Political parties ‘crack down’ on travel expenses

Spain's two main political parties on Tuesday agreed to introduce limited controls on the journeys that MPs and senators can claim on expenses, and to regularly publish global data on costs, moves described by opponents as "clearly inadequate".

Political parties 'crack down' on travel expenses
Speaker of the House Jesús Posada announced the transparency deal despite declaring himself opposed to it a week ago. Photo: Kimimas Mayama/Pool/AFP
The pact between Spain's ruling Popular Party (PP) and the Socialists, approved by parliament, means that politicians will have to specify the purpose and destination of any journeys for which they claim expenses.
Travel between Madrid and politician's constituencies will be straightforward and need only be declared, but other trips will be more closely scrutinized.
According to Spanish daily El Pais, trips made to carry out "political activity" will be controlled by each party. If sufficient explanation for the journey is not presented within 15 days, the costs will have to be refunded.
Details of all journeys for which expenses are claimed will be published on the parliamentary website every three months. However, spending figures will be global without a breakdown by party or by individual politician.
Until now, members of both houses of Spain's parliament could travel for free without needing to justify the reason for their journeys. 
Speaker of the House Jesús Posada, who last week declared himself opposed to greater transparency, spoke at a press conference to present the new agreement.
"Personally, I think parliament doesn't need to know and publicize the journeys of its members. What we are guaranteeing is that public money is spent correctly," he said.
The centrist UPyD party, meanwhile, did not back the move with party leader Rosa Díez calling the planned changes "clearly inadequate". 

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