Sir Ian Kennedy headed the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) when it was created in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal
The watchdog who led a crackdown on Commons expenses abuses accused MPs of a ‘squalid vendetta’ today after they blocked him from getting a new job.
Sir Ian Kennedy, who headed the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority when it was created in the wake of the 2009 scandal, lashed out after his appointment to the Electoral Commission was vetoed.
Despite an independent panel selecting Sir Ian to join the regulator’s board and support from both main party frontbenches, the Commons voted by 77 to 46 last night against him getting the role.
Tory former minister James Duddridge said during the debate that he did not believe Sir Ian was ‘a fit and proper person’ for the post – which would have lasted four years and been paid £359 a day – arguing he had not ‘done a good job’ at Ipsa.
‘This gentleman is 76 now, he’ll be 80 at the end of his term. When he served on a health commission, he claimed £15,000 in taxis from North London to the job,’ Mr Duddridge said.
‘Whilst our expenses system desperately needed to be reformed, I don’t think there’s a single member of the House that thinks Ipsa is a system that is a system lacking in bureaucracy that couldn’t be well reformed. I don’t think he did a good job.’
But in a letter to Speaker John Bercow today Sir Ian delivered a withering response, saying he was effectively being punished for ‘cleaning up the mess’ of the Westminster expenses system.
‘Clearly, some MPs have not forgiven me for this and seek to punish me for establishing a system which took account of the interests not only of MPs but also of taxpayers,’ he wrote.
‘I have dedicated nearly 40 years to public service, much of it in seeking to improve standards in the NHS for patients.
‘Some seem keen to belittle this service as being the work of what they call a ‘quangocrat’.
‘Such attempts to dismiss the work of those who seek to serve the public interest outside the limelight borders on the contemptible.
Tory former minister James Duddridge said during the debate that he did not believe Sir Ian was ‘a fit and proper person’ for the post
Despite an independent panel selecting Sir Ian to join the regulator’s board and support from both main party frontbenches, the Commons voted by 77 to 46 last night against him getting the role
‘In my case, being concerned with babies undergoing heart surgery, or women suffering at the hands of a surgeon, or establishing from scratch two regulatory bodies, has always only been about seeking to improve the lives of others.’
Sir Ian said he had been ‘looking forward’ to serving on the Electoral Commission board, but jibed that there were ‘many other things to do’.
And he added: ‘Should recommendations by your committee for appointments to independent bodies (Boundary Commission, IPSA, Electoral Commission) be subject to the veto of MPs pursuing a tawdry and squalid vendetta?’