Next year I’ll be eligible to vote for the first time. But, like my friends and thousands of other young people across the UK, I don’t feel like there’s much for me to vote for. When the news is filled with expenses scandals, respect and trust in politicians goes out of the window.
This week we saw another expenses scandal almost go unpunished. In fact, if it wasn't for thousands of people coming together to show their frustration then Maria Miller might have got away with it - something that couldn't happen outside the Westminster bubble.
This is just one example in a string of cases that undermine trust in MPs. A generation of voters might be so put off politics that they never engage in democracy in their lifetime. I think this is a crisis and we need to fix the root of the problem.
If young people like me are to put trust into Parliament, we need to know that MPs can be trusted. How can we have a system where MPs overrule the independent parliamentary commissioner and decide their own fines? How can we have a system where MPs are marking their own homework?
I know that not all politicians are like this. I want to be able to tell my friends that voting is important and get people excited about getting out to vote. But what I hear from other young people is that the system is corrupt, that there’s nothing for them to vote for and that MPs are out for themselves.
The introduction of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority following the expenses scandal of 2009 means that there is more transparency in Parliament. But we are still seeing expense claims from pre-2009 crawl out of the woodwork. We need to know that when this happens again, a Committee of MPs can’t just decide it’s own sanctions like they did with Maria Miller.
We have a chance to change politics for the better. David Cameron should fix this system now so that next year, when a new generation of voters go to the polling station for the first time we can be confident the expenses scandal, which has destroyed young people's faith in politics, is truly a thing of the past.
Public trust in Parliament is important and something that needs to be built. We need the policing of the MPs' expenses system to be out of the hands of MPs and for an independent body to regulate Commons standards, not a Committee of MPs.
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