Gerald Kaufman gets it right: MPs’ self-importance does not resonate with the public

Gerald Kaufman MP has it right in a Guardian article today.  First, there is a bit of Kaufman-esque rhetoric:

“People confined in closed institutions can tend, if circumstances provoke, to become self-absorbed to the point of the irrational. Such a state of mind can arise in an army camp, a prison, a boarding school, or a parliamentary building.”

followed by the key point:

“We are called the House of Commons for a very good reason. We do our best to represent our constituents but we, rightly, have no status that inflates us above our constituents. We, rightly, unlike MPs from some other countries, have no immunity from arrest.”

The simple fact is that MPs (and for that matter members of the House of Lords) are not above the law.  We may play a part in making laws but that does not make us exempt from them.

As far as the public are concerned, MPs are hardly highly regarded and they already think that MPs are paid too much and award themselves too many perks.  For some MPs to try and take on a new privilege – that MPs should be exempt from the criminal law – is hardly going to improve public confidence.

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