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Opinion: The housing crisis - MPs are still having a beano with our money

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Opinion: The housing crisis - MPs are still having a beano with our money

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Housing

Westminster Westminster

By Max Salsbury, 24dash reporter

After my perfectly reasonable suggestion to limit each person to one house each failed to whip up even the merest murmur last week, new figures from Generation Rent have riled me enough to add to my plan.

You see, I didn't mention MPs in my vision; or, more specifically, where we should put them.

Along with a massively overdue pay-cut, MPs should either pay for their own accommodation in London, travel back to their first home every night, or live in a block of flats built specially to house them. Simple.

No second homes are needed. Clearly, those engaged in flipping mortgages and all the other forms of vile chicanery are blatant criminals and have to be jailed, humiliated and hopefully exiled.

But why, why, why is one MP claiming £2,467 a month to rent in London?!

With the average peasant spending £1,300 a month to live in the capital, over 150 MPs claimed more than £1,675 a month in 2013. Why not bring in a law that allows MPs to randomly walk up to their subjects in the street and punch them in the face? It's the same difference.

And remember, it was this flock that voted against a proposed ban on letting agent fees last month. You often don't know whether to cry or vomit. Or both.

Some people defend MPs' rights to be paid lots of money and to claim mammoth expenses.

A staunch and very old school Tory supporter once told me when I suggested that MPs should be paid something around the national salary average of £26,500 with no expenses that you needed to "remunerate politicians well or you wouldn't attract the best people into politics".

When I asked him (this was 2010) if that meant that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were "the best" he went all quiet. Funny that.

Why do people become MPs? What drives them? Is it a sense of civic duty; an urge to serve the country; to make the world a better place?

Aristotle said that the people in charge should be the people who really, really don't want to be in charge. I'm not sure how you make that work but we understand his point.

If you go into politics because it seems like a profitable career move then you'll be about as much use to your constituents as Sir Philip Green is to the NHS. You can't go into it for second homes and money and future offers to sit on boards. That attitude can only ultimately poison public life.

Plenty of people would be delighted to become an MP while being paid a pittance. And if you look at some of the ghastly figures that haunt the UK's political landscape, then the idea that a lot would fly off elsewhere if their wages and privileges were drastically cut is a top tonic.

So, the next step in my to do list for solving the housing crisis:

• Build a sort of giant, 650-room Travel Lodge in Westminster to house our great and good. The living spaces can be reasonably airy apartments, maybe even build a gym in the basement. And any MP who turns their nose up at a free room can fend for themselves elsewhere out of their own pocket.

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