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Friday, May 22, 2009

The Green Book

The UK Parliament's Allowances page makes interesting reading.

The Green Book 2009 - A Guide to Members' Allowances is the "bible" of MP's allowances. The first thing it does is refer people to the Parliamentary Code of Conduct.

Part 1 of the Green Book, "Principles governing Members' allowances", is unequivocal:

Parliamentary allowances are designed to ensure that Members are reimbursed for costs properly incurred in the performance of their duties.


Claims should be above reproach and must reflect actual usage of the resources being claimed.
Claims must only be made for expenditure that it was necessary for a Member to incur to ensure that he or she could properly perform his or her parliamentary duties.
Allowances are reimbursed only for the purpose of a Member carrying out his or her parliamentary duties.
Claims cannot relate to party political activity of any sort, nor must any claim provide a benefit to a party political organisation.
It is not permissible for a Member to claim under any parliamentary allowance for anything that the Member is claiming from any other source.
Members must ensure that claims do not give rise to, or give the appearance of giving rise to, an improper personal financial benefit to themselves or anyone else.
Members are committed to openness about what expenditure has been incurred and for what purposes.
Individual Members take personal responsibility for all expenses incurred, for making claims and for keeping records, even if the administration of claims is delegated by them to others.
The requirement of ensuring value for money is central in claiming for accommodation, goods or services – Members should avoid purchases which could be seen as extravagant or luxurious.
Claims must be supported by documentary evidence, except where the House has agreed that such evidence is not necessary.

The Green Book continues:

The following questions are designed to assist Members in coming to a decision about whether or not costs incurred are appropriate to be met from the allowances:
Is this expense genuinely incurred by me in my role as a Member of Parliament as opposed to my personal capacity?
Is this purchase supporting me in carrying out my parliamentary duties? Defining parliamentary duties is difficult but Members may wish to consider (i) the generally accepted parliamentary functions: the legislative role; the oversight and accountability role; and the representative role, including dealing with constituents’ problems and (ii) obligations they may have, for example as a small employer. Anything which is done for personal benefit or for electioneering or for the direct support of a political party will not be part of a Member’s parliamentary duties.
Does the claim match the purpose of the allowance in question as set out later in the Green Book?
Could the claim in any way damage the reputation of Parliament or its Members?
How comfortable do I feel with the knowledge that my claim will be available to the public under Freedom of Information?

Part 2, detailing the allowances, says, of each of them, that they can only "be claimed if the principles set out in Part I have been complied with" (see above).

So, it is abundantly clear that all those MPs who are claiming that they were "following the rules" are nothing less than brazen arrogant liars.

Sack the lot of them.


Posted by Phil at 10:31 PM
Edited on: Friday, May 22, 2009 11:05 PM
Categories: Comment, Waffle