Page last updated at 19:44 GMT, Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Appointment of Ipsa board members

On 4 December 2012, the House of Commons formally approved the appointment of new members of the board of Ipsa, the watchdog which polices MPs' expenses.

Last month, four members of the Ipsa board announced they were to stand down after a row with Commons speaker John Bercow.

Mr Bercow decided not to back the automatic re-appointment of the board members when their contracts end in January, saying all appointments should be based on fair and open competition.

Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy warned it risked being seen as an attempt to muzzle the watchdog.

Four of the five members of Ipsa's board - former MP Jackie Ballard, Appeal Court judge Sir Scott Baker, businessman Ken Olisa and accountant Isobel Sharp - have not sought re-appointment when their terms of office end.

In a statement, the authority said the decisions were "individual choices" but concerns about the process used to appoint and reappoint members to the board were a "contributory factor".

The Commons Speaker has the power to nominate members to sit on Ipsa's board for approval by MPs in a Commons vote.

Mr Bercow has put forward Sir Neil Butterfield, Elizabeth Padmore, Anne Whitaker and Professor Tony Wright to sit on the board from 11 January 2013.

Sir Neil Butterfield served as a High Court Judge sitting in the Queen's Bench Division from 1995-2012 and is being nominated for the judicial member of Ipsa.

Elizabeth Padmore has been chairman of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust since 2010, and previously worked for 11 years for the management consultancy company Accenture.

Anne Whitaker was head of audit for Financial Services at Ernst & Young from 2000 to 2004, and is being nominated as the auditor member of Ipsa.

Finally, Professor Tony Wright is a former MP for Cannock Chase between 1992 and 2010, and would serve as the parliamentary member of the board.

Ipsa took over responsibility for policing MPs' expenses in 2010 after it emerged that a number of MPs had made inappropriate claims under the old system overseen by Parliament and a handful had committed fraud.

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