Expenses watchdog hits back at MPs

The watchdog that oversees parliamentary expenses has hit back at criticism of it by MPs and warned they have not convinced the public the system has been cleaned up.

MPs from all main parties accused the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority of being bureaucratic, imposing unfair rules, having poor IT systems, being slow to process their claims and pushing them into debt. The Prime Minister said last month that the body had until April to put its house in order.

Yesterday Sir Ian Kennedy, chairman of Ipsa, insisted: "Ipsa is doing the job Parliament asked it to do. We are here for the long haul... Some MPs find it difficult to come to terms with the notion of independent regulation – that's the process of getting used to a new world."

He admitted Ipsa was "not perfect" but said it had learnt lessons from its first eight months.