However, some MPs are calling for the regulations to be relaxed and the rules have now been put on hold, pending talks by Speaker of the House of Commons Betty Boothroyd with both main parties. Boothroyd is hoping talks will resolve the dispute - but, according to a Commons spokesman - if the matter drags on too long Boothroyd will 'impose her own solution'.
The rules were introduced after MPs agreed recommendations in a Senior Salaries Review Board report on pay and allowances published in July 1996. As a result of the same report MPs - while voting themselves a £9,000 pay rise - agreed a Review Board recommendation to slash their top level mileage allowance of 74.1 pence per mile for the first 20,000 miles for cars over 2.3 litres. They cut the rate, with effect from April this year, to 47.2 pence up to 20,000 miles and 21.7 pence for mileage over 20,000. The allowance for MPs whose cars are between 1.3 and 2.3 litres stayed at 47.2 and 21.7 pence, with the under 1.3-litre band remaining at 31.3 and 16.3 pence.