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UK politicians debate reforms and change

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UK politicians debate reforms and change

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The UK’s lower House of Parliament has been debating reform of its members’ expenses claims system a day after the Speaker was forced to resign over the scandal. But many in the country feel the ousting of Michael Martin doesn’t go far enough.

All the main parties have been tainted by the controversy in which MPs were found to have used public funds to claim for everything from a moat-cleaning bill to garden manure. It’s led to calls for a change in the culture of the House of Commons. Liberal Democrat member, Norman Lamb said: “that is the culture, and it’s horrible actually, it’s aggressive, it’s male-dominated, it’s stuffy, it’s secretive. All that’s got to change. We’ve got to bring it into the modern era. We’ve got to get rid of a lot of the conventions that make absolutely no sense to the general public.” Polls show beleaguered Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party has been hit particularly hard by the scandal. A poor showing in the forthcoming European elections could spark a challenge to his leadership of the party and pile pressure on him to call an early general election.