MPs prey to frivolous 'tit for tat' complaints

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Indy Politics

The chairman of the Commons' disciplinary committee said yesterday that MPs were falling prey to politically motivated "tit for tat" complaints about minor breaches of the parliamentary rules.

Robert Sheldon (Labour) launched an investigation and invited other MPs to submit suggestions as to how the rules might be changed to stop frivolous complaints. He said major "sleaze", such as the cash-for-questions scandal, was in the past and it might be time to change the rules.

Publishing a report from Elizabeth Filkin, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, on how she investigates complaints, Mr Sheldon said the process had been set up to deal with serious sleaze but now the standards and privileges committee spent much of its time dealing with minor breaches of the MPs' code of conduct. "There is quite a bit of tit for tat about it and it may be that some slapping down of that might be suggested to us," he said.

Ms Filkin, who is also preparing a guide for the public on how to make complaints about MPs, said in most cases members were able to give her enough information to clarify the facts and there was no need for further investigation.

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