Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Thursday, 19 November 2009

Business statement


Commons Leader Harriet Harman has told MPs that the government is determined to implement reforms to MPs' expenses.

On 19 November, while answering question on forthcoming business in the chamber, she indicated she was willing to hold talks with opposition parties on whether new legislation was needed to complete the clean-up of MPs' pay and perks.

But shadow Commons leader Sir George Young said that ministers were "mired in confusion" over expenses reforms.

Sir George urged the government to support the Conservatives if it tabled amendments to the government's Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill which would implement the reforms contained within the Kelly report in full.

But Liberal Democrat spokesman David Heath dismissed the Tory bid to amend existing legislative proposals to include the reforms, asserting that separate legislation would be needed.

Mr Heath also criticised the government for engaging instead in what he described as "fantasy politics", telling MPs that the Queen's Speech was full of "abracadabra bills", which would: "Shazam, at a stroke, halve the fiscal deficit; shazam, at a stroke, abolish poverty across the world."

Ms Harman replied: "I am happy for you and the shadow leader of the house to come and see me and talk these issues through."

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