Closing of MPs’ piggy bank’ sends message

Chris Carter SO THE game s up for those MPs who saw the expenses pot provided by the taxpayer as a personal piggy bank waiting to be raided whenever they felt like it. The news came yesterday (Weds) that the gravy train has finally been derailed after Prime Ministe

Chris Carter

SO THE game's up for those MPs who saw the expenses pot provided by the taxpayer as a personal piggy bank waiting to be raided whenever they felt like it.

The news came yesterday (Weds) that the gravy train has finally been derailed after Prime Minister Gordon Brown realised the damage it was causing his government and the whole of Parliament.

For the four Redbridge MPs it will be a relief, even though they have emerged largely unscathed (see page 11 for a table of their expenses).


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As I regularly bump into them at various functions I can attest to the fact they work hard and genuinely have a strong desire to represent the needs of their constituents.

The country - and the many furious people in Redbridge - will now await to see what will happen to those "honourable" members who have milked the system.

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There is a loud call for some of them to be investigated by the police and at the very least be expelled from their parties. There is a louder call from the Tories for a general election.

Of course, none of this would have come about without the Freedom of Information Act. Jack Straw must be one of the most unpopular men in the House, having brought the act in.

It is crucial that the role the act played in this sorry saga be recognised and any further attempts to restrict the powers of the act be fought.

Other public bodies need to take note. The likes of Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust which has refused perfectly reasonable requests from this newspaper, must be aware the act will not go away.

And those who see themselves as exempt from the belt tightening most people in this country have had to undertake, might need to take heed of the MPs' fate.

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