I wrote this letter to Kevin Barron on the 21st April on the subject of MPs expenses. He hasn’t replied as yet (it is the 29th as I write) but Kevin Barron, in his role as a member of the Privileges and Standards Committe has said today that any reform of expenses should wait until after the review from Sir Christopher Kelly’s Committee on Standards in Public Life.
Whether this view is because Kevin Barron wishes the reforms to be in the public interest – or because he knows that the report will in all probability take months to come out during which he will presumably continue to claim right up to the limit for his second home as he does at the moment – we can only speculate.
In this article in ePolitix Kevin Barron is quoted as saying
“These are matters for the House of Commons and are not matters for the party whip in many instances,”
Which is interesting, because Mr Barron nearly always votes the way his party tells him to – in fact he has rebelled only 26 times in 2618 votes since 1997 – and 9 of those 26 rebellions were when the votes were something to do with his MPs wages or expenses. Clealry Mr Barron has never felt such important matters as his own earnings should be subject to the party whip.
The article also says
Barron also warned that it was not acceptable to the public for MPs to make decisions about their own expenses and salaries.
Note that he doesn’t think MPs shouldn’t be allowed to make decisisons about their own earnings, and he doesn’t seem to have any issue with the clear and obvious conflict of interest personally – he’s just suggesting that the public might not like it.