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MPs can't duck' expenses issue, say Guy Fawkes protesters

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:12 05 October 2010

PROTESTERS calling for Parliamentary reform in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal are using Guy Fawkes day today to float an effigy up the Thames to Parliament. The 10ft duck house will dock at the Palace of Westminster while they claim MPs are busy plotting to overturn Sir Christopher Kelly's recommendations

By Mike Brooke

PROTESTERS calling for Parliamentary reform in the wake of the MPs’ expenses scandal are using Guy Fawkes day today to float an effigy up the Thames to the Houses of Parliament.

The campaigners are setting off from an East London wharf pulling a 10ft high duck house to dock at the Palace of Westminster while they claim MPs are busy plotting to overturn Sir Christopher Kelly’s recommendations on claiming for mortgages and employing relatives.

Protest organiser Willie Sullivan said: “Sir Peter Viggers’ Duck Island has come to epitomise the absurdity of the expenses crisis.

“So the duck house is heading up river for a Bonfire Night of Vanities’ at a nice stretch of waterfront property in Westminster.

“For those on the Commons Terrace too busy feathering their nests, our message is that they can’t duck’ change.”

The Vote for a Change campaign is calling for a referendum “to bring accountability to Parliament.”

Meanwhile, Parliament isn’t taking it like sitting ducks.

Its Standards in Public Life committee published its report yesterday on the future system of MPs’ expenses to be implemented at the beginning of the next Parliament.

Sir Christopher Kelly said: “We aim to strike a balance, ensuring MPs are fully reimbursed for necessary costs incurred doing their work, while providing safeguards for the taxpayer to prevent the abuses of the past, which gave scope for exploitation.”

The last time anyone tried to mess with Parliament was in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605—and that ended in tears.

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