Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

Charles Walker calls for the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority to include some younger MPs.

Mr. Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con): I am hugely impressed by the names that have been put forward for the Committee. It is a smorgasbord of big cheeses. However, I am concerned that there are not younger, thrusting and less experienced Members on it. I should not speak in my own cause, but I regard myself as young and thrusting; and I may raise this point light-heartedly, but I have a serious love for this place. The past two years have been traumatic for all Members, but the measures that Kelly and others have taken will impact on the next generation of young Members starting their parliamentary careers. I should very much like to champion their cause and colleagues’ causes, and I should like to bring an innovative approach—a new approach—to the Committee. I have not sought high office in this place, and I shall never get high office, but that is not a shame, because I love and take pride in being a Back Bencher, and Back Benchers are important to this place and to our constitutional settlement.

Mr. Speaker, I shall not try your patience, but let me give you one example of the innovative thinking that I shall bring to the role. Let us do away with paperwork and forms; let us take the personal additional accommodation expenditure allowance and make it subject to income tax at a Members’ higher rate. Then, of course, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs would become the regulator of the scheme, the public would have confidence in it and we would be able to shed the civil servants who oversee the PAAE. Mr. Speaker, I see that you are about to rise, so I shall move on.

Mr. Speaker: To the Committee.

Mr. Walker: I shall move on and conclude with this plea. The Committee would certainly benefit from having a young, dynamic Member on it. That young, dynamic Member may not be me; it may be another Member. But it is not too late to add a name to the great list—the smorgasbord of big cheeses—in front of us. What harm could we do by looking at that?

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