MPs should “camp on Parliament Square” to avoid second home issue

May 15, 2009 at 6:11 am Leave a comment

A Conservative MP has suggested a novel rent-free option for Members considering a second home in London.

During Business Questions yesterday Peter Bone, asked Harriet Harman: “I understand that the Leader of the House has come up with what can only be called a prime ministerial solution to the second home problem.

“I understand that she has identified a site that is rent-free and very close to Parliament and can accommodate hundreds of MPs.

“Is it true that, next week, she will issue hon. Members with tents and order them to camp on Parliament Square?”

Ms Harman did not take up his proposal and said MPs need to be in London and their constituency.

“Of course we all support the principle that there should be probity and integrity in the system, but we also support a principle for which the Americans have a much better expression than we do—from log cabin to White House,” she said.

“It should not be necessary to be wealthy to become a Member of this House.

“A point on which we also all agree and on which the hon. Gentleman’s question touches is the importance of the constituency link. That is a uniquely important feature of the House of Commons: not only do we do our business here, but we are linked with our constituents in our individual constituencies.

“That is the main reason why we have the allowance. We have to sort out the system, but we must respect and support the constituency link in doing so.”

Anti-war protester Brian Haw has been camped out in Parliament Square since June 2001, despite numerous legal attempts to remove him.

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