Submitted as comment to The Times
From Times Online August 13, 2009
Alan Duncan keeps his job but Cameron criticises 'big mistake' over comments
"my remarks, although meant in jest": it does not sound that way in the recording Mr Duncan.
How are MPs different?
Well, they are currently only liable to dismissal at general election time.
They are free to take up other paid employment.
(A former Labour minister received £70,000 last year for attending 14 meetings as an non-executive director of a FTSE100 company. Its share price declined some 70% over the same period and the dividend has been slashed.)
Their salary of £64,766 is in the top 10% of UK incomes.
Their holidays compare well with any other job.
Their pension scheme is generous - even when compared with other public sector provision.
Their restaurants and bars in the Palace of Westmister are subsidised. This cost taxpayers £6.1 million last year; food and drink at around half the cost ordinary consumers would pay.
They do have a new expenses regime, however...
In every other work context it is a legal requirement to have a contact of employment. Similarly expenses are only reimbursed on the basis that they are incurred "wholly, necessary and exclusively" as part of the job.
Mr & Mrs Taxpayer have to purchase & maintain their home and pay their living expenses from their taxed income. MPs should do the same.
Mr & Mrs Taxpayer mostly have to fund their retirement income through money purchase (defined contribution) schemes. MPs (leading the way for other public sector employees) should do the same.
Those MPs who need to stay in London on parliamentary business (200 nights p.a.?) should be accommodated in adequate hotel rooms - perhaps to MOD standards.
"Rations" Mr Duncan?
"But his views are shared by many MPs" - roll on the election and the constituency selection process!