ENTERTAINMENT

Top Tories revolt against naming and shame in expense reports


Top Tories revolt against naming and shaming expense reports over fears that it would "arm" Westminster's grievance system and deny natural justice to politicians

Plans to name and shame MPs involved in sleaze probes will "arm" Westminster's grievance system and could deny natural justice to politicians, senior Tories claim.

Sir Charles Walker and David Davis both condemned proposals to reverse a 2018 decision not to disclose which politicians were being investigated for allegations of spending fraud or similar violations.

The Commons will vote on the scrapping, which moves amid protests that failing to identify MPs in such circumstances was an "affront to transparency".

Sir Charles Walker (pictured) and David Davis both condemned proposals to reverse a 2018 decision not to disclose which politicians were being investigated for allegations of spending fraud or similar violations

MPs accused of sexual abuse or bullying remain anonymous to protect the identity of their accusers.

However, some Tory backbenchers fear that in the age of Twitter it is wrong to identify colleagues who are being investigated for other complaints – for example if they do not declare a relevant external interest.

They warned that “annoying” complaints could arise before a general election by forcing an MP's party to remove the whip and preventing that person from standing for re-election.

Sir Charles, chairman of the Commons Administration Committee, said the grievance system should be viewed as fair and warned against reverting to the old rules.

"It could have unintended consequences," said the Tory MP, who is also vice chairman of the party's 1922 backbench committee.

Labor MP Chris Bryant, chairman of the Commons Committee on Standards, insisted that transparency was better and that the system only failed because people didn't know if complaints were being responded to. He is pictured above in November 2019

Labor MP Chris Bryant, chairman of the Commons Committee on Standards, insisted that transparency was better and that the system only failed because people didn't know if complaints were being responded to. He is pictured above in November 2019

"What we don't want to do is politicize and arm a complaint system that has to be trusted by all parties."

Former Cabinet Secretary Davis said appointing an MP prior to an investigation was extremely unwise and "contrary to the presumption of innocence."

He added: “You may well have months of accusation in the political world and the MP will end up being exonerated. But people won't remember the discharge. You will remember the allegations. "

The former Brexit secretary also suggested how political parties sanctioned MPs who were known to be under investigation but who were later exonerated.

"I have long thought that the political parties are very unconcerned about this because very often they want to pull the whip off the people before the claim is proven," he said.

"On many occasions people have had their whips withdrawn and then reinstated, and yet reputational damage has been done."

He added, “You have to wonder what the implications for natural justice is. If the implications are like this that it will actually be more difficult to achieve natural justice, then that's a bad idea. "

However, Labor MP Chris Bryant, chairman of the Commons Committee on Standards, insisted that transparency was better and that the system only failed because people didn't know if complaints were being responded to.

MP explosions break "crazy" commons

A move to extend the Commons' Christmas vacation by a week was dubbed "insane" last night.

Chris Bryant, Senior Labor MP, condemned the decision to extend the break from January 5th to 11th. He said it didn't make sense that MPs weren't in Westminster this week but were sitting in the House of Lords.

He added: "Key workers are in the works and even the Lords are seated, but we cannot ask the ministers important questions to avoid another debacle."

Commons chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg said the extra hiatus would give Commons staff time to recover after preparing for last week's one-day recall to approve the Brexit deal.

Mr Bryant said there should be enough manpower to distribute the cargo.

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