Page last updated at 14:39 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 15:39 UK

End MPs' golden goodbyes - Clegg

Nick Clegg
Mr Clegg said MPs resigning over expenses should not get a large pay off

MPs who stand down after expenses revelations should not be entitled to large tax free pay-offs, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has said.

Since stories about expenses claims began, 13 MPs have said they will stand down at the election, although three say they are going for health reasons.

They will be entitled to a pay-off worth up to a year's salary of £64,000 depending on their age and experience.

Mr Clegg said there was "no reason" some should get the tax free reward.

Under current rules, Conservative MP Julie Kirkbride could receive a pay off of about £32,000 while Labour's Margaret Moran could get £54,000 - by way of the "resettlement grant" which is only paid to MPs who leave at a general election.

Dry rot

On Thursday both women announced their intention to step down at the next general election - Ms Kirkbride had faced a series of allegations.

She and her husband - the Tory MP Andrew MacKay - had both claimed for a second home. He had already announced his intention to quit.

ESTIMATED PAY-OFFS
Ben Chapman: £36,269
Derek Conway: £64,766
Christopher Fraser: £32,383
Douglas Hogg: £59,585
Julie Kirkbride: £32,383
Andrew MacKay: £64,766
Ian McCartney: £64,766
Margaret Moran: £54, 403
Anthony Steen: £32,383
Peter Viggers: £32,383
Ann Winterton: £38, 860
Nicholas Winterton: £32,383
Source: BBC estimates for resettlement grants, based on length of service and age

Ms Moran was under fire for claiming £22,000 to deal with dry rot at a home that was neither in London, nor her constituency.

The resettlement grant varies between MPs as it is based on years of service and age.

According to the Ministry of Justice the current cost of the alternative - a by election should an MP stand down - is £70,000 - £80,000, depending on the size of the constituency.

Mr Clegg, who has also called for voters to be able to sack their MP, said: "I can see no reason why an MP who is sacked or decides to stand down should be rewarded with a big, tax-free, lump sum payment.

"This money is intended to help people who are suddenly voted out of office," he said.

"Anyone else who decides to quit their job of their own accord can make arrangements for themselves. MPs should get a leaving card, not a cheque for tens of thousands of pounds."

Ms Moran said she had done nothing "wrong or dishonest" in her claims - she has repaid the money and has always said she stuck to the rules and had it cleared with the Commons fees office.

Ms Kirkbride said until the row blew up it had not occurred to her she had done anything wrong but said she wanted the Conservatives to have a "great result" at the next election and had to take into account "the effects on my family" of all the media coverage.



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