The Damian Green issue like so many involving MPs is an issue of fairness, equality. Some years ago, Nadhim Zahawi, a Tory MP, was found to have charged almost £6000 against MP’s expenses towards a personal business. The business was a stable which is attached to his rural home. According to Zahawi he inadvertently combined his domestic electricity use with his business power usage.
Zahawi held up his hands pleading ignorance. Admitting he had made a mistake Zahawi promised to pay back the £6000 he had claimed. He then contacted IPSA, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, and apologised asking for an update of the correct procedure.
As we know, Zahawi wasn’t alone when it came to cheating on expenses. David Cameron, ex-Prime Minister, claimed £680 in MP’s expenses to clear wisteria from his constituency home. Iain Duncan-Smith MP, Secretary of State for DWP, claimed £39 for a breakfast even though the meal was priced into his hotel stay.
Boris Johnson has made numerous comments that by most people’s standards are racist; he has insulted the citizens of several cities; his reckless comments concerning a British woman’s activities in Iran that could put her at further risk.
The thing all these MPs have in common is that none of them were penalised for their misconduct. All of them, aside from Green, were found to have made fraudulent claims, yet none of them were prosecuted. No, they merely offered to pay back the wrongly claimed expenses.
Had they been benefits claimants would the DWP have treated them with such leniency? People claiming benefits have to operate within very complicated on-line systems to make claims. If they slip up when trying to access systems that all too often are alien to them, they are sanctioned.
Similarly, if a worker is found with pornographic material on their work computers the likelihood would be charge of gross misconduct followed by dismissal. Yet, an MP is found to have such material on his House of Commons machine, and no sanctions are applied.
Watching our elected politicians seemingly getting away with offences and misconduct not tolerated anywhere else hardly inspires confidence or trust in our parliamentary system. How is it that our law makers can plead ignorance of systems they legislate on, while their poorly educated constituents are sanctioned for misdemeanours.
Therefore, if Damian Green is found to have downloaded pornographic material on his House of Commons PC, he should face the same penalty that one of constituents would incur. MPs should not be above the laws and rules that they create and by the rest of us abide.