Latest MP expenses revelations lack knockout blows, say experts

Public affairs experts believe the latest expenses claims are unlikely to significantly damage the already tarnished reputations of the country's MPs.

Westminster: MPs under fire for expenses
Westminster: MPs under fire for expenses

The majority of the national papers have today printed the latest expenses claims on their front pages. The Daily Mirror has branded David Cameron a ‘hypocrite', while The Times has run with the headline: ‘Defiant MPs kept milking expenses'.

But Weber Shandwick chairman of corporate comms and public affairs Jon McLeod played down the stories. He said: ‘Some of the claims relate to the time before Members were aware of the scrutiny to which they were to be subjected. Others reflect changes in behaviour as a result of The Telegraph's campaign. The rustling of hair shirts being donned can be heard.'

He added: ‘Have MPs got the message? Some have. Some are angry. Some are just giving up. The reputation of Parliament is at its lowest ebb since the "Rotten Boroughs". Fixing it will be the job of the new intake. Party politicking aside, the real job of the next Parliament will be to restore societal confidence in the constitutional furniture.'

Wolfstar MD Stuart Bruce said the latest claims did not suggest MPs were out of touch with public feeling: ‘Skimming through the latest claims there are few that I can see that legitimately give cause for outrage.'

He added: ‘Unfortunately I'm very pessimistic about the opportunity for MPs to rebuild their badly damaged reputations. That's because the reputational damage they've suffered is even greater than what they've actually done. Those that haven't been guilty of outrageous and false claims are tarred with the same brush as the duck house brigade. It can often be harder to rebuild a reputation when you're genuinely innocent than when you're guilty where you can apologise and demonstrate you're fixing it. The political media have had a taste of blood and aren't sated yet.'



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