Replace MPs' expenses with allowance, Labour frontbencher says

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MPs should be given an allowance instead of having to claim for expenses, a Labour frontbencher has suggested.

Paul Flynn, shadow Commons leader and shadow Welsh secretary, has described the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), set up in 2009 in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal, as an "expensive flop".

Mr Flynn said in a post on his website that Ipsa was the "wrong solution" to the scandal.

Outlining his vision for an alternative, he said: "The previous lax rules of the Fees Office invited abuse and were rightly abolished.

"The most efficient best value alternative would have been to replace expenses at reduced total cost with an automatic allowance.

"The pendulum swung from permissiveness to minute control of claims large and small. Ipsa is a bureaucratic ornament."

Mr Flynn said Ipsa had failed to restore the public's confidence in MPs as he also criticised the current expenses system which "robs MPs and our staff of much of their most precious possession - time".

He said: "MPs would embrace a new system without claims or the expensive Ipsa.

"It could be based on an allowance calculated on average expenses based on distance from Westminster and paid automatically."

Mr Flynn said such a system would be "acceptable" even if it meant MPs were worse off because they would be liberated from the "tentacles of tedious bureaucracy".