“Citizens must be the judge of Parliament” – Swinson

Jo has called on Parliamentary authorities to let citizens be the judge of the system of MPs’ expenses.

In her submission to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the organisation chaired by Sir Christopher Kelly which is conducting a review of the system of MPs’ expenses, Jo has said that not just Parliamentarians, but members of the public should be asked to put forward their views. She renewed her called for a Citizens’ Jury to be set up to review the system, and also put forward the views of constituents who responded to her ‘e-consultation’ on the subject.

Several themes ran through the responses of more than 100 constituents, including the need for transparency, regulation by an independent body, and punishment and sanctions against MPs who have made fraudulent claims, including police investigations where necessary. Many constituents thought it important that MPs should make no personal profit from the expenses system, and said that a culture of honesty and integrity must be established in Parliament.

Jo also added that the House of Commons should accept all of Sir Christopher Kelly’s recommendations in full.

Commenting, Jo said:

“There is no question that a review of the expenses system needs to be carried out, but if only MPs are having an input into that review then it will not bring about the kind of radical reform that is needed. MPs have been regulating their own affairs for too long, and it is time the public had a real say in how Parliament is run.

“That is why I have called on the Committee on Standards in Public Life to ask members of the public for their views. My constituents have put forward many ideas and opinions on this matter and I have passed these on for consideration. However, I believe citizens need to be consulted directly, and I have suggested a Citizen’s Jury as one way of doing that.

“The information I have gained from the e-consultation has been extremely helpful and I’d like to encourage anyone who hasn’t already done so to sign up and share their views in future e-consultations.”

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