Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Latest on MPs' expenses

32 MPs have now signed Jo Swinson's EDM 492 opposing the FOI (Parliament) Order to exclude MPs' expenses from the FOI Act. A copy of the motion and up to date list of the MPs that have signed is available here.

ConservativeHome blog: All Tory MPs will be ordered to fight Labour attempts to keep expeneses secret
The original Conservative plan had been for only the Tory frontbench to be whipped on this issue but following an agreement between Alan Duncan, the new Shadow Leader of the House, and David Cameron yesterday, all Conservatives MPs will be expected to vote against "one rule for the taxpayer and a different rule for MPs" - as Mr Duncan puts it.

Lib Dem press release: Nick Clegg vows to oppose plans to keep MPs' expenses secret
Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has pledged that the party will vote against Government plans to allow MPs' expenses claims to be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

Mr Clegg has imposed a three line whip on Liberal Democrat MPs, meaning that they must vote against the measure.

Tory frontbench and Lib Dems fight move to hide MPs' expenses - Guardian 21/1/09
The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are to combine to fight the government's move to exempt MPs' expenses from the Freedom of Information Act when the order is debated in the Commons tomorrow.

The change in Tory tactics, initiated by Alan Duncan, the new shadow leader of the house and an advocate of freedom of information, leaves the government exposed to even greater criticism if it wins tomorrow's vote. It could also leave some Labour MPs, particularly those in marginal seats, embarrassed by their support for greater secrecy.

John Mann MP, Letters, Guardian 21/1/09
MPs remain their own worst enemy in maintaining respect for parliamentary democracy, as the current equivocation on MPs' expenses and freedom of information demonstrates (Ministers to exempt MPs from giving expenses details, 17 January; Letters, 20 January). Of course there are some complications in how we make available detailed information, including protecting employees and suppliers from possible targeting by extremists or deranged individuals. I myself have been threatened by both.

But this does not undermine the principle of open accountability, and there is no credible excuse for MPs exempting ourselves from aspects of the Freedom of Information Act on Thursday.

Labour MPs 'will be forced to vote in favour od withholding details of expenses' - Telegraph 21/1/09
Despite the workings of Parliament usually being subjected to a free vote, meaning MPs can act according to their conscience, Labour members will be subject to a 'three-line whip' forcing them to support the controversial measure when it comes before the Commons on Thursday...It has now emerged that despite opposition from a number of senior Labour backbenchers, including Kate Hoey, David Winnick and Frank Field, the Government will impose a three-line whip on the vote - meaning that Labour MPs will be forced to back the move or face disciplinary proceedings.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Does anyone else feel that this is morally worse than the bankers fiasco? in the sense that these people have actually stolen money from the public purse. Their argument hinges on their willingness to return the funds, by the same token bank robbers would not go prison as long as they said sorry and returned the money? We should all be a bunch of opportunists and then just payback whatever we get caught taking.

It makes me consider how much they really got away with, fortunately for them we have only been permitted to see the last 4 years.

Surely they are defrauding the tax payer or government by claiming expenses for non existent mortgages etc. If you ignore the position of trust issue, I still think it is far worse than making a fraudulent insurance claim or cheating the taxman both of which are criminal offences.

And arguing it is none of the public's business raises the question why did you get into politics? It brings to mind a group of elitist self righteous spongers dipping into an endless expenses account. It seems they became politicians to increase their property portfolio and improve their lifestyle rather than to better the country, represent their constituents and tackle issues affecting the public.