Now here’s an idea for this kinder, gentler era of politics: Croydon’s three MPs could ask their constituents how to use the money from their recent pay hike – up 10 per cent, now at £74,000 per year for back benchers, since you ask – and give the public the chance to veto how they spend public money in their offices.
That’s what Stella Creasy did this week in Walthamstow.
Since being elected in 2010, Creasy has set an example for fellow MPs, especially in her campaigning against pay-day loan companies.
Runner-up in the recent Labour deputy leadership election, Creasy appears intent on setting the standard with her personal conduct in public office.
On Thursday, Creasy staged what she calls “my expenses panel meeting”.
As she explains, it is “where any local resident can attend to scrutinise and veto my proposals for spending of the office allowance I get from Parliament as well as review my last year’s spending budget and how it compared”.
Does any of Croydon’s MPs, Tories Gavin Barwell and Chris Philp, or Steve Reed OBE, do anything similar?
And Creasy goes further still.
“We will also be discussing what to do with my salary increase at this meeting too,” the Walthamstow MP said. Following the decision of the Government, the extra £6,000-plus cannot be rejected by MPs, so Creasy says she “can only pass it on!”
In Walthamstow, the £6,000-or-so MP’s pay rise has thus become a community grant fund. Imagine what might be possible with nearly £20,000 of discretionary community funding across Croydon’s three constituencies.
Creasy’s meeting was open to all her constituents – she even tries to ensure that everyone gets a full set of paperwork on which to base their decisions.
So which of Croydon’s MPs will be first to adopt similar attitude to accountability about the manner in which they spend our money?
Steve Reed OBE?
Anyone holding their breath?
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