Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Why is Andrew MacKay paying back nothing?

Paul Waugh has pointed out that my local MP Andrew MacKay is not paying back anything following the release of the "payback" list of Conservative MPs today.

I find this very surprising. I attended Mr MacKay's public meeting a few weeks ago that he called here in Bracknell and it seemed from what he said that he had submitted himself to David Caemron's process and they would decide how much he had to pay back. There were figures mentioned by people during that meeting well in excess of £100K.

Further information from Paul including the Tory line:

The explanation that his case is to be considered by the Legg review is singularly misleading because EVERY MP will have their cases considered by the independent regulator.

The fact is that the Tories' own scrutiny panel has decided not to take any action. If the Legg review concludes that Mr MacKay has not broken any Commons rules because his claims were signed off (amazingly) by officials, then he may escape paying anything at all.

Yet the whole point of the scrutiny panel was to get money back from those MPs whose conduct may not have broken the rules but which failed the famous "smell test" set by Cameron. If it looked dodgy to the public, then cash should be paid back, whether it is Steen's gardening or Vigger's duck house.

Tory aides say that MacKay is not being let off the hook and his case is so serious and complicated that it was felt best to leave it to Legg. But if he fails to payback the money he wrongly claimed from the taxpayer, it will leave Cameron wide open to the accusation that he feels his former adviser has suffered enough.

I agree this does seem very strange. It almost feels like because Mr MacKay has announced he is standing down that the Tories feel the heat is off him and they don't need to focus on him so much. I bet if he hadn't have stood down he would have been included in today's list.

I hope Mr MacKay will pay back the money that was wrongly claimed (whether or not it was within the rules). The fact that he has stood down should make no difference to this.


John said...

If the Lib Dems did a leaflet and really campaigned in a likely ward you can be sure he'd be asked to pay it back!

dazmando said...

A Lib Dem Leaflet on this is a good idea.

I really cant believe this TBH