Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Who will end the former MPs travel rort?

Last month, in another example of MPs earning their reputation, the government tried to double the travel perks of retired MPs by stealth. They backed down, but it brought the matter to public attention again. Last night, Campbell Live did a detailed piece on it, which showed how completely unjustified these perks are. The poll at the end was unsurprising: 99% of respondents thought that these perks should be abolished.

That's a pretty overwhelming public endorsement, and it suggests that whichever MP or party wants to do it will reap some political rewards. So, who wants to do it? I've drafted the bill. Is there any MP in the House brave enough to stand up for the public against their senior colleagues (including the Speaker, who is a member of the 75% club) and put it in the ballot? Or will the cosy conspiracy of silence around these rorts continue?

(As for the chances of success, National and Labour - dominated by members of the 90% club - have said they would vote against abolition. But we've already seen how they fold on the issue when confronted with public pressure, and I expect them to again. After all, the cost of protecting Goff, McCully and the rest will be high, and I don't think their backbenchers, who don't get these perks, have any appetite whatsoever for paying it).