Leading article: Follow the money

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The Independent Online

It was convenient for the Government, of course, but perhaps no more than this, that the parliamentary standards watchdog published its latest report on the case of Derek Conway at a time when payments to Labour peers were under scrutiny. And it is also true that Mr Conway has already paid a high price for the non-work he paid his other son to do. He had to make an apology on the Commons floor, and his parliamentary career will end at the next election.

Yet the sum the MP must now repay in respect of research that may or may not have been done by his elder son – less than £4,000, or what the committee judged overpayment, given Conway junior's inexperience – seems paltry, compared with the £35,000 that changed hands. This was mainly because there was no record of what the elder Conway son had done for his cash. We trust that the new rules will ensure all paid work done for MPs is properly documented. After all, we the taxpayers are picking up the tab.

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