Today was a busy day. Trust in politics has been eroded so much over the last week that I knew we needed to act fast to start setting things right. I began by meeting individual members of the Shadow Cabinet. We went through those claims that have caused concern, and they agreed to pay them back. There is a genuine desire to recognise and respond to the public anger.
Next I met the Shadow Cabinet as a whole and told them the immediate action I'm going to ask all my MPs to take. All expenses must be published online; you can't 'flip' your second home to make more money; if you sell a home on which the taxpayer has been making mortgage interest payments, you have to pay Capital Gains Tax; and any claims on furniture, household goods, food - all those things we've read about - are banned.
After that I met the Executive of the 1922 Committee and then the whole of the Parliamentary Party. I went through the new rules in detail and told them about the key proposal for a Scrutiny Panel - including someone completely independent from the Party - to go over all excessive claims and see whether they need to be paid back. I had to be very clear about this: if they don't co-operate with the Scrutiny Panel, they can't continue to be Conservative MPs.
And it's not just those in Parliament who need to understand this mission. It's also those who aspire to be. Every single Conservative candidate has got to sign up to this new way of doing politics. They need to know that working in Parliament is a great privilege - one that must never be abused again.
All this is about being the change we seek. If we want responsibility in our society and thrift in our government, we've got to live by those values ourselves.
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Message from David Cameron: Expenses.
A message from David Cameron following his Expenses press conference: