19:10 | 23/03/2009
Sir Christopher Kelly, Committee on Standards in Public Life Chairman
Channel 4 News
Sir Christopher Kelly said the inquiry into MPs' expenses would not investigate Tony McNulty over second home expenses but would review the rules upon which claims are made.
"We are certainly not investigating Tony McNulty. We are not an investigatory body," he said.
He suggested that if something is within the rules but reprehensible, we ought to question if it is a "good" rule. He also questioned rules which couldn't logically be justified to the public.
Sir Christopher claimed the inquiry was launched both "in light of recent events" and as a matter of course - the scope of it, whether it will include the Lords, not yet known.
"There are issues about the Lords. Whether it will come within the scope of the wider inquiry into the Commons, I don't know," he said.
He also confirmed the Committee would hear "aural(sic) and written evidence", hoping to report back by the beginning of the next parliament.
Fuck it, I'm all Ears.
The inquiry won't start until "towards the end of this year" and won't report until "early in the life of the new Parliament".
But why announce it now? When I interviewed committee chairman Sir Christopher Kelly for Sky News, he told me it was because MPs accused of wrongdoing keep insisting they haven't broken the rules.
He's referring, obviously, to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who claims her sister's spare room is her main home. And now Tony McNulty, the Employment Minister, who claims the house where his parents live is his second home.
But I'm not holding my breath.