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UK Parliament – MPs Expenses Scandal 2009

Some MPs had warned that the sorts of claims being made by some MPs would cause problems if made public.

The new Freedom of Information Act meant that claims and payments would have to be made public and the House of Commons hired extra staff to go through the claims and delete MPs’ credit card and other personal details.

One of the new staff gave the disc with the details to the Daily Telegraph that began to publish the most embarrassing claims and payments.

The Fall – Out from the MPs Expenses Scandal

The scandal was huge for a number of reasons.

  • It came at a time when the financial crisis was pushing Britain into recession
  • It led to the resignation of the Speaker of the House of Commons
  • A number of MPs lost their seats at the General Election due to outrage from the public
  • It led to the criminal prosecution of a number of MPs
  • It led to the creation of an Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority to police the expenses system
  • It affected all political parties and defines how people and politicians react to any other abuses of taxpayers money
  • It impacted the way people feel about the British press and what is in the public interest
  • It was even turned into a West End Theatre play!

IPSA has replaced the previously lax system but with one that is now very tight and complicated. This has led to complaints from MPs that they have to spend hours filing any expenditure into a hundred different categories and that, as they are effectively running a small business with about three staff, this reduces the time available to do more important things.