Martin Salter - working hard for Reading West

Duo Publish Seven-Point Plan to Clean Up Politics

Following the recent revelations surrounding MPs’ expenses, Reading West MP Martin Salter, and Labour candidate for Reading East Anneliese Dodds have published a seven-point plan to clean up and restore faith to the political system. Mr Salter one of just a handful of MPs who do not claim for a second home despite living a considerable distance from London.

Their proposals are:-

  • Sack all Ministers and Shadow Ministers who have been systematically enriching themselves at the taxpayer’s expense by playing the system and breaking the spirit of the rules if not the letter.
  • Deselect all MPs who have blatantly broken the rules or who have failed to put their affairs in order.
  • End “moonlighting” by MPs. No second jobs or company directorships. A full-time commitment for a full-time salary.
  • Parliament to lose the right to set the level of MPs’ salaries and allowances in favour of a genuinely independent body.
  • Remove the ability for MPs to profit personally from second home allowances.
  • Only essential London accommodation allowances to be paid- and all claims to be capped. Nothing claimable for third or fourth homes.
  • The publication of all claims and receipts every three months on the Parliamentary website.

Martin Salter said:-

“British politics has been shaken by the disgraceful conduct of around 10% of MPs of all parties in the House of Commons, which have included expense claims for absurd items such as duck ponds, moat cleaning, and the refurbishment of stately homes. With the exception of Andrew McKay, Berkshire’s MPs have a good track record but it is clear that Parliament has not only lost its way but is in danger of losing the trust of the British people. Simply forcing the early resignation of the Speaker of the House of Commons and belatedly tightening up the rules is not enough. Afterall the Speaker did not force MPs to submit claims ridiculous and outlandish claims for taxpayer funded luxuries.”

Anneliese Dodds said:-

“The self-interested behaviour of some MPs, from all parties, is dragging the entire British political system into disrepute. Voters are understandably angry that some politicians seem to have been lining their pockets while ordinary working people are tightening their belts. We need firm action now, to stamp out this selfish behaviour once and for all”.   

Martin Salter has been praised nationally for refusing to claim for a second home in central London, preferring to live in his constituency. Anneliese has always pledged that she would do the same, and supported Martin’s Private Member’s Bill to end the scandal of MPs’ second jobs and outside financial interests.

Mr Salter’s analysis of the Register of Members’ Interests has found that as many as 159 MPs (25%) are pursuing parallel careers in the city, the courts or with lucrative consultancies.

His 2007 Members of Parliament (Employment Disqualification) Bill would have required MPs to give up their second jobs while allowing them to pursue a range of other paid activities, including writing articles, work on behalf of charities or not for profit organisations and public policy development, which are broadly compatible with their Parliamentary duties. Unfortunately, as it was a Private Member’s Bill which are rarely successful unless they are given Government backing, it did not become law.

“MPs are elected to do a full-time job for their constituents and with a salary of £64,000 we’re paid well for it. Most of us now earn more than double the average income of the people we represent. However, a considerable number of MPs are apparently too greedy or too bored to devote their time and energy to the job their constituents are paying them to do.  They’re out there in the boardrooms and in the courtrooms lining their own pockets. If these people really think that being a Member of Parliament is a part-time job and their constituents are prepared to put up with it then, at the very least, they should only draw a part-time salary.”

The Labour duo’s proposals would ban second jobs and end the personal profiting from the Commons second home allowances.