Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Government Backdown On MPs Expenses Row

'Brown backs down in MPs Expenses Row': but don't think it's a total victory yet. Labour are the ultimate vampire-zombie party. If this were buried with its head cut off and a stake through its heart inside a lead coffin stuffed with garlic under twenty fett of concrete, then I'll believe it's truly dead.
The government has shelved plans to hold a vote on controversial proposals to restrict the amount of information published about MP expenses.

No 10 had insisted it would hold a vote on exempting expenses information from Freedom of Information laws and that Labour MPs would be forced to back it.

But the government has now decided to abandon the vote after opposition parties said they would not support it.

The High Court said last year receipts for MPs expenses should be published.


The High Court ordered the Commons to publish details, including all receipts, to back up claims made by 14 MPs under their second homes allowance.

It had been expected that all MPs' expenses details would then be published but Commons leader Harriet Harman told MPs last week the government was bringing forward a plan to exempt MPs' expenses from the scope of the FOI Act.

I believe all-party support is important and we will continue to consult on that matter

Gordon Brown

No 10 had indicated that Labour MPs would be expected to support this policy in a vote on Thursday but the Conservative and Lib Dems said they would oppose the move.

However, shortly after the end of Prime Minister's Questions, No 10 revealed that the vote would not take place.

Earlier, Mr Brown blamed the Conservatives for what he said was a breakdown of a consensus over the way forward.

"We thought we had agreement on the FOI Act as part of this wider package," he told MPs.

"Recently that support that we believed we had from the main opposition party was withdrawn.

"So on this particular matter, I believe all-party support is important and we will continue to consult on that matter."

During PMQs, Tory MP Edward Garnier said it showed "hideous levels of insensitivity" to limit disclosure of MP's spending at a time of such economic gloom.

The Lib Dems had described the proposal as "outrageous".

The row followed a long-running Freedom of Information case in which campaigners sought to get details of MPs' expenses, which totalled £87.6m in 2006-7, published.
BBC News

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