Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 14:34 UK

MPs 'should back' MSP claim rules

Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond said the Holyrood system was far more transparent

Scotland's first minister has said Westminster should use the Scottish Parliament allowances scheme as a model to reform the system in the Commons.

Alex Salmond, who sits as an MP and MSP, said the rules at Holyrood, which sees members' expenses published every three months, was far more transparent.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been forced to back down after proposing sweeping changes to MPs' expenses.

It came after a number of high-profile allowances cases at Westminster.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and minister Tony McNulty are both being investigated over their second homes expenses claims - both say they acted within the rules.

There's actually a working model of how to solve this issue in Scotland at the present moment
Alex Salmond
First minister of Scotland

Mr Brown has dismissed suggestions that dropping one of the key proposals for reform - replacing the second home allowance with a daily payment for MPs - had been damaging.

North of the border, the practice where some MSPs can claim interest on mortgages for second homes is being brought to an end.

Critics of the controversial Edinburgh accommodation allowance said it had allowed MSPs to buy homes in the Scottish capital's booming property market with the help of the taxpayer and sell them on at a personal profit.

Mr Salmond told BBC Scotland: "When the Scottish Parliament moved to total transparency, two things happened - the scandals and the embarrassments stopped because information was volunteered and, secondly, everybody behaved themselves because they knew it was going to be published every three months."

He added: "This is easy - there's actually a working model of how to solve this issue in Scotland at the present moment and why doesn't everybody just adopt it."

As part of the Westminster reforms, MPs will also discuss plans to make the Commons responsible for employing staff and also proposals requiring receipts to be submitted for all claims - rather than just those over £25 as at present.



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