For the past two weeks, The Daily Telegraph has published the expenses claims of Ministers of Parliament, many of whom abused the system
These revelations severely undermined the political system and only a General Election will restore faith in it.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown was right to tell the MPs who abused the system that they will not be allowed to stand again for election. So the sooner that election happens the better.
But in Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday, Mr Brown said he would not call one because it would cause chaos. He also revealed his fear that the Conservative party would win.
But a General Election could put a fresh Government in place, with higher moral standards than the current one.
Today, Sir Peter Viggers, who made £30,000 worth of claims for gardening expenses, quit on the request of David Cameron.
By contrast, the prime minister defended James Purnell and Geoff Hoon, who said they did nothing wrong by not paying Capital Gains Tax.
Mr Brown said the Commons was acting like a gentlemen’s club, but he is supporting this club by refusing to call an election.
On Tuesday, Michael Martin, Speaker of the House of Commons and MP for Glasgow North East resigned his position and seat following a vote of no confidence from MPs including Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.
Mr Martin’s resignation was a step in the right direction, removing a dogged defender of the status quo. He not only supported the gentlemen’s club, but was implicated in it. In the past, his wife claimed £4,000 of taxpayers money for taxis to go shopping.
His resignation means the next speaker will be the first elected Speaker of the House of Commons – a powerful role. Electing a speaker is a move towards changing the crooked system and more of these changes are needed. But even if these changes do not happen, we need more MPs like Vince Cable and David Cameron, who act honestly despite a system which allows rules to be bent and broken.
No person is above the law, especially not an MP. These MPs knew Freedom of Information legislation would result in greater transparency, but they continued to behave dishonestly.
This dishonesty shows a lack of respect to their employers – the public who elected them.
The British public know the facts about the people who run their country. Now they should have the opportunity to make up their minds if they want to sack them.