March 14, 2015
Burnham's MP publishes her tax returns online in transparency vow

Burnham-On-Sea's MP has published her tax returns online and vowed to be fully transparent about her earnings.

Tessa Munt has published her tax returns on her website here for the years since she was elected Burnham's MP in 2010.

Her move comes after MPs' incomes from second jobs has been in the spotlight during recent weeks.

Tessa has spoken out against those politicians who have second incomes and has this week supported London Mayor Boris Johnson's stance that MPs should publish their tax returns.

She said this week: "Last month's 'surprise' from Boris struck right at the heart of one of the most sensitive issues facing the Prime Minister, his Chancellor and the Tories. Boris announced that he thought senior politicians should publish their tax returns."

"You could almost hear the groans in Downing Street down here in Somerset, 150 miles away. Despite David Cameron and George Osborne indicating previously that they were "relaxed" about publishing their tax returns, now Osborne says there are "practical difficulties" and Cameron says it's "complicated"."

"Income tax transparency is already standard practice in countries like Denmark, Norway and Sweden. If you're standing for election in the States, you have to publish your tax return."

"Since I recently completed my own tax return, I’ve posted copies from the time I was elected as an MP to my website and anyone can go ahead and look at them. There weren't any 'practical difficulties', and I didn't find it "complicated". So, I’m echoing Boris’ calls for politicians to publish their tax returns. The murky, self-policing way in which our political system operates is a big problem. It leaves space for temptation and corruption."

She added: "But worst of all, this murkiness is a root cause of the distrust and suspicion which hangs over our political system, particularly after the 2009 expenses fiasco. It creates the impression that the political establishment has things it wants to hide."

"Transparency is important. Before being elected in 2010, I promised to be a full-time MP. I’ve kept that promise. My bosses are those who live in my patch. They know I don’t sell my time to private companies, flog favours, get paid to make speeches, or lobby Ministers to promote anyone else's interests. In 2010, I promised to list all my expenses and the value of any gifts I receive. I’ve kept this promise too."

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