25 Aug 2010

IPSA publishes 10 reports of alleged abuse by MPs

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has published 10 “incident reports” of MPs allegedly abusing its staff. IPSA runs the MPs’ expenses system and most MPs you speak to will say they’ve made a dog’s dinner of it. It seems when they spoke to the staff themselves the language got a bit livelier.

The MPs get their names redacted in the incident reports, that old black pen again, but the accounts will make painful reading. There is much blue language, accusations of “patronising” and “angry” exchanges with MPs. “Intimidating” behaviour towards staff is mentioned, accusations that the staff were called “monkeys”. On 11 May one MP reduced a member of staff to tears.

A woman MP grabbed a member of IPSA staff’s name badge. You can read the whole thing here. This is the first time the actual IPSA staff incident reports have appeared but this story appeared in the Mail on Sunday with some names attached. The only obvious cross-over I’ve spotted so far appears to be Denis MacShane MP, who is clearly the MP mentioned in Incident 5, who apologised with a box of chocolates to the staff member.

In the MPs’ defence, IPSA does appear to have made a colossal deal out of organising the expenses of a small number of people. I met several MPs who were badly out of pocket to the tune of thousands just ahead of the holidays simply because they had not been refunded for costs like travel. Anyway, today you see IPSA’s revenge… or the first instalment of it?

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