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Harman vows to end expenses 'club'.

Summary: Commons Leader Harriet Harman has vowed to "end the gentlemen's club approach" to MPs' expenses.

Commons Leader Harriet Harman has vowed to "end the gentlemen's club approach" to MPs' expenses.

Ms Harman announced plans for consultation on a new independent Parliamentary Standards Authority suggested by Gordon Brown and approved in principle at cross-party talks.

She said the new body would revise and update codes of practice for MPs, investigate complaints about members and implement the recommendations on allowances from the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

She told MPs in a Commons statement it would "end the gentlemen's club approach where we set and enforce our own rules".

Ms Harman added: "There is a consensus across all parties that we need to put the reputation of parliament above reproach - and we will."

She confirmed the new interim measures to tighten the existing allowances system announced on Tuesday by the Speaker would be brought in straight away - including a ban on claims for "furniture, household goods, capital improvements, gardening, cleaning and stamp duty".

No MP will be allowed to change the designation of a second home during 2009-10, in an effort to stamp out the tactic of "flipping" to maximise expenses.

A monthly limit of Au1,250 is to be placed on claims for mortgage interest and will also apply to rent and hotel bills.

Tory leader David Cameron earlier renewed his calls for a General Election, saying a vote was necessary to end the "paralysis" in government.

Gordon Brown rejected his calls as the pair clashed at Prime Minister's Questions and said paralysis would be Conservative public service spending cuts which he warned would lead to "chaos".

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:May 21, 2009
Words:302
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