The UK’s Conservative Party opposition leader appears to have “outmanoeuvred” Prime Minister Gordon Brown amid a media storm over Members of Parliament abusing expenses.
The beleaguered prime minister told the Commons he agreed with MPs who want an independent body to examine past claims. “I think it is now very important, as they suggested that the the receipts and the payments of members over the last four years be scrutinised by a body that includes people who are completely independent of the political system,” he said. But David Cameron said he will sack any of his MPs who fail to pay back excessive claims. “The issue is not so much whether the rules were obeyed. The issue is about the rules themselves. How much needs to be paid back is not really a legal issue. It’s actually a moral and ethical issue”. His robust approach included a call for the scrapping of an annual allowance equivalent to 11,000 euros for PR “communications”. Commentators across the political spectrum are hailing Cameron’s response to the crisis as swift and decisive while panning Brown for having to play “catch-up”.