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United Kingdom: MPs Expenses Scandal Prompting Constitutional Reforms

(June 2, 2009) The disclosure of expenses of the Members of Parliament (MPs) in the United Kingdom – monetary allowances that Members may claim if an expense is incurred during the performance of their Parliamentary duties – has caused a political scandal and widespread dissatisfaction among the electorate. The fallout from the disclosure of these expenses has resulted in the resignation of several MPs, including the Speaker of the House of Commons – the first time a person in this position has been ousted in three hundred years.

Parliament is discussing introducing various constitutional reforms to regain public trust in the political system and reengage the electorate. Proposals include: the recall of allegedly corrupt MPs, who would face a new election; tighter rules for the use of parliamentary allowances; selection of an independent regulator of parliamentary allowances; and institution of a fixed-term Parliament. (Department of Finance and Administration, House of Commons, THE GREEN BOOK: PARLIAMENTARY SALARIES, ALLOWANCES AND PENSIONS (July 2006), available at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/HofCpsap.pdf; 19 May 2009, PARL. DEB. (H.C.) (6th ser.) 2009, 1421, available at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm090519/debt
ext/90519-0016.htm#090519107000002
; Nigel Morris, MPs to Produce Constitutional Reform Bill by Summer, THE INDEPENDENT (London), May 28, 2009, available at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/mps-to-produce-constitutio
nal-reform-blueprint-by-summer-1691809.html
.)