Maidstone and The Weald voted with the majority (Aye).
The majority of MPs voted against accepting recommendations 1-4, 6, 7 and 13 of the following recommendations made by the Members Estimate Committee. See below for details of these recommendations.
They did this by replacing the motion which read:
- This House
- welcomes the Third Report from the Members Estimate Committee: Review of Members Allowances (House of Commons Paper 578);
- endorses in particular the recognition of the need for a robust system of scrutiny for parliamentary allowances and the accompanying emphasis in the Report on improved audit;
- and is of the opinion that
- Recommendations 1-5 (audit and assurance),
- Recommendations 6 and 7 (scope of overnight expenses),
- Recommendations 9 and 10 (Communications Allowance),
- Recommendations 11 and 12 (travel),
- Recommendations 13 and 14 (overnight expenses),
- Recommendation 15 (resettlement), and
- Recommendations 16-18 (other SSRB recommendations)
- should be implemented, subject to decisions of the Members Estimate Committee with respect to their introduction and application;
with an alternative motion, which read:
- This House
- welcomes the report from the Members Estimate Committee;
- recognises the need to strengthen the system of scrutiny and is of the opinion that a rigorous internal system of audit of the Additional Costs Allowance be introduced covering 25 per cent. of hon. Members each year, and every hon. Member each Parliament;
- and is of the opinion that Recommendations 5 (staff contracts), 8 (constituency offices), 9 and 10 (communications allowance), 11 and 12 (travel), 14 (overnight expenses), 15 (resettlement), and 16, 17 and 18 (other SSRB recommendations) be approved
The rejected recommendations are as follows:
Recommendation 1 was for a "robust new system of practice assurance involving regular financial health checks on records kept and processes used in Members' offices with outside professional teams covering about 25% of Members each year". This was substituted by a "rigorous internal system of audit".
Recommendation 2 would have extended "the scope of the audit engagement so that it is the same as for other public bodies."
Recommendation 3 would have reduced the receipt threshold from £25 to zero so that all claims, however small, would have had to be backed by receipts.
Recommendation 4 was for the Green Book (setting out the rules on allowances for Members) to be revised to specify more detailed rules.
Recommendation 6 was for MPs to no longer be able to claim reimbursement for furniture and household goods or for capital improvements.
Recommendation 7 was that MPs representing constituencies in outer London should be eligible to claim half of any overnight expenses allowance.
Recommendation 13 was for the Additional Costs Allowance to comprise of a £19,600 maximum budget for accommodation (excluding furniture, household goods and capital improvements) but operating on the basis of itemised reimbursement and a flat rate of £30 for daily subsistence.
-  Conclusions and Recommendations, Members Estimate Committee - Third Report, House of Commons, 23 June 2008
-  Members Estimate Committee - Third Report, House of Commons, 23 June 2008
-  Nick Harvey MP speech, House of Commons, 3 July 2008
-  Don Touhig MP speech, House of Commons, 3 July 2008
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (Aye)||Minority (No)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||21||54 (+1 tell)||0||39.6%|
|Lab||146 (+2 tell)||50||2||57.1%|
|LDem||0||35 (+1 tell)||0||57.1%|