Gentlemen's club has come to end, says Brown

Gordon Brown launched another bid to draw a line under the MPs' expenses scandal today, saying: "The gentlemen's club has come to an end."

The Prime Minister admitted he was "appalled" by the scandal but insisted he was unaware of what had been happening.

Mr Brown claimed he had been tougher than other party leaders on the issue, suspending two MPs from the Parliamentary Labour Party and asking Justice Minister Shahid Malik to step down from his job pending an inquiry.

And he did not rule out taking further action against Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, who avoided paying £13,000 in capital gains tax.

Mr Brown was speaking on GMTV ahead of the unveiling of further measures today, designed to restore public trust in politics.

The Government is setting out plans for independent regulators to take control of parliamentary pay and allowances.

The move - part of a major tightening of rules at Westminster which will also see a ban on servicing massive mortgages with taxpayers' money, as well as all claims being published online quarterly - follows the dramatic resignation of Commons Speaker Michael Martin yesterday.



Mr Brown said: "We will have a clean-up, we will have discipline, we will have a new system that takes it out of MPs' hands altogether."

He said that no longer would MPs be able to decide on their pay and how to discipline those who break the rules.

"It has got to be an external body that does it.

"There are many cases where people will be suspended and people will have to stand down and not be candidates at the next election."



Mr Brown said: "It is a problem of Parliament - all parties must take responsibility. I take responsibility. On this programme, I apologise to the people of this country for what happened.

"I am angry and I am appalled. If my father, my parents, thought that these things were going on in the House of Commons, they would be utterly appalled."

Mr Brown said Ms Blears' actions were "unacceptable".

"Hazel didn't break any rule or law. But what she did was unacceptable. She came to me, we talked about it and she paid back the money."

He admitted that it was "difficult" that a member of his Cabinet had been caught up in the scandal.

Pressed on the issue of whether Ms Blears should be sacked, Mr Brown said: "I have already suspended - I am the only party leader to have done so - I have suspended two Members of Parliament from the Parliamentary Labour Party, I have told a minister to step down because of difficulties and irregularities that have got to be investigated in his affairs.

"I am the only party leader in these last few weeks to have actually suspended and asked people to step down.

"If it became necessary to do so for other people, I will not resile from doing so. We will take all the action that is necessary."





Mr Brown said: "I don't think you can satisfy the public now unless people know that someone independent has gone through it all and said 'look this is OK, this is not OK'."

He added that expenses were submitted by the individual to the House of Common Fees Office and did not come to the Government.

He said: "Now we have found out things we never knew about before. We have got to take action.

"The gentlemen's club has come to an end yesterday, we have got to have a decent system that respects the wishes of the public for the future."

Mr Brown was asked about MPs who pay their mortgage off but continue to claim expenses for mortgage interest.

Asked if this was a police matter, Mr Brown said: "It could be. If there is anybody who has been claiming money that they should not have received, that money will have to be repaid back, disciplinary procedures will be taken where necessary.

"As I have said before, nobody will be standing for the Labour Party at the next election if they have defied the rules of the House of Commons."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions