The MP Expenses Scandal: Your Opinion
As the media seems to uncover more and more expenses scandals from MPs, specifically in the news this week Maria Miller, it seems the general public impressions towards MPs on the whole are at an all time low.
We asked our panel of UK consumers whether the expenses scandal had made our panel reconsider the party they favour and will be voting for; overall the panel have not changed the political party they favour. “They’re all as bad as each other”. This seemed to be because the majority of the panel considered all MPs guilty of the expenses scandal, that not just one party in particular could be held responsible – as there does not seem an option to vote for a political party that does not exploit the expenses system.
Some of the panel felt that the expenses system is never going to change; that if it’s not the MPs being exposed for a scandal in the media, then it’s the banks, if it’s not the banks then it’s the private sector and so on.
Contrary to this argument, many believed it was unfair that MPs were not given the same punishment as a normal person. For example someone who has been prosecuted for benefit fraud, although the amount they have actually stolen is smaller than MPs – in the public opinion they seem to receive harsher punishments. Similarly to this, many felt that in the private sector, if a company is seen to be avoiding certain taxes, the prosecution for this was much more serious than in the public sector. Some of the panel commented that this was a blatant abuse of power from the public sector.
Furthermore, a small proportion of the panel felt that the public sector technically work for us – therefore we should be the ones to decide the fate of MPs that abuse the expenses system. As the expenses system is currently in place, the system allows for this kind of exploitation to take place, the system almost encourages it because it is so easy to cover up fraudulent behaviour.