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Letter to Michael Howard: Please support the publishing of MPs expenses on Thursday [Updated - Government backs down!]

January 21, 2009 1:29 PM
By Tim Prater in Letter to Michael Howard MP sent by www.theyworkforyou.com

I am writing to ask you to vote against the draft Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order 2009 this Thursday, and to sign Jo Swinson's Early Day Motion number 492.

The draft FoI order is a clear move by the Government in the wrong direction: Parliament and our MPs should be more open, not less. Other public servants have to account for their expenses: to have a specific exemption for MPs would be outrageous.

I hope you will be able to confirm that you will support EDM 492 and will oppose the restriction of such information by MPs.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Prater


A vote was due to take place tomorrow which would have given the politicians an opportunity to exempt themselves from Freedom Of Information legislation so they would not have to make public the detailed receipts underpinning their expenses claims.

But in an unexpected volte face, the Prime Minister announced at Prime Minister's questions this lunchtime that this vote would be scrapped pending consultation with the opposition parties which had called for detailed expense claims to be revealed.

Commenting on today's news that Gordon Brown has retreated from plans to exempt MPs' expenses from the Freedom of Information Act, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said:

"This is a humiliating climbdown for Gordon Brown after he was forced to accept that people will not tolerate MPs continuing to act like members of a secret society.

"It is also a victory for everyone who think that politicians should be open and accountable to the people who pay their wages."