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MPs pay themselves £10,000 website allowance

Short debate that one

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MPs have voted in favour of a government proposal to give each of them £10,000 to spend on websites to give the public more of an idea of what goes on in Parliament, the BBC reports.

House of Commons leader Jack Straw told MPs: "The purpose of this allowance is to contribute to better public understanding of what this Parliament is about and what it does. It's important for the health of our democracy for the public to know more about what we do."

He said MPs had previously set up websites which broke rules by carrying party political content.

The BBC reports that Mr Straw said websites funded by the extra £10,000 must not promote a party or politician, or raise funds, and must carry a message saying they are publicly paid for.

The £10,000 limit was set by the Members Estimate Committee, which said MPs needed to do more to communicate with the public.

But some are not enamoured with the idea, calling it "an exercise in shameless self-promotion" that would benefit incumbent MPs for no clearly stated purpose.

MPs got nearly £86.8m in expenses last year, a rise of £6m from the year before. This is an encouraging development, though - it shows that the embers are still burning under that old firebrand idea of industrial democracy. We may all be voting to set our own salaries yet. ®

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