Mark Reckons has done an excellent bit of work looking at the likelihood of UK MPs milking their expenses correlating that with how safe their seats are. Meanwhile New Europe has raised the question of if and when the scrutiny of expenses is going to come to the European Parliament. Put those two thoughts together, and throw in the fact that the UK’s election system for MEPs increases the likelihood of candidates just making the party happy… Giles Chichester and Den Dover have already been hit. 390 of 646MPs had to pay back after Legg’s enquiry in Westminster, so are Chichester and Dover the only ones from the UK’s major parties in the EP? I suspect not.
They can’t properly sort out expenses until they sort out salaries. In other words, no progress will be made with MEPs until they stop treating expenses as a salary ‘top up’. This might even impede acceptance of a receipt-only expenses procedure.
I recall that, among the Tory MEPs a year or two ago, there was a very strong correspondence between those who opposed expenses transparency and those who favoured leaving the EPP (I think Roger Helmer was the only interesting exception).
It’ll be great to see whether those at the top of the party lists claim more in expenses, whatever the party 🙂