Thursday, 22 January 2009

Email from my MP...

OK, not personal to me (as if!), but here is the response from my Conservative MP to the letter I sent yesterday concerning the vote on MP's expenses:

Thank you for contacting me about the public disclosure by Members of Parliament of their expenses.

The Government originally intended to exempt Parliament from all Freedom of Information inquiries. This would have prevented people from being able to access a full and transparent picture of how MPs are spending taxpayers’ money. I would have voted against those proposals and am therefore delighted that after real pressure was applied by David Cameron and the wider Conservative Party, Gordon Brown was forced into an embarrassing u-turn that resulted in the withdrawal of these proposals.

For a number of months now, Conservative MPs have voluntarily published a detailed list of everything they spend out of their parliamentary allowances. We are in favour of openness, so that the taxpayer can know to their satisfaction how their funds are spent. The Government’s proposal was completely contrary to the spirit of
the Freedom of Information Act.

The original Act applied to Parliament and this has been upheld by the High Court. Even though a system for the future might be designed which satisfies everybody, it is not appropriate for Parliament to create a retrospective escape route from a law which used to affect it. The law at the time is the law that should prevail.

I will continue to oppose any future Government proposals to limit transparency of MP’s expenses.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Spot on, I'd say.

(and thanks to Raedwald for the heads-up that prompted me to write)

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