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Page last updated at 11:26 GMT, Friday, 16 May 2008 12:26 UK

Pay and expenses

Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
The Politics Show

Hello again

Pay and Expenses

Here is a brief job description.

Wanted: Man or woman to work in excess of 100 hours a week for far less than they would earn in the private sector.

MPs in Chamber
How much should they get paid? What expenses should they be able to claim?

Need to spend most of the week working away from home and much of the weekend glad-handing ungrateful members of the public at village fetes.

Blind loyalty to your boss desirable; willingness to take a good kicking from the press preferred; skin with the thickness of a rhino essential.

Ok - it's tongue in cheek. But there are many MPs who feel it's a pretty accurate description of life at Westminster.

So why do the opinion polls so often suggest that members of Parliament are held in such poor esteem?

The slew of recent headlines accusing some of them of employing members of their families to twiddle their thumbs certainly didn't help.

 Jude, Bob and Margaret
Jude, Bob and Margaret interview MPs

Nor did it go down well with their constituents that MPs can order new kitchens from John Lewis courtesy of the Taxpayer.

So we asked three Politics Show viewers - Margaret, Bob and Jude to investigate how much MPs get paid and what sort of expenses they can claim.

Last week we saw them taking evidence from the likes of Headhunters, Journalists and Freedom of Information Campaigners.

This week they are back - with their recommendations.

Harriet Harman
Harriet Harman: Minister faces viewers' panel

You can read them in full on our website. And on Sunday, they'll present their conclusions live in the Studio to the Leader of the House of Commons, Harriet Harman.


We'll also be talking to Baroness Neuberger - who has written a new book on the elderly.

She is angry at what she sees as systematic discrimination against a vulnerable minority. And she wants to start a Grey Power movement to stop the abuse.

But are they really discriminated against?

Let the debate commence.

Nantwich sign
Crewe and Nantwich: crucial by-election and big test of public opinion

Crewe and Nantwich

And last, but certainly not least... let no one be in any doubt the big political story of next week will be the result of the Crewe and Nantwich by-election.

Last time the Conservatives gained a seat in a by-election was back in 1982. And when they last took a seat off Labour at a by-election?

Well you have to go back to 1978. I was barely out of nappies (he lied unconvincingly)

See you on Sunday.


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