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Law Commission: Review of the Civil List Act 1979

Media Release Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Review of the Civil List Act 1979 – Members of Parliament and Ministers

An independent body should be responsible for determining all politicians’ remuneration and entitlements, according to a Law Commission report tabled in Parliament today.

Outgoing Law Commission President, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, said the framework the Law Commission proposed for dealing with entitlements for MPs and Ministers was based on three powerful principles: clarity, transparency and independence.

Sir Geoffrey said there had been a tendency to deal with the issues one at a time, in response to particular crises as they occur.

“That seems to us to be unsound. We need a complete paradigm shift. The quality of our democracy depends on Parliament enjoying the confidence of the public.”

The Law Commission’s report, Review of the Civil List Act 1979 – Members of Parliament and Ministers, was completed during Sir Geoffrey’s term as President and followed extensive consultation with representatives of political parties represented in Parliament.

The Law Commission’s report recommends that entitlements of members of Parliament and parliamentary political parties to support services should be determined by an independent body – the Remuneration Authority.

Two additional members would be appointed to the Authority for these specialised purposes. The enhanced Remuneration Authority would also determine travel, accommodation and communications services for members of the Executive.

“The Law Commission has great respect for the work that MPs do. They need to be adequately supported in their roles. But the system also needs to ensure that the interests of taxpayers are properly protected.

We believe we have achieved that with our proposals. The report contains a draft bill that enables people to see how the new system would operate.”


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