MPs are expected to be banned from claiming the cost of mortgage interest payments on their second homes, following the results of an independent inquiry into Westminster’s discredited expenses system.
In future MPs would only be able to claim rent for a second home, ending a perk which was at the heart of the scandal that hit the House of Commons.
Sir Christopher Kelly, asked by Gordon Brown, prime minister, to review the expenses system, is also expected to propose a ban on MPs employing family members, ending a common practice where spouses are employed as assistants.
MPs in outer London are also expected to lose their current right to claim an allowance for a second home in central London, in spite of representing seats in some cases only 10 miles from Westminster.
The changes are expected to be phased in over five years, but many MPs’ family incomes will be severely hit. Party managers expect more MPs will decide to quit the Commons before the next election as a result, in addition to those who have already said they will stand down.
Sir Christopher’s report, details of which were leaked to the BBC on Tuesday night, is expected to be published next week.
Although many MPs might oppose the conclusions, many will bite their tongues. All party leaders will insist the recommendations are accepted in full, to draw a line under the expenses scandal.
John Bercow, the speaker, has also made it plain that the Commons must abide by the Kelly report to begin rebuilding the public’s trust in it.
John Mann, a Labour MP, said parliament had to accept the recommendations “lock, stock and barrel” if it was to regain its “moral authority” after the damage of recent months. “We can’t pick and choose which parts of the report we like,” he said.
Meanwhile, some MPs and their spouses said they would consider taking legal action if they were forced to stop working together.
Suzy Gale, wife of Conservative MP Roger Gale, told the BBC: “It just seems a great shame, due to a huge amount of public misconception, that we are almost being branded sleazy when we have worked very, very hard for many years.”
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