Sunday, 18 January 2009

MPs seek freedom from freedom of information

Our self-serving MPs are at it again. Harriet Harman is to put forward a parliamentary order which will exempt MPs from having to publish their expenses. Getting MPs to publish details of what they spend our money on was a long-fought battle and now Harman wants to get rid of the obligation with barely a whimper of protest. Notice that the news was snuck out the same day that the goverment gave the go ahead to the third runway at Heathrow

MPs won't protest as most have always resented having to provide the information because it often embarasses them. In fact saving personal embarassment is the only reason they want this is because the truth is that most MPs' expenses contain nothing of note. Sure, there's the occasional headline-grabbing expenditure on pot plants or whatever, but look deeper and in almost all instances, there are actually justifiable reasons for the expenses.

The worst thing about this move is that it removes MPs from the same obligations that they have imposed on all other public bodies, as if they are somehow special. The impression that it's one law for MPs and one law for everyone else will do nothing to restore trust in the political process.

Read more:
Story on this from Friday's Guardian
Editorial from yesterday's Guardian

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