What the information released doesn’t tell us is, for example, how many MPs lease space from local party donors. Again, this wouldn’t be outside of the rules, but as Jonathan Isaby rightly added,
“Individuals, businesses or trade unions should be free to provide office space to an MP as a donation-in-kind, but invoicing the taxpayer for that facility before then making a political donation appears to be little more than a sneaky way of channeling taxpayers’ cash into party coffers.”There are a host of ways in which the system is able to be manipulated, and I need to look no further than the constituency where I live, Stockton South, to find an example.
IPSA have confirmed they will be looking into the cushy office arrangements of our MPs. Their website proclaims,
“As part of a broad review of accommodation support, IPSA will consider whether, even if the individual leases are appropriate, the cumulative effect means we need to reconsider this aspect of the rules”.But this beggars the question: if IPSA even needs to ‘consider’ whether MPs subsidising their local parties with taxpayers’ money through the back-door is “appropriate”, how can we accept that IPSA is any longer fit for purpose — if indeed it ever was?