I know that part of the reason you felt betrayed by the MPs who bent or broke the rules on expenses is that you felt they were not only ripping off the taxpayer, but ripping off the people who work so hard to campaign for Labour without expecting any financial gain.
The good news is, (some of!) today’s activists are tomorrow’s politicians – and they feel the same way you do: read this post by Chuka Umunna, Labour’s candidate for Streatham, and you’ll see what I mean.
So far, 61 of Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidates have signed up to the following pledge:
“The expenses scandal brings suspicion on all those who seek to represent their political parties. As a measure of our intention to try and restore an element of trust between voters and political representatives ahead of the June 4th elections, and an eventual general election, as Prospective Parliamentary Candidates we would like to put on record the following five pledges which will govern our conduct if we are elected to Parliament.
A great many of our current Members of Parliament already embody these principles in their day-to-day conduct and their example should be recognised. We would not like to return to a system where only those who are already independently wealthy can put themselves forward for election to Parliament, so necessary reforms to the system of MPs’ expenses and allowances should acknowledge the legitimate need for those representing constituencies outside Greater London to claim for appropriate accommodation and travel expenses. In the absence, however, of a decision on the final form of the new system, these pledges will act as our guide if we have the honour of being elected to the House of Commons.
– As a parliamentary candidate I will subscribe to high standards of integrity, transparency, accountability and financial economy;
– I seek elected office not for personal gain but to serve the public and our democracy, which I consider an honour and a privilege;
– I will publish my expenses online within a month of submitting them and publicise them annually in full to constituents;
– I will hold regular meetings with my community and will regularly report back to my constituency party;
– I will apply the principle of best value to all decisions I make which involve the use of public money to cover my duties, including for travel and accommodation.”
Does it make you feel any more comfortable about Labour to know that these are the pledges and standards of Labour’s next political generation?