Saturday, 3 June 2023

Will the members of the Fees Office show themselves?

Everybody’s targeting the MPs right now, but what about the Fees Office?  They were the ones who were supposed to scrutinise the claims and determine right or wrong.  Of course, they based their judgments on the “rules” as established by Parliament, but didn’t these individuals exercise any moral responsibility to taxpayers?  Who are the guilty members of the Fees Office?  Mr. Martin oversees them, and his fellow MPs no longer have confidence in him.  He is currently under fire, but what of the others?  Several MPs have knocked the ball into their court, so they should come out and respond.

Ms. Clare Short defended her position, stating she “made a mistake”, which was corrected in 2006, so that was a real “non-story”.  But in her defence, she mentioned that the Fees Office should have found the error on initial presentation, and not later, when they asked for it back.  Good point.  Why did the Fees Office take so long to figure it out, just like they are doing with the current cases?

We were in a situation not too long ago, when we moved from one state to another.  We had not sold our house, so we decided to rent in the second state.  Meanwhile, we rented out our first home, at below our mortgage payment.  Had we been asked which was our “primary home”, we would have responded that it was the one we were living in.  That was our home.  We weren’t living anywhere else.  However, we did visit our other house, to get repairs done, because we still intended to sell it.  Because someone else lived in it, we would not have considered it our “secondary home”.  As normal people, we would not have claimed on it.  So, why do politicians feel the need to do so just because it was allowed?

David Cameron had suggested that they decrease the number of MPs.  That might help, though, it would mean redrawing the lines of the constituencies.  What I cannot understand is how an MP can represent a constituency without living there.  I don’t mean for them to buy a house in order to serve their constituents.  I refer to the fact that in the US, you cannot run for office for a particular city or state unless you are already resident of that locality.  Take, for example, Mrs. Clinton.  She had to move to New York before she could run for Senator there.  That became her home.  If we only had MPs come from their constituency, we wouldn’t need them to buy a second home there in order to do their job.

There’s talk of an independent body. Will that body take over as the Fees Office?  I feel that some of the responsibility need to be shouldered by the Fees Office after this fiasco, yet they have remained hidden thus far.

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