By Ray Fleming

EVEN after taking into account the embarrassment of the Westminster expenses scandals of 2009, it hardly seems necessary to prolong the agony by publishing a list of MPs whose claims under the new jurisdiction have been disallowed. Should we be shocked that Peter Luff, a Defence Minister, was refused a claim of 12.70 pounds for providing “coffee, tea and biscuits” at a meeting but failing to get a receipt? Or that shadow Culture Minister Ed Vaizey was denied repayment of 4.75 pounds which he splashed on a lunch for a potential intern for his office? Harriet Harman, shadow leader of the House of Commons, was denied recompense for 75 pounds for hiring a hall for meetings with constituents but was allowed the money on appeal -- so why was her name left on the “blame and shame” list published yesterday?

The Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is now responsible for approving and paying MP's expense claims and it has rightly insisted on its independence and on maintaining transparency, But earlier this week Sir George Young, the leader of the House of Commons, criticised IPSA for “distracting and impeding” procedures and a No 10 spokesman pitched in by saying that IPSA's annual budget of six million pounds seemed excessive for checking 650 expenses claims. Common sense suggests that only the most egregious first time claims should be publicised while others should be given a private yellow card warning.