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Do we need a reform of MPs expenses?

As the weekend press brought yet another MP's expenses scandal, which while wholly legal does not appear to be in the spirit of the rules, there are growing calls for a wide-ranging review of MPs expenses. Many people who are suffering across the UK cannot understand how MPs can claim for an array of expenses, employ family members and claim for a second housing allowance even though the tax regulations allow these second homes to be deemed as their "main residence".

While there is no suggestion that any of the actions detailed in the press at the weekend are illegal it does seem rather strange that expenses can very often exceed the substantial wage packet which many MPs receive. The old argument that the life and MP can be fairly short lived does not appear to have much support in the public domain bearing in mind that the vast majority of MPs are able to obtain connections via their position and take up job opportunities after leaving Parliament. Indeed, those at the very top or able to go on speaking tours, gain jobs in public life elsewhere and even write bestselling books.

Many people believe the main obstacle to a wide-ranging reform of MPs expenses is the fact that MPs themselves police their own financial packages. Where else in the world does this happen?

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