MPs should be bound by the same rules on expense claims that other public servants adhere to. They should be disqualified from their position and in the worst cases prosecuted for defrauding the public purse if claiming unnecessary expenses. This should extend to second home allowances being 'flipped' from one property to another and should be made retrospective, after all if pension contracts are no longer sacrosanct thus retrospectively altering the expectations that determined joining a scheme why should MPs be excluded from action taken against them?
MPs election pledges should be legally enshrined as forming a contract with the electorate thus limiting their options for presenting themselves in one way when electioneering and then in another way in their conduct and voting in the House of Commons. Only in this way will they regain the confidence in them that has been lost.
MPs should also have to sign a contract with the electrorate stating that they will uphold their office with integrity and that they acknowledge that they are primarily entrusted with raising taxes to provide in return essential public services (ie providing healthcare and emergency services, protecting the public from criminals, educating the population to reflect that we can only compete as a knowledge economy as the Far East can more cheaply produce goods). These are government responsibilities and should not be devolved to charities or private sector without a referendum and also (if approved) without a corresponding fall in taxation – these being the services that ostensibly forms the contract for taking money in taxation from the public.
Any additional revenue raised above the amount allocated to public services should be subject to referendum on what use it is put. This would prevent MPs earmarking public funds for their own pet projects that do not relate to the people from whom they have taken the money in tax, i.e. overseas aid.
Why is this idea important?
This idea is important to ensure that MPs are held accountable for their election promises and would remind them that they are in office to represent and serve the public. It would refocus their attention as a mission statement and also ensure that a certain standard of behaviour and honesty was being restored to politics. People could then vote for their MP with confidence that their stated views were indeed representative of what they would do if elected.
It would also ensure that MPs personal wastefulness with public money was curtailed and that they were unable to hide the amount of income they were claiming in return for their duties as MP.