Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2008 12:32 UK

Inquiry into MP expenses delayed

MPs in the Commons
MPs have been urged to go further in making themselves accountable

MPs have been given an extra year to prove they can clean up their controversial expenses system.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life said it would delay launching a widely expected inquiry into Commons pay and allowances until next year.

Chairman Sir Christopher Kelly said this was a "pragmatic approach".

It would allow the committee to decide whether to conduct a "relatively simple stock-take" or a "more in-depth review", he added.

'Fall short'

Sir Christopher praised reforms to bolster audit procedures, passed by MPs earlier this month, as an "important step" towards greater accountability.

But these could still "fall short" of inspiring public trust, he added.

He said: "We have decided to take a pragmatic approach and defer a decision about whether to launch an inquiry until next year.

"Whether we do begin an inquiry then, and if so whether it takes the form of a relatively simple stock-take or a more in-depth review, will depend on developments over the next 12 months or so."

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