Since payments for MPs were introduced early in the 20th century, the rhetoric used to justify them has changed markedly. Initially, writes Nicholas Dickinson, on a blog originally posted by Democratic Audit, any remuneration was almost always construed in terms of broadening democratic representation. Related to a landmark 1971 report, however, MPs increasingly began to be depicted as political professionals. This change in framing allowed salaries to increase, but at the cost of lasting public ambivalence.
Changes to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards’ investigation process won’t affect expenses investigations, writes Nick Dickinson. But the reason why reveals the deeper challenges in transforming Parliament into a modern workplace.