A BURY teenager’s online petition calling on prime minister David Cameron to stop MPs policing their own expenses is poised to break through the 100,000 barrier after generating overwhelming support in just three weeks.
Uzma Chaudhry only uploaded the petition on Change.org earlier this month, and by yesterday, the number of supporters had grown to a 99,688.
The 19-year-old, who lives in Blackrod Drive, decided to launch the petition in the wake of the expenses row surrounding MP Maria Miller, who resigned as Culture Secretary earlier this month because of the controversy.
Miss Chaudhry said that, next year, she will be able to vote for the first time in a General Election.
“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,” she said.
“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?”
The wording of her petition, aimed at the prime minister reads: “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 its own sanctions like they did with Maria Miller. Stop MPs policing their own expenses.”
Asked what should replace it, she said: “I’m not an expert but I feel we need a body that is completely independent of the current system.”
Miss Chaudhry, who is working as a part-time tutor, is amazed by the response her online petition has generated.
“In the first half hour after I’ve uploaded it, it hit the 400 sign. And in no more than five to six hours that figure had risen to 30,000. It has now hit more than 99,000 within an short amount of time.”
John Coventry, from Change.org, said: “Uzma has run an amazing campaign, mobilising a huge amount of support around MPs expenses — an incredibly hot issue at the moment”
- You can sign the petition here.