MEMBERS of parliament are to award themselves a monthly allowance based on how guilty they feel about under-equipped British soldiers in Afghanistan.
The size of the payments will be linked directly to the number of casualties, with MPs warning that the guiltier they feel, the more money they are going to need.
A spokesman for the Speaker said: "This is about regulating what has been an informal system. In the past, an MP would feel a bit guilty without a receipt and then ask for some free money to cheer himself up.
"But in the wake of public anger over members' expenses it is vital the new system is made transparent and accountable by establishing a formal link between the hellishness of the Afghan war and the comfort of MPs.
"And of course it goes both ways, so if things start to improve in Afghanistan then MPs will get less money because there will be no guilt that needs to blanked out with loads of new stuff."
Labour backbencher, Tom Logan, said: "I used to scoff when my wife talked about 'retail therapy' and how she could make herself feel better by using someone else's money to buy things she didn't need.
"But then I tried it for myself and, I have to admit, it worked like a charm. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't bought this massive television set after reading a report about the lack of armoured Land Rovers in Helmand."
Sir Denys Finch-Hatton, the Tory backbencher whose house looks like Disneyland, said: "I went to Afghanistan last year and met some of our brave troops. It was a sobering experience and I vowed there and then to put in a claim for a series of concentric moats linked by small wooden bridges that were each guarded by a uniformed duck."
Prime minister Gordon Brown said he 'completely understands the motivation' for the guilt-based expenses system, adding: "Throughout the period I have been chancellor and then prime minister, I have been determined to make sure that the MPs serving our country are properly paid, that we make proper allowance for them, that we give them the best equipment and help them in every way possible."