I don’t know if you’ve heard … but the speed limits in the UK are about to change. The new limit on the motorway is being reduce to 65 mile per hour and anyone who has ever travelled at 70 mph in the past is going to get a retrospective ticket. They will be sent out in the post and it’s expected that nearly everyone will be asked to pay a fine.
Doesn’t seem fair does it.
I think we should complain about it. I mean we were following the rules when we drove at 70. How dare they change them on us afterwards and more to the point how dare they fine us for it.
Of course I just made that up. But that is what is effectively happening to MPs at the moment after Sir Thomas Legg wrote to many of them asking them to pay back money they had legitimately been allowed to claim previously.
I’m not trying to defend the most ridiculous claims and I think there should be a robust system for reviewing all claims and ensuring that they passed both the letter and the spirit of the previous rules, that people ‘flipping‘ for profit, or have underclaimed on the tax they owe are caught and effectively punished – which in some cases could mean a criminal prosecution.
But I think changing the rules retrospectively like this is just not fair.
Instead it should be about changing the system to make it effective, fair and transparent. Let’s see what Sir Christopher Kelly has to say in his report due out in early November.