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Is Your MP Working for You?

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Caroline Mallan | 10:24 UK time, Monday, 25 May 2009

Following the issues raised in Panorama's Is Your MP Working for You?, you can check up on your Member of Parliament and see what they have been doing, what they have been spending and who else they might be working for.

BBC News Online has prepared a detailed list of what each MP has spent using the Additional Costs Allowance system. Just click here and search by your own constituency to find out more.

The Register of Members' Interests is also available online. Here you will find details of outside, paid employment by your MP and, as of August 2008, MPs were required to also register which family members they employ using their staffing and office budgets. They are not, however, required to release salary information.

The Code of Conduct for all MPs is set out here.

Among other things, it clearly states that "members have a duty to uphold the law and to act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them".

The Code outlines in detail the seven general principles of conduct in public life. They are selflessness, objectivity, leadership, integrity, accountability, openness and honesty.

To find out more about the principles of public life, as prescribed by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, you can watch Sir Alistair Graham, former chair of the committee, as he discusses what they mean and how the ongoing expenses scandal has seen them violated.

A range of MPs and outside observers have offered their views on how the system can be best reformed. Some of those interviewed by Panorama express their views here.

A broader look at what has been proposed in recent weeks, along with a range of opinions sent in by you, can be seen here.

Is Your MP Working for You?, Monday, 25 May, BBC One at 8.30pm, or on BBC iPlayer.


  • Comment number 1.

    The lack of trust of MP's, and in Parliament, is going to be extremely difficult to turn around - in fact it will be almost impossible without a root and branch reform of the electoral system.

    The internet is creating a 21st century platform for democracy - which a number of Government's are starting to use and benefit from. In previous posts the application of Poweromics* has been often raised and the lack of effective democracy** in the UK too ... and the time for change is now ...

    and it's not just me saying it ... Ministers within the Government are now saying it too (e.g. Alan Johnson, Health Secretary and Michael Wills, Justice Minister). They are all starting to realise they will have to fundamentally change how Parliament (as well as political parties) work to regain the trust of people, and to properly represent people ... so perhaps the expenses fiasco is a blessing in disguise ...

    The political parties know that previous supporters are less likely to support them now, either with their votes or with their cash (see the PCS union comments previously), with many parties now wanting the tax-payer to fund them too!

    If they have any hope of persuading us this is the right thing to do, we will need to see much more transparency and have much more of a say as to what is allowed and how things are done ... so we are properly represented ... and not opening up another gravy train for 'politicians' and/or 'political parties' to exploit and profit from ...

    * Poweromics = People using position and power for their own personal gain, based on poor moral values, self interest and greed.

    ** We only get a say/vote once every five years in a general election, and even then only a small minority of votes actually make a difference as to which of the two main parties gets in Government ... the only votes that effectively 'count' are fringe votes in marginal constituencies (2-3% of the total) - and that's why the two main parties keep changing the voting boundaries too! 21st Century democracy? ... and yet we often hear politicians quote our 'democracy' as an example for others to follow!

  • Comment number 2.

    MPs need to remember that they are voted into government by the people to deal with their expectations of them,not to consider them selfs as members of exclusive club where tax payers money is to support their life style.They should be considering their promises to the people that voted them in.This should be like a legal contract as would be applied to any other person who was being employed to carry out a job.The requirements of the contract would follow in the steps of a contract of employment that many working people would have to abide by 1 Expenditure outside their normal living requirements would be sanctioned with proof of satisfactory need would be payed,but if payed outside that requirement would investigated as fraud or theft of the public purse and result in fines or imprisonment.A person who puts them selfs forward for election is hopefully somebody that is committed improving peoples standards ,to strengthen the economy to fund a health system for all and a clean livable environment,not take on other jobs outside the commitment they promised to their electorate.They must never forget they are public servants,there to serve the country and its people and not them selfs.

  • Comment number 3.

    We cannot rely on "hoping" people go into public life to "do good" - it must be part of their contract of employment and a sackable offence if/when they clearly don't ... take a look at the following taken from the Poweromics blog at https://poweromics.blogspot.com ...

    Honesty - Honestly ...

    With all the scandals, and lack of trust in Government, what about the following ...

    1. Honesty
    2. Integrity
    3. Openness
    4. Selflessness
    5. Leadership
    6. Objectivity
    7. Accountability ...

    Sound good values to uphold? Should they apply in Politics? ... I think most people would say they not only should, but must !

    In fact they are the "Seven Principles of Public Life" that UK Politicians are meant to sign up to, but it appears they espouse them but don't necessarily follow them. Sound familiar ? This is very common when Poweromics* is applied ...

    ... the phrase do as I say, not as I do, come to mind ... and they should not be 'principles' but the 'fundamental values' that must be followed and policies must also support.

    When looking at these values, it's hard to see how politicians have applied any of them ... e.g. selflessness, integrity, openness, accountability ... they tried to stop the Freedom of Information Act uncovering all their underhanded activities ... and are still doing so ... why don't we go on to see how their 'offices' are run ... and all the perks & second jobs etc they have too ...

    In the name of honesty, openness, integrity and accountability ... who will be the first 'leader' to 'lead' on this ...? let's see ...

    We should remember Poweromics is not just occurring in Politics, it's happening in most business/enterprises as well ... and what are these 'leaders' doing about it too ... ?

    Leaders are starting to realise the internet is changing the way economies work, it is also changing how businesses work and how democracy will work in the future too ...

    * Poweromics = People using position and power for their own personal gain, based on poor moral values, self interest and greed.

  • Comment number 4.

    As the Titanic sinks - will the 'Captain' take a nap ? With the chaos engulfing the UK economy, the fiasco of MP's expenses, and the total lack of trust in Politicians & Parliament, is now really a good time for them to take a long holiday and hope it all blows away ?

    Anyone who applies Leanomics* would so 'NO', but those who apply Poweromics** will see it as a great idea ... let's see what happens ...

    Nick Clegg has made his position clear ... saying "bar the gates" at Westminster "until the crisis has been sorted out" ... and sets out a clear plan of action ...

    Who'll be next to state their position ... The 'Captain' perhaps ?

    * Leanomics = People taking responsibility for adding value and continuously improving the situation for others (e.g. customers, communities, overall environment), based upon fundamental values such as trust, honor, responsibility and respect.

    ** Poweromics = People using position and power for their own personal gain, based on poor moral values, self interest and greed.


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