At their Spring Conference in Liverpool, the Green Party adopted a motion tabled by Derbyshire Green Party calling for transparency over MP’s pay and expenses. The motion also calls on the Party to oppose the recent 11% pay rise for MPs, due to be paid from 2015, and demands that future pay rises be linked to the UK average rise in pay.
The Greens call for openness over MP’s salary, expenses, sponsorships and any other income that comes from their work as an MP. They also call on MP’s to make a contribution from this income for constituency work and to ensure that any paid posts created are openly advertised.
Derbyshire Green Party secretary John Youatt, who piloted the motion through the Conference, told delegates that the MP’s expenses scandal during the 2010 general election had seriously damaged trust in Parliament.
He said, ‘Electors are seeing their representatives in Parliament fiddling their expenses and getting very rich, while they are suffering the consequences of the austerity policies that MPs have approved. The 11% pay award shows that little has changed.’
John Youatt expressed the view that MPs needed to address this lack of trust that many people feel towards their MPs. He went on to say, ‘The policy we have today adopted commits all Green candidates for Parliament to sign a pledge that they will make a full time commitment to the job and will submit a regular report to their Constituency concerning any allowances, expenses or other income related to being an MP. They will also undertake to donate a proportion of their income for the benefit of their constituency. This goes beyond the current requirement for MPs to report their expenses and allowances in that they will be reporting directly to their Constituents and discussing with them the use of some part of that income.’
‘This is an important issue. My own son, who is now 40, has never voted. He says that it is a waste of time and that they are all just the same; looking after themselves. In a democracy, the governed must engage with the government. I want my son to feel able to vote, for his sake and for the sake of his daughter – my granddaughter.’
This is the Candidate’s Pledge adopted by this policy. Green Candidates will be asking those of the other parties to make a similar pledge during election campaigns.
1. I will make a full time commitment to the job for which I will be well paid.
2. I will ensure that, in the interest of transparency, a report is prepared every two months in which all allowances, other related income and expenses will be included. This report will be submitted to a local constituency body in a way that is open to public scrutiny, with receipts and justification for all expenses.
3. I will invite the local party to discuss with me a donation to it of a percentage of my salary, which will be used to fund support staff for my constituency work.
4. I will advertise all positions within my constituency office. Positions would be filled to industry standard terms and conditions for conducting interviews and making appointments. Family members would only be employed through that open recruitment process.