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A FAMILIAR pattern has re-emerged with the latest controversy about MPs and the living expenses that they claim off the public purse: a small number of politicians are, once again, bringing Westminster into disrepute because of sharp practices that contravene the spirit of rules introduced in the wake of the original scandal of 2009.

Given the need for transparency to underpin each and every attempt by the country’s political elite to regain the shattered trust of a disbelieving electorate, MPs should have nothing to fear from being totally open with their voters if their claims are above board and not driven by a desire to exploit any loopholes that still exist.

Security considerations must be respected – but no one is asking for the home addresses of claimants to be published. All MPs have been asked to provide are details of their landlord. Yet the fact that their obfuscation has coincided with a raft of claims about Parliamentarians renting properties from each other suggests that there are some politicians who are still oblivious to the public’s anger over expenses. It is a mindset that needs to change before the apathy witnessed last week over police commissioners is replicated in a general election.