MP’s have been having a hard time of it recently over their expenses. Yes, the rules do need to be tightened up and we do need complete transparency, but this witch hunt is getting ridiculous. Most MP’s are honest, and simply claim what they have spent doing their job and they should be entitled to that money. Indeed, I’d be worried if an MP didn’t have any expenses to claim – it would mean that he or she wasn’t doing their job properly.
Travelling backwards and forwards to London is expensive. It’s also extremely tedious and tiring, and to be honest, I see nothing wrong in MP’s travelling first class, as usually they do tend to work whilst travelling. The MP’s I worked for certainly did. They needed adequate table space to be able to do so, and it’s only in first class you can guarantee that. Travelling around a rural constituency can also be extremely expensive, but if an MP didn’t travel around, then he or she would be doing their electorate a disservice. It’s not like they all have personal helicopters at their beck and call! Or even drivers. A good MP will try to attend as many local events and meetings as possible, and they shouldn’t be penalised for that.
It must also be remembered that the expenses also include staff travel costs. Why is that a bad thing? Surely it’s good for staff to travel to constituencies or London when necessary to support an MP in his or her role. It certainly helped me to perform my role better when I worked for Plaid Cymru, and also allowed me to form good working relationships with constituency staff. Had I simply stayed in my London office, that would not have happened.
Of course, there are dodgy elements such as MP’s who represent London based constituencies claiming for second homes, or even porn! It’s right that the media should be questioning those claims and pushing for change. It is needed. But that doesn’t mean that all MP’s should be vilified, just simply for doing their jobs.