Simon Carr:

The Sketch: It's enough to make you feel sorry for them...

Share
Related Topics

She'd been called a thief by an elector in her constituency, "and if I'd been a man I would have punched him in the face because I'm not a thief!" No, but Anne Clwyd would have been guilty of assault, affray – and ABH if she was any good at punching.

It can be hard to maintain sympathy with MPs on the expenses issue; they emerge from the worst scandal in a century and immediately start claiming for – I don't know – payments on the African babies they're renting "for constituency purposes", and punching constituents who call them names.

However, in the spirit of public service she named, under privilege, the person at IPSA she believed guilty of offering to leak "the juicy bits" of the new expenses – the director of communications at IPSA.

Maybe the young woman will have been resigned by the time you read this, with severance pay, a relocation package and a place directing communications for the Commission for Standards in Public Life. What, in parenthesis, is IPSA doing with a director of communications? And why are they paying the best part of half a million quid for offices?

Boy, MPs hate IPSA. Roger Gale said the old Fees Office staff had been drawn in and demoralised by "a climate of mistrust inculcated and imposed by the chairman and interim chief executive". And if they achieve their aims they will produce a parliamentary population of "junior anoraks with no experience of life, or the very, very rich".

From stories you hear, there is indeed something abusive about the way IPSA conducts its business. They tell MPs how many times they can visit their constituency. They turn down claims for ordinary office equipment. They make life very difficult for family life – especially for younger mothers.

They also pay in arrears, so MPs suddenly might have to arrange an overdraft of £10,000 to run their office. "You've got plenty of money, you're an MP," IPSA staff are reported to have said, "pay for it yourself."

It is the revenge of the mandarins; it has a punitive element in it that is as offensive as duck houses. Adam Afriyie pitched for the debate to the new Backbench Business Committee – and produced to an appreciative House a cunning argument, and a plausible strategy.

It wasn't about MPs and their difficulties, he said. It was about us, constituents, voters, taxpayers, democracy. It's an audacious line but it has a chance. His offer is that IPSA produces a streamlined version of itself by 30 April or Parliament will legislate for it. And maybe there's a chance of that as well.

If you take MPs' accounts of it, IPSA is Gordon Brown's last bequest. Bureaucratic, expensive, cumbersome, self-righteous and vindictive. It's a last whiff of sulphur.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Why it won’t be the i wot won it – our promise to you

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
A relative of dead Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rahman reacts after seeing his body at Dhaka Medical College in Dhaka on March 30,  

Atheists are being hacked to death in Bangladesh, and soon there will be none left

Rory Fenton
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor