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Daily View: MPs' expenses mark II

Clare Spencer | 09:00 UK time, Friday, 11 December 2009

Quentin Davies' bell towerAs the Commons releases fresh expenses details, commentators give their insights into how MPs are dealing with the saga and their views on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

Former MP Michael Brown warns in the Independent against getting rid of second homes, looking back at the time when he had to rent as an MP:

"We'll be back to the days of a century ago with a two-tier system of MPs - those living in style in Belgravia while others slum it in the rented digs to be identified from a list compiled by IPSA."

In the Guardian MP Austin Mitchell describes how the expenses fiasco plays out among his colleagues:

"We don't talk about any of this to each other. No one says how much they owe. I had hoped that the septic summer of abuse would mellow into an autumn of acceptance as the flow of abuse and the letters addressed to 'Dear Thief' dropped away."

The Independent's leader column says the latest revelations leave us in the same place as before:

"In terms of what needs to be done, the prescription remains the same. Where fraud appears to have taken place, the police must investigate."

The Telegraph editorial says Quentin Davies' bell tower is an unwelcome addition to the "surreal" expenses claims by MPs:

"These latest revelations are further proof that it is time to ring the changes."

However, Michael White in the Guardian focuses on the new powers held by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, the external authority tasked with policing the financial conduct of MPs:

"Some wonder if they are watching the evolution of a more accountable Britain - or a post-democratic one."

Backing this up, in the Guardian Heather Brooke, who campaigned for MPs to release their expenses, does not welcome the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority:

"You don't make a system more effective by increasing the number of regulators. You improve it by making the lines of authority clear, simple and transparent so everyone knows exactly who is responsible for what. Instead the muddle is getting muddled. Even with today's government amendments, we still have the farce of duelling commissioners."

And finally, going through the new expenses claims, Alex Barker at the FT's Westminster blog says there is just some stuff we don't need to know:

"Just imagine receiving a receipt from a cleaning company that describes your sofa as 'full of crumbs and dirty' and condemns your carpet for having 'large spot marks and stains' - and then realising it would be made public."

Links in full

Michael Brown | Independent | A great divide looms
Telegraph | The bell tower tolls
Daily Mail | Tragedy of this funny money brigade
Michael White | Guardian | A self-inflicted humiliation
Austin Mitchell | Guardian | Still stuck in the stocks
Heather Brooke | Guardian | The reform of MPs' expenses is mired in muddle
Iain Dale | Gordon thinks he deserves a medal
Iain Dale | Paying for the PM's servant
Paul Staines | Guido Fawkes' blog | Mrs Graham Allen
Paul Staines | Guido Fawkes' blog | Labour toff claimed £20,000 for Bell Tower
Alex Barker | Financial Times | The expenses crumbs
Peter Hoskin | Spectator | Behind the expenses curve

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